What is melasma?
Imagine the following scenario. You have just given birth to your lovely baby and now you noticed that you can’t lose the extra fat and your skin tone especially on your cheeks is not as even or as bright as before.
You may have melasma now, the so called “mask of pregnancy’.
For your information, this melasma condition is an acquired hyperpigmentation disorder which often presents as symmetrical but irregular brownish patches with cloud like and diffuse pigmentation on the face around the cheeks, forehead, temples and even the lips areas.
Many women of Asian descent or darker skin type develop this unsightly pigmentation. While there may be a genetic deposition, the true causes of melasma remain unclear.
What are the causes of melasma?
There are many well known factors associated with melasma. The closest connection is with hormones. Hormonal conditions accompanying the development of melasma include pregnancy, as previously mentioned, menopause, and low thyroid function.
Melasma is also known to be associated with use of certain medications such as birth control pills, hormones, or photosensitizing drugs. Individuals who frequently use fragrant cosmetics may also develop more melasma. In my experience, patients with low antioxidants in their diet also seem to develop more melasma as well.
Certain other factors definitive worsen melasma. Sun light exposure, for example, significantly worsens the condition. Over the years, I have known numerous patients with melasma which got much worse after their vacation in sunny places during the summer. And indeed, in my experience, any inflammation which results in excessive or prolonged redness also exacerbates melasma as well.
Melasma is the most stubborn pigmentation of all. Melasma in the superficial layer of the skin called epidermis is much easier to treat, while melasma in the deeper layer called the dermis is much more difficult to improve. As we shall discuss later, treatment rely on state-of-the-art prevention and reduction techniques.
So when you have another child again, begin to take birth control pills, or you are approaching menopause, take aggressive steps, as we shall discuss later in preventing in melasma.