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Is It Ever Possible To Prevent Melasma?

Aug 17, 2007
Melasma is a condition which affects only adult women. Usually found more in pregnant women, it is otherwise known as the mask of pregnancy. A harmless condition, you are not going to get ill from Melasma, but for many women, it is more a frustration and an embarrassment than anything else.

What is Melasma and why does it occur?
Melasma tends to appear on the face with the most common areas affected being the bridge of the nose, the cheeks, the upper lip and the forehead. It generally affects both sides of the face and it is a lot more common in darker skins such as in Hispanic or Indian people.

It is mainly thought that hormone changes are responsible for Melasma occurring, hence the reason that mainly pregnant women get the condition. However, any woman may get it and it is thought that birth control pills may also be a leading cause.

It is also possible to develop the condition if any of your family has it so there is a speculation about it being inherited. Even light bulbs can cause the condition to flare up, as well as the suns ultraviolet rays. The reason darker skins get the condition more often, is because they have more melanocytes in their skin which produce large amounts of pigment. The pigment production is increased by both hormone levels and the suns ultraviolet lights; hence the condition rears its ugly head.

Can Melasma be prevented?
It really is not possible to prevent Melasma but there are a couple of things which you can try to limit your chances of getting the condition.

Limit Sun Exposure
As the Melanocytes are what mainly cause the condition, limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun can really help to keep this condition in check. Always wear sun protection when you do go out and wear a sun hat to keep the suns rays out of your face.

However, even if you do cover up in the sun and wear sunscreen, it will still not completely prevent you from developing the condition. You can only really treat the condition once you have it.

The Treatments Available
The treatment of Melasma usually involves using products containing bleach which lighten the skin. It is always easier to treat Melasma when it has only just occurred, rather than trying to treat the condition when it has been around for a long period of time.

Hydroquinone is the most common used product to treat the condition and it can sometimes be combined with other treatments in order to completely eliminate the problem. In some cases, topical steroids are used to treat the condition and in more severe cases, laser surgery is used.

As Melasma is usually down to hormone changes, the birth control pill is often thought to be a contributor to the condition. If you do develop Melasma after recently changing your pill, it is advisable to contact your doctor and see if there is a link. Changing pills may eliminate the problem though it may take a while to clear up entirely.

If you have fair skin, one treatment method available to you is a chemical peel. However, this can be painful and also expensive! If you have darker skin you really should not even consider having a chemical peel to treat the condition as there is a big risk of post peeling Hyperpigmentation and it can really aggravate the condition further.

Overall you cannot prevent Melasma, but you can treat it once it occurs. It is better to treat it as early as possible and you should always contact your doctor to determine what the true cause of the condition is in your case.
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