Melasma is one of the most common skin conditions. It can be extremely difficult to treat and often does not respond well to over-the-counter products that claim to remove dark spots.
Excessive sun exposure and hormones are two factors responsible for melasma, but there are other things you should know about this common skin condition. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is a typical skin condition, which typically manifests in light brown, dark brown, or blue-gray patches on your skin, which are collectively known as dark spots.
Melasma often takes the form of freckle-like spots that are commonly visible on your face, cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and forearms. This skin condition usually affects pregnant women, which is why melasma is famously called the mask of pregnancy.
It gets progressively worse during the warmer months but does get better in the winter as it gradually lightens.
What Causes Melasma?
Melasma has two primary root causes: hormones and radiation (including UV rays, visible light, and infrared light or heat).
The sun’s UV rays and infrared radiation especially induce or aggravate melasma because they trigger the body to generate more melanin. Melasma tends to appear on skin that is most exposed to sunlight, such as the arms, neck, and face.
Several people suffering from melasma tend to be affected by hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. It has been noted that postmenopausal women who receive progesterone occasionally develop melasma.
What are the Types of Melasma?
There are three types of melasma, which are:
- Epidermal. This type of melasma is characterized by a dark brown color, and a clearly defined border, and can be seen under a black light.
- Dermal. Dermal melasma has a blurry border, a light brown or bluish color, and does not change under a black light. It often does not respond positively to treatment.
- Mixed Melasma: The most common of the three types is mixed melasma which has both bluish and brown patches, showing a mixed pattern under black light.
To check if you have melasma, you can use a Wood lamp with black lights that can determine the depth of the pigment and the type of melasma you have.
How Can You Treat Melasma?
It is very important to consult a trained and professional provider when deciding the best course of action for melasma. Melanin tends to accumulate in the very top layer of the skin in several patients. The brown spots become darker and more noticeable as it builds up.
There are various ways to treat melasma, including platelet-rich plasma, medical-grade skin care products, laser resurfacing, and chemical peels.
Since a chemical peel works by exfoliating the outer layer of the skin along with rejuvenating and stimulating collagen production, it can effectively remove at least a portion of dead skin in the upper layer. This can also slough off any extra pigment.
The skin can then regenerate new cells, ideally the ones with less melanin. Also, if you’re pregnant, azelaic acid serum can be a great choice because it has a brightening antioxidant that can prevent certain skin conditions like melasma.
Women are more prone to melasma than men. Melasma also has a higher probability to occur in patients with darker complexions as well as those who seldom use sun protection.
Melasma is very common and harmless, but this condition can be bothersome. Here at Metro MedSpa, we have chemical peels, medical-grade skincare, and PRP treatment options, which are perfect for anyone who wants to get their skin’s even-toned and healthy glow back.
Call us now and schedule your appointment today!