Melasma: All You Need To Know
Melasma is a skin condition that affects many, including celebrities such as Jenna Dewan and Drew Barrymore. It’s estimated that 90% of those affected by melasma are women. Despite it’s common nature and potential seriousness, it is lesser known and talked about skin condition.
What is Melasma?
Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches, usually on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.
It typically appears for the first time between the ages of 20 and 40 and is more likely to affect those with darker skin types or tanned skin. In most cases, it’s thought to be triggered by pregnancy, hormonal medication like the contraceptive pill and medical conditions that cause altered hormone levels.
What causes Melasma?
The cause of Melasma is often unknown and the exact process isn’t fully understood; however we know that the increase in facial pigmentation seen in melasma is due to excess production of melanin by melanocytes. Exposing the skin to ultraviolet increases melanin production.
According to the British Association of Dermatologists, 50% of women may be affected during pregnancy, and the condition is often referred to as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ or ‘the pregnancy veil’
What treatments are available for Melasma?
Melasma can be treated with a number of procedures, that do not have to be surgical or invasive in any way.
Chemical peels are a great way to reduce brown spots and patches, they work by exfoliating the outer layer of skin away, removing a layer of the pigmentation. It may take a course of 3-6 chemical peels to even out the skin tone completely.
Laser treatments are a fantastic way to fight pigmentation, the power of the laser works to fracture the strength of the pigment, encouraging it to disperse and weakening the pigments bond to the skin. Again, a few treatments may be required for optimal results.
Light Therapy, particularly red light, works to heal the skin, encouraging the skin to become stronger and healthier. In conjuction with other treatments, light therapy will allow the skin to fully heal and restore itself.
How to prevent Melasma?
The most important aspect of prevention, is to wear adequate SPF. As melasma is accelerated by UV light, it is imperative to protect yourself from the sun, particularly during pregnancy and hormonal changes. A broad spectrum SPF will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, giving your skin maximum protection.
Do you have Melasma? Would you like a free consultation to understand how we can help? Let us know in the comments!