What is Melasma?
Melasma also called ‘chloasma’ and ‘pregnancy mask’, is a common skin condition of adults in which light to dark brown or grayish patches of pigmentation develop mainly on facial skin. It is more common in women, especially pregnant women, and people with darker skin – types who live in sunny climates. However, it can also affect men (10% of patients) and any race. Melasma usually becomes more noticeable in the summer and improves during the winter months.
What causes Melasma?
The exact cause is not known, but several factors can contribute. These include Sunshine, pregnancy, hormonal drugs such as the oral contraceptive pill, and medical conditions that affect hormone levels.
Is Melasma Hereditary?
No, although Melasma can be commoner in family members.
What does Melasma look like?
Melasma appears as darker-than-normal skin affecting the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose and chin, usually in a symmetrical manner. The neck and the forearms can also be affected
What are the symptoms of Melasma?
The cosmetic appearance of melasma can be upsetting and affect the quality of life.
How is Melasma diagnosed?
Melasma is usually easily recognized by the characteristic pigmentation and distribution on the face by a dermatologist.
How can Melasma be treated?
Melasma treatments fall into the following categories, and can be used together:
• Avoiding known trigger factors, such as sunshine and oral contraceptive pills.
• Adapting appropriate sun avoidance measures and using sun- blocking creams.
• Skin-lightening agents.
• Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser treatment.
• Skin camouflage