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Stopping Your Face From Looking Like A Map: A How To

Feb 12, 2008
Fighting Melasma Article Series, One of Three

Do you often see pictures of yourself and cringe at the brown spot on your forehead that resembles China? Or what about those Delaware shaped spots on both of your temples, do those bother you too?

Skin discoloration in these oddly-shaped spots is called melasma. It is commonly found on the face, hands, and cleavage. Despite the fact that there is no quick way to eliminate melasma, there are still many things you can do to prevent it, decrease existing dark spots, and improve the condition of your skin making you look younger and more rested.

Deal with the sun and its dreaded affects on your skin

The sun's UVB and UVA rays can cause skin cell damage that results in melasma. To protect itself skin cells produce excess melanin that then takes years to go away. For those that have spent a lot of time tanning or who may have had a few bad sunburns it is not uncommon for this excess in the skin to cause the brown spots to form.

You wouldn't want to, nor could you go back in time and undo all those afternoons on the beach, but you can protect your skin from future damage. Limit your exposure to the sun, wear protective clothing (like a hat) and apply a sun block to prevent your melasma from worsening.

Handle skin changes and your hormones

Men are not normally afflicted with melasma, though it's not unheard of. This is because of a clear link between estrogen and the development of brown spots. The high levels of this hormone in women make melasma more prevalent. It is reported that melasma is more common today because of the number of women on the birth control pill. Discontinued use of the pill has, in some cases, caused melasma to disappear. Talk to your doctor about changing your birth control pill to one that does not contain estrogen.

Many pregnant women suffer from melasma, or the mask of pregnancy. The mask is likely to disappear after the pregnancy is over. During pregnancy you should consult your doctor before using any products.

The sun and hormones are just two of the factors in fighting melasma. More information on removing melasma from your skin is discussed in the second and third articles of the Fighting Melasma series.
About the Author
Author Sara Musfeldt's site SkinFitnessFacts.com helps people obtain fit skin. Her site has info on melasma treatments, male melasma, and help figuring out if it's melasma or freckles.
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