Have you noticed skin discoloration on your face or chest? Melasma, a common skin problem, often presents as tan, brown or greyish-blue marks on the parts of our bodies that get the most sun. While this skin issue appears on a lot of women during pregnancy, men and woman of all ages are susceptible.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a skin discoloration condition that most commonly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. It can also affect men; however, it is extremely rare. Melasma normally appears on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip in the form of dark irregularly-shaped blotches.
Pregnant women, those who take chemical contraceptives, or postmenopausal women who take progesterone replacement therapy commonly come down with this condition. Melasma in pregnant women is also known as chloasma, or “the mask of pregnancy”.
Cause and Symptoms of Melasma?
At the bottom end of your outer layer of skin, you have cells called melanocytes. These are what produce melanin. A change in your progesterone and estrogen levels combined with sun exposure can stimulate the irregular production of melanin. This is the most common cause of melasma. In and of itself, this condition causes no other symptoms beyond the skin blotches. It is a cosmetic condition and has not been linked to cancer or any other dangerous skin diseases.
However, autoimmune thyroid disease and Addison’s disease have been associated with melasma. The development of Addison’s disease can cause melasma above the kidney area. Therefore, if discoloration occurs in other areas than your face, you may want to consult a doctor for additional information and testing.
Can It be Treated?
Fortunately, there are several treatment options for this condition. There are many topical treatments that will reduce melasma such as hydroquinone, cysteine hydrochloride, or azelaic acid. Some patients also respond to microdermabrasion which removes the outer layer of skin reducing dark areas.
The top product on the market, and most recommended by skin care professionals, to aid in skin discoloration treatment is SkinCeuticals’ Advanced Pigment Corrector. This cream offers a multi-layered hyperpigmentation correction that is proven effective without harmful side-effects. This topical solution exfoliates existing spots, inhibits melanin transfer, blocks excess melanin, and boosts pigment resistance.
At the New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center, we also offer an effective chemical peel technique that can be utilized with SkinCeuticals products to offer maximum results. Our skilled staff will be able to resurface your skin for a reasonable cost that will help reduce the discoloration and give your skin an overall improved, more even tone.
Melasma can develop slowly and it takes a while to clear up. Skin type plays a role in determining the best treatment. Melasma caused by serious sun exposure can be the most difficult to treat.
While there are many cures, including our chemical peels and SkinCeuticals products, you can take preventive measures to lessen your odds of acquiring melasma.
Avoid excess sun exposure, and wear shade-giving hats if you must be outside for a long duration of time. Sunblock and sunglasses are extremely important as well. A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 which contains physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is recommended.