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What Exactly is Melasma?

Aug 17, 2007
People, who have never heard of this disease, do not know how badly it affects the person who is suffering from it. A lot of people have not even heard about it and they certainly do not know what it is.

Basically, Melasma is a skin condition which comes out as brown patches on the faces of adults. You will find that mostly, both sides of the face will be affected, and the most common places it is usually found are on the bridge of the nose, on the cheeks, on the forehead, and also on the upper lip.

Who Gets Melasma?
This skin condition is mainly common in women, and in fact only 10% of the people that are affected are men. It is mostly common in dark skinned races including Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Middle Eastern, and people from North Africa. This is not to say that lighter colored people do not get it as well; it just tends to be more common in darker skins.

What Causes Melasma?
No one knows exactly what the cause of Melasma is. However, if it is in the family then the offspring are more than likely going to be affected as well. Certain things are thought to trigger Melasma, such as a change in hormonal status which can sometimes be brought on by pregnancy.

Any exposure to the sun can cause harmful side effects and conditions, and one of them can be Melasma. The suns ultraviolet light is thought to stimulate the pigment producing cells in the skin. It is also thought that bright light bulbs can also stimulate the cells as well such as the ones found on sunbeds.

Certain anti epilepsy drugs can also be a contributing factor to the condition, as can birth control pills. If you are worried about birth control pills causing Melasma, you should always talk to your doctor and they may be able to change your pill over. There are a lot of different birth control pills so it should be possible to change!

How to Diagnose Melasma and How it is Treated
Due to the fact that Melasma is a common problem and is quite distinctive, a simple skin examination is all that is needed to diagnose it. Sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed, just to make sure it is Melasma and not something else.

Each case of Melasma is different and it may be that it just decides to go away on its own, even if it is just for a short while, or even for a long time. It may also be that it will never go away. The thing is, there is real no cure for this problem, but there are many treatments that have been developed for it.

If you have been diagnosed with Melasma it is advised to stop using anything that will irritate it further such as facial cleansers, any creams, or make up. If you have noticed this condition directly after taking birth control pills, it may be an idea to discontinue them and to see if it helps stop the problem. If you still continue to take the pills, you can use a bleaching cream to help aid with the treatment of Melasma

The sound of bleach on the face does not sound nice, but rather than actually bleaching the skin, the bleach actually decreases the activity of the pigment producing cells called Melanocytes. If you decide to purchase over the counter treatments, they usually contain lower amounts of the agent needed to fight the pigment cells. A dermatologist will be able to prescribe a higher dose if needed and they usually contain twice the amount of agent needed to lighten the condition. The thing you should remember is that the treatment can take a while to start working, so you should not expect results over night.

For the other treatments, it is best to not build your hopes up, as the results have not always been consistent. The treatments include things like microdermabrasion and laser surgery, but as mentioned they may not work, so only try them if you are completely sure that it is what you want.
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