Where can Melasma Appear?


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Melasma usually appears on the face although it has also been known to affect other areas of the body. Most commonly, these are areas that are exposed to the sun such as the arms and upper chest.

Melasma on the Face

The most common area for melasma to occur is on the face. It usually appears in one of three distinctive patterns, which makes it easily recognisable from other skin conditions.

The most common way for melasma to occur is in the centrofacial pattern. This is a symmetrical pattern, which covers the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, nose, and chin. The appearance of this pattern takes time to develop as melasma usually begins with very small patches of discolouration, which gradually increase in size and visibility.

Another pattern of melasma is the malar pattern. This is also usually symmetrical but affects only the upper cheeks. The final pattern is the mandibular pattern, which is less common and affects only the jaw bone.

Melasma on the Neck and Shoulders

Although it is rare it is possible to get melasma on the neck and shoulders. This is often experienced in those who also have it on the face. When occurring on the neck melasma usually appears up the sides of the neck in a symmetrical pattern. Melasma on the neck is treated in the same way as melasma on the face and is no more of a risk to your health.

Melasma on the Arms

Due to the fact that your arms are often exposed to sunlight it is possible, although rare, to get melasma on them. The appearance of melasma on your arms is the same as melasma on the face. It will begin with a small patch, which can be mistaken for a mole and will gradually grow and become more noticeable.

Melasma on your arms can easily be covered by wearing long sleeves; this protects your skin from sunlight, and prevents people from seeing your condition. If you do not wish to do this you should ensure that you wear a high factor sun protection cream to block out the harmful rays of the sun.

Melasma can also be treated on the arms in the same way, as it would be elsewhere on the body. Treatment would involve trying to bleach the colour from your arms and if this failed to produce satisfactory results going for more radical options such as laser treatment or chemical peels.

Melasma on the Legs

It is extremely rare to develop melasma on your legs however there have been some reported cases of it. This is usually the case in hotter climates where people tend to cover up less. This results in the prolonged exposure of their skin all over their body to sunlight, which is a major contributing factor to melasma. If you believe that you have melasma on your leg it is important to get it checked out, as if you misdiagnose yourself you could have a more serious condition that requires treatment.


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