Is Skin Discoloration the Same as Melasma?
Melasma is a commonly found pigmentation disorder, which causes skin discoloration. In melasma, gray or brown colored patches appear on the face and other body parts. It is a common disorder, and the discolored patches can come up on your forehead, bridge of the nose, upper lips, and so on. In many cases, melasma patches can be found near the neck or in the forearms.
What Causes Melasma?
There are still ongoing researches regarding the question of melasma causes. However, many doctors believe that this malfunction is caused due to misbehavior of melanocytes or the cells in your skin that produce color. Melanocyte malfunction can cause the production of too much color in particular skin areas. This is also a probable reason why dark-skinned people are more likely to develop melasma in comparison to people with lighter skin shades.
The potential melasma triggers:
- Too much sun exposure
- Hormonal changes, due to hormone treatment of pregnancy
- Particular skin care merchandise which causes skin irritation
- Genetic causes
- Waxing, which can cause skin inflammation and induce melasma
Is Melasma Common?
Yes, it is a widespread malfunction of the skin. However, according to Cleveland Clinic, it is more common among pregnant women, where as high as 50% of women get itinic.
Melasma can come in three variants. These are:
- Dermal melasma, which doesn’t respond much to any treatments. Here the blotches can be light brown to even bluish. At times these blotches can have a blurry border.
- Epidermal melasma, which response to skin treatment very well. In this type, the patches are dark brown in color and have a well-defined outer border.
- Mixed melasma, which, as indicated by the name, is a mixture of the two types. It is also the most common type to occur, where the patches have mixed tinges of blue and brown. They mildly respond to treatments.
Melasma Diagnosis & Treatments
For diagnosis, the affected area has to be visually examined. The Wood’s lamp technique is the most common form of melasma testing, where a unique light is held on the skin. This light helps to check for any kind of fungal infection or bacterial growth and helps diagnose the extent of melasma.
The treatment of melasma is simple. For most women, it is temporary and goes away naturally, especially if melasma appears due to pregnancy. However, there are creams and medicines prescribed by doctors for more stubborn cases, which help to lighten the blotches.
There is not much that you can do to prevent melasma. But surely you can take some necessary precautions, the most crucial being taking protection from prolonged sun exposure. For example, you can use sunscreens and avoid going out when the sun is strongest.