Melasma – Pictures, Treatment, Cream, Cure

What is Melasma ?

The melasma pictures below  states that it is a skin disorder that is very common and results in the development of tan, patchy-brown, or blue-gray discoloration of the skin on the face. It occurs almost entirely in women during the reproductive years, but can also be rarely seen occurring in males.

Melasma generally occurs on the upper cheeks, forehead, upper lip and the chin of women between the ages of 20 to 50 years. It is believed to be associated with external exposure to the sun, internal hormonal alterations as visible in pregnancy and use of external hormones like oral contraceptives.

Sponsored link

A majority of the individuals with melasma have a personal history of irregular or daily exposure to sun. It is very common in pregnant women, particularly those of Asian and Latin descents. The incidence rate of melasma is greater in individuals with olive or darker skin, such as those visible in Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern people.

Over ninety percent of melasma cases affect women and there are an estimated 45 to 50 million women living with melasma worldwide, with nearly 6 million affected women living in the United States.

Fading creams and regular use of sunscreen are some of the ways to treat melasma. Avoiding sun exposure and protection of the face from the sun can help prevent the condition.

Types of melasma

The four types of melasma are categorized as per the pigmentation patterns and include the following:

  • The epidermal type is diagnosed by the presence of increased melanin in the shallow layers of the skin
  • Dermal melasma is identified by the occurrence of melanophages, or cells that consume melanin, across the dermis.
  • The mixed type consists of both the dermal and the epidermal type.
  • The fourth type which is unnamed, is distinguished by the presence of increased melanocytes in the skin of people with dark complexion

Melasma Symptoms

  • The symptoms of melasma include hyper-pigmentation or discoloration of the skin, mainly on the face. The three most common patterns of melasma discoloration that affect the face include the cheekbones, the center of the face and the jaw.
  • The discoloration pattern that affects the center of the face is the most prevalent and occurs on the cheeks, nose, upper lip, forehead and chin.
  • The upper part of the neck may also be rarely affected by melasma
  • On rare occasions, other areas of the body like the forearms may develop melasma

Causes of melasma

The exact cause of melasma is still a subject of research. As per the views of many scientists, a number of factors can trigger the onset of dark patches of skin associated with melasma. Some of them include:

  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone replacement therapy such as progesterone replacement and HRT
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Race
  • A family history of melasma
  • Other medications that increase the vulnerability of the skin to develop pigmentation ultraviolet light exposure

Excessive exposure to sunlight is believed to be the major cause of melasma, particularly in people who have a genetic predisposition to this skin disorder.  A number of studies have indicated that most people generally tend to develop melasma during the summer months, when the sunlight is at its most extreme levels. The discolored patches of melasma tend to lighter or less noticeable during the winter months.

It is also possible for certain kinds of treatments or products that cause skin irritation, to trigger an increase in the manufacture of melanin and thus hasten the onset of melasma symptoms.

Melasma that occurs at the time of pregnancy is known as chloasma, or as ‘the mask of pregnancy’.  The levels of melanocyte-stimulating hormone, progesterone and estrogen, are generally at an all time high during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters in pregnant women. It is however thought that melasma associated with pregnancy is usually caused due to excessive levels of progesterone and not because of increased levels of MSH or estrogen. It has also been indicated by various studies that postmenopausal women who get progesterone hormone replacement therapy are at a greater risk to develop melasma, whereas such women who receive just estrogen are at a lesser vulnerability to develop the condition.

Melasma Treatment

  • Melasma can be treated with the use of topical medications containing either 2 percent hydroquinone that can be obtained over the counter, or 4 percent creams that can be obtained via a doctor’s prescription.
  • Studies have indicated that 2 percent hydroquinone creams are generally successful in lightening the affected areas of the skin. Also, they are more likely to cause less irritation as compared to hydroquinone creams with higher concentrations. The creams need to be applied on the skin areas affected by melasma, twice a day.
  • Affected individuals should also apply sunscreen over the hydroquinone cream each morning.
  • Epidermal type of melasma reacts better to the treatment as compared to other types, because the pigmentation happens closer to the surface of the skin.
  • Pregnancy related melasma may sometimes disappear after delivery. Also, the discontinuance of hormone replacement therapy and use of birth control pills can also result in disappearance of melasma in some women.

Melasma Pictures

Sponsored link
Filed in: Skin Tags: , , , , , ,

Get Updates

Share This Post

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment

© 2017 See Ya Doctor. All rights reserved.