What is Melasma?

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Melasma is a skin condition, which causes dark tan coloured patches to appear on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun. Melasma usually appears on the face but can also appear on other areas of the body.

Melasma and Melanin

Melanin is the substance that gives pigment to the body, this means that it is responsible for giving the hair, eyes, and skin their natural colour. The darker your skin is the more melanin is present in your body.

Melasma is a type of hyper pigmentation. It is caused by the build up of excess melanin, which creates patches of darker skin.

Who Gets Melasma?

Melasma is commonly associated with dark skinned women although it can also affect light skinned women and men. It can be a side effect of the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, and hormone replacement medications. It is normally reversed once the pregnancy or the medication is over.

What Does Melasma Look Like?

Melasma first appears as small patches of darker skin, which can be mistaken for a mole. These generally appear on the face and will grow bigger if they are not prevented from doing so. The patches are irregular in shape.

What Are the Symptoms of Melasma?

Melasma does not have any symptoms. This is because it does not cause any health complications. The first signs of melasma are often small areas of skin that appear darker than others do. These small patches are often mistaken for moles but can be used to identify melasma and begin treatment.

What Are the Side Effects of Melasma?

Melasma is not a dangerous condition and is not known to cause any other medical conditions. The only known side effect is the effect that the condition can have on your mental wellbeing. Melasma can cause cosmetic issues, which lead to mental health issues such as depression, lack of self- esteem, and lack of confidence.

Treatment for Melasma

Melasma normally reverses itself with no need for treatments. There are however, some treatments that can be successful if you are unhappy with your appearance or your condition is persistent. Creams can be purchased over the counter or obtained on prescription. These creams bleach the skin to reduce the appearance of melasma. There are also more severe forms of treatment such as laser surgery or chemical skin peels, which can gradually reduce the appearance of melasma.

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