What is Melasma?
Melasma is an extremely common skin condition in which patients experience dark spots and discoloration on their skin. Also sometimes known as chloasma, melasma is extremely prevalent in women during pregnancy – while men can still get melasma, approximately 90% of all cases are among women.
Melasma is characterized by dark patches of discolored skin. It most commonly occurs on the face. They are often symmetrical, and while they are most common on the face, any area of the skin that is exposed to the sun can also develop melasma. These spots of discolored skin are relatively harmless and are more so a cosmetic concern.
While dermatologists are unclear as to the specific cause for melasma, the condition is commonly associated with the presence of excess estrogen and progesterone – hormones mainly produced by women (and men to a lesser extent). This is why melasma is more prevalent in women who are pregnant or on birth control, as their hormones will likely be fluctuating. In addition, those with darker skin are more likely to experience melasma.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Generally, this condition is diagnosed through a visual exam of the skin. In some rare cases, a biopsy may be ordered if any irregularities exist.
Melasma can disappear on its own, however, it most often remains and can worsen over time with additional sun exposure. Topical creams which help to brighten the skin and fade the presence of the dark spots help with the condition. Chemical peels and laser therapy may also help, but the most important factor both for the treatment and prevention of melasma is the use of sunscreen. During your consultation, Dr. Lodha will determine the correct course of treatment depending on the specifics of your case. For more information on melasma and other discoloration or to schedule a consultation, contact Pura Dermatology today.