While melasma is not dangerous, it can be extremely embarrassing as it’s typically most visible across one’s face; the forehead, cheeks, chin, bridge of the nose or upper lip. It affects women more than men and is so common during pregnancy that many call it “the mask of pregnancy.” The brown, gray, or even slightly blue skin discolorations are due to overproduction of skin pigmentation. Causes include sun exposure and hormonal changes due to progesterone and estrogen. According to the National Institute of Health, roughly six million US women are estimated to cope with melasma. There is no cure.
How to Prevent Melasma
The Dermatology Clinic recommends basic steps to reduce the risk of melasma. Limit direct sunlight exposure or wear sunscreen daily, reapplying it every two hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat while outside, as sunscreen alone may not provide complete shielding.
Note, however, that some people are genetically predisposed to melasma and may experience it regardless of preventive steps. Darker-skinned individuals also tend to be affected more, and certain oral contraceptives may hasten the onset. It could even come from your occupation; people working around high heat sources, such as cooks, could be prone due to the heat continually irradiating the skin, which results in an overproduction of pigmentation as protection. Dermatologists say that many find the condition detracts from their quality of life due to its noticeable appearance on the body.
When to See a Dermatologist
While over-the-counter skin lighteners for melasma and similar conditions are available, they’re often not effective. Seeing a dermatologist is the most expedient and practical path to remedy versus self-medication trial-and-error.
The Board Certified dermatologists at The Dermatology Clinic, along with its trained staff of aestheticians, can correctly guide you in resolving melasma issues. Treatment is a specialty, as is treating hyper-pigmentation, removing unsightly veins, hair, moles, warts, acne, and other skin conditions or blemishes.