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All You Need to Know About Melasma- From an Expert Dermatologist

Posted by | Jan 04, 2019 |

People usually get Melasma, but what are the reasons?

Melasma has been known to be a common skin problem, as it causes discolored or dark patches on the skin. When it occurs in pregnant women, it is called as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy.”  

Melasma is seen predominantly in women. According to a research 90% of people who develop Melasma are women. Men can get it too, though the chances are very grim.

Areas of the body with Melasma show various colored spots viz. tan, brown, or blue-gray. It is predominantly seen to happen on areas of body such as

  • Jaw line

  • Cheekbone

  • Central face.

The cause of Melasma can be anything from the rays of the sun, genetic problems, or hormonal changes seen in women.

It has also been observed that an increase in melanin irritates the skin and can lead to accelerated symptoms of Melasma.

Why do women get Melasma, and what are the symptoms?

It is typically observed in women between the ages of 25-55 years of age.

At the time of pregnancy, women undergo hormonal changes and this could lead to flaring up of Melasma.

Women taking birth control pills are at the risk of getting Melasma.

It could also simply be an aftermath of high sun exposure on sensitive skin.

We’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to knowing the reasons of what causes Melasma.

But, it is seen that darker-skinned women are more prone to this skin disorder, rather than fair-skinned women.

Melasma, as such does not show any symptoms.

But common signs that can be observed are discoloration on the

  • Forehead

  • Chin

  • Nose Bridge

  • Cheeks

There are rare cases when people do get patches on the neck and forearms as well, but these conditions are very rare.

If you do notice signs of Melasma, you need to see a dermatologist who specializes in various skin treatments.


How do we diagnose your Melasma?

There are a few simple ways Melasma can be diagnosed.

  1. First, a visual examination with a wood’s lamp is done to confirm the presence of bacteria and fungus on the skin. It also allows doctors to check the severity of Melasma in various layers of the skin.

  2. Second, if needed, a biopsy is done to check various skin conditions. This is done by taking a piece of your skin and running tests on it to confirm the presence of Melasma.


How do you know another skin disorder isn’t mimicking Melasma?

People tend to confuse other skin disorders with Melasma because of the signs and symptoms it showcases. It is vital to understand what Melasma is, and what isn’t.

Other skin orders that mimic Melasma can be listed as –

  • Skin injuries left behind by acne  – they exhibit similar skin discoloration

  • Sun spots caused by the sun

  • Hyperpigmentation due to sun damage

  • Brown or gray colored rash called as lichen planus pigmentosis

  • Discoloration or hyperpigmentation of the skin due to certain medication


When should you consult us?

Sooner the better! You should see a dermatologist

  • If it starts to cause personal or psychological distress

  • When hyper pigmentation is extremely severe

Prevention is better than cure, and it works best when initiated early.


What are the outcomes of the treatment, after it’s over?

Melasma is at its peak during pregnancy, and it can go away after pregnancy. But there are chances that it may not be due to severe hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Every woman’s Melasma needs different care and treatment. The first thing you need to begin with is taking care of your skin from sunlight. And, keeping your skin masked from the UV rays that cause Melasma.

We, as dermatologists and healthcare specialists prescribe topical steroids to lighten the affected area. For very severe cases, we do move onto

  • Chemical peels

  • Dermabrasion

  • Microdermabrasion

We move onto above points for the best possible options.

It is not guaranteed that Melasma will be completely cured in the first sitting; it needs frequent visits to reduce the severity of Melasma.

Lasers are used by dermatologists, but they generally garner very temporary results, and it is not taken as a primary choice to treat Melasma.

You will need to minimize extreme sun exposure and putting on UV blockers to protect your skin.