Melasma, chloasma, or mask of pregnancy is a fairly common skin disorder that consists of the appearance of dark patches of skin on areas of the face exposed to the sun, such as the forehead, cheeks, or nose.
This alteration occurs mainly in middle-aged women and only rarely continues after menopause. It generally appears in light-skinned people, with few cases observed in races with dark skin pigmentation. At FastlyHealwe, explain which ones with the causes and treatment of Melasma so that you have all the information corresponding to this condition.
What is melanin?
To understand this condition well, you must become familiar with melanin since it is responsible for the coloration of the skin and therefore has high relevance in the appearance of this alteration.
Melanin is the pigment that defines the color of the hair, the iris of the eyes, and each person’s skin; its production is affected by different factors such as sun exposure, genetics, age, or hormonal changes. When melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, exceed the release of said substance and hyperproduction occurs, the consequence is hyperpigmentation of the skin, which may appear uneven skin tones and dark spots.
In the case of Melasma, this hyperproduction of melanin takes place, mainly affecting the areas of the face exposed to the sun.
Causes of Melasma
The causes of Melasma seem to be directly related to the female hormones progesterone and estrogens, generally occurring in the following situations.
- Pregnant women.
- Women are undergoing oral contraceptive treatment.
- Women of menopausal age follow hormone replacement therapy, which helps them alleviate the symptoms of this condition. The woman stops having menstruation and presents vaginal dryness, sudden hot flashes, and an increased risk of osteoporosis, among other changes.
In addition, Melasma can be aggravated in stressful situations, after exposure to the sun or using certain cosmetics that are harmful to the skin.
Symptoms of this condition
The only symptom of Melasma is a change in the appearance of the skin, which causes brown or gray spots on the face in the form of patches. These spots do not entail any problem or discomfort such as pain or stinging and are not accompanied by any alteration that changes the everyday life of the patient.
Therefore, Melasma is a mild condition that does not directly affect health since it is instead an aesthetic alteration that manifests itself in a change in the appearance of the skin.
Types of Melasma and treatment
There are two varieties of Melasma:
- Epidermal Melasma, in which the stain is superficial and therefore the treatment is more straightforward, obtaining better results.
- Dermal Melasma, in which the alteration affects more deep layers of the skin, and although hyperpigmentation of this type can be treated, the results will be more discreet.
The treatment of Melasma is based on the whitening of the dark patches, distinguishing different methods for skin depigmentation to occur:
- Prevention measures to prevent lesions from appearing or increasing. It is essential to avoid direct sunlight and use creams with highly protective sun filters, both in summer and winter.
- Treatment to obtain a whitening or disappearance of the spots using drugs that inhibit melanin production, such as hydroquinone cream applied topically and generally in combination with glycolic or retinoic acid.
- Chemical peeling, whose objective is the renewal of the epidermal layer to accelerate depigmentation. This method tends to be highly effective as it has dual functionality; in addition to exfoliating the skin and removing dead cells, it also interrupts melanin synthesis. It is generally done with isotretinoin and hydroquinone, applied as a mask on the face, and released after five hours. After ten days, it is advisable to use a treatment cream with isotretinoin in a lower concentration and whose objective is to eliminate residual stains. In addition, it is advisable to continue with a gentler maintenance treatment using depigmenting creams that contain kojic acid and vitamin C.
- Laser treatment is always in combination with the previous treatments.
Do not forget that in the case of presenting any stain, patch, or injury on the face, you should go to your dermatologist so that this specialist can diagnose your condition and thus treat your skin condition most appropriately.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.