Melasma is best described as dark patches of discolored skin appearing on the forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip, and chin. These patches are often a tan, brown, or gray-blue in color and most likely occur in women during or after their reproductive years. Melasma can occur on any skin type or tone ranging from fair, tan, olive, or dark skin. The patches are usually symmetric in shape with irregular borders. Though Melasma does occur in some men, although it is rare. Women make up 90 percent of those infected with Melasma. This skin condition stems from being over exposed to the sun or a hormonal imbalance. Hormones stimulate the cells that cause this tan pigment. Some women tend to develop Melasma during their pregnancy that eventually fades over time, though it is much more likely to re-occur with another pregnancy. If your pregnancy occurs in the Summer, you will be much more likely to develop Melasma. In a small percentage of women, Melasma during pregnancy will worsen overtime and will require skin treatments to lighten the skin.
The sun stimulates the production of even more dark pigment. Estrogen that is in the birth control or in the hormonal replacement therapy can also cause your skin to produce the Melasma. The only symptom you will see is a change in skin color. There are many ways you can prevent Melasma. To prevent ever having these discolored patches, that 6 million women in the U.S are dealing with, it important that you wear a sunscreen or avoid sun exposure. Use a quality brand name sunscreen that has zinc and an SPF of 30 or higher. If you are going to be out in the sun for a prolonged amount of time, wear a wide brimmed hat to cut down UV rays beaming against your face.
There are many treatments that can help you treat your Melasma. Whether you have Melasma contributed by the sun or hormones, most of the all the Melasma treatments are the same and can be prescribed to you by your dermatologist. Creams that contain a combination of tretinoin, hydroquione, kojic acid, and azelaic acid of been proven to lighten and fade Melasma. Chemical peels, skin bleaching, and topical steroid creams have also been used to treat hyper-pigmentation caused by Melasma. If you have severe Melasma you can also ask you dermatologist about a laser treatment to remove the dark pigment. You might also consider stopping birth control or using an alternative birth control with a lower dosage of estrogen.
If you are on a hormonal replacement therapy treatment, try administering your HRT in the evening, if this is okay with your doctor, so that the peak levels happen over night and not during the day when you are exposed to the sun. The hormonal therapy creams and patches also might be easier on your Melasma than the oral medications. The oral medications are filtered in the liver and transformed into compounds which can make your skin more susceptible to Melasma. It is important that you take the lowest dosage possible.
To prevent and treat your Melasma it’s all about protective maintenance. Make sure that you are wearing sunblock, wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses to avoid sun exposure. You can also use brands like ColoreScience Sunforgetable SPF 30 Powder over a lotion or cream sunscreen for added sun protection. There are also many different makeup choices you can choose from that have an SPF in them that you can wear over a sunblock.