What Is Melasma?

What Is Melasma?

If you have melasma, don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are literally millions of people out there with the same problem. First of all, let’s find out what melasma is, even though you probably already know.

Melasma is a very common skin problem, and it is manifested in the form of dark and discolored patches on the skin. Those spots mostly appear on the face and, although they’re not dangerous, people naturally want to get rid of them.

This skin condition usually affects women (especially pregnant women), but men are certainly not immune to it.

Causes of melasma

Pregnancy

There are several skin problems that often occur during pregnancy, and melasma is one of them – it’s even called a pregnancy mask. The reason why this condition occurs is the increase in estrogen. The increase in estrogen almost always causes increase of melanin, and that’s why those dark patches start appearing.

Birth control

As it was mentioned, hormones can cause melasma to occur. If you’re taking birth control pills that are high in estrogen, you have a huge chance of developing this condition.

The easiest way to stop this from happening is to change your birth control method and just wait for your body to go back to normal, but if you really need to stay on birth control pills, consider visiting a dermatologist.

Spending too much time in the sun

Although hormone changes are often the usual suspects when it comes to this condition, sun exposure is not far behind. Spending too much time in the sun can cause these patches to appear as well. In order to prevent this from happening always use sunscreen with a high SPF.

How to treat melasma?

Treating this skin condition is not painful, and it’s nothing to be feared of. In most cases, melasma actually disappears on its own. However, if those annoying patches on your skin simply won’t go away, then you might consider several simple melasma treatment options:

Hydroquinone – This medication lightens the skin. It’s available in a gel, cream, liquid or lotion. It can be found in local stores, but if you want the real deal (higher strength versions), you should visit a dermatologist, since they can only be obtained through doctor’s prescription.

Triple cream – Hydroquinone, Tretinoin and corticosteroids are the holy grail of getting rid of melasma. Corticosteroids and Tretinoin directly enhance skin’s natural lightening process and are usually combined with hydroquinone to shorten the treatment.

Laser treatment – When melasma simply won’t go away, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Q-switched lasers are especially effective when it comes to treating dark patches on the skin, although you should know that several visits to the doctor’s office are to be expected.

Unfortunately, no melasma treatment offers permanent results, but maintenance therapy can prevent melasma from coming back for a long time. That’s why you should:

  • Avoid being in the sun for too long
  • Use sunscreen at all times
  • Wear a hat to hide your face from the sun

By combining these prevention tactics with the treatment of melasma, you’ll be able to keep it at bay.

Keep in mind that preventing and treating melasma is possible. Don’t put too much makeup on your face every day and visit a dermatologist to find out what’s the best treatment for your skin condition.

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