What is Melasma and How Can You Treat It?

Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by light-to-dark brown or blue-gray patches or freckles on the skin. Unfortunately, Melasma is easily mistaken for other skin conditions. Therefore, it’s best to visit a board certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment recommendation. If you are searching for more information on healthy skin solutions for melisma, your trusted Albuquerque day spa should be your ultimate go-to place. 

What causes melasma?

Melasma occurs when cells called melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin more than usual. These cells are located in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, and react to light, chemicals, UV rays, and hormonal changes. The symptoms appear commonly on the cheeks, chin, nose, forehead, arms, neck, and back.

However, the condition can affect any part of your skin. Most people with the condition may notice that their symptoms tend to worsen in summer due to prolonged exposure to UV rays.

Fortunately, melasma is not painful or itchy. It only causes an uneven skin tone.

Who can get melasma?

Anyone can develop melasma. However, more women get melasma, which tends to happen between 20 and 40 years. These are generally biologically reproductive years, hence hormonal changes that may result in the overproduction of melanin.

Melasma is also common among pregnant women due to hormonal changes. You are also at higher risk of developing melasma if you use hormonal contraceptives and treatments. Also, melasma affects people with darker or brown skin more than fairer-skinned people.

Here are other risk factors for melasma:

  • If you are on anti seizure medication
  • If someone else in the family has melasma, you may get it genetically
  • Hypothyroidism- a condition where your thyroid is underactive
  • LED light from your computer, phone, and screens
  • Phototoxic reaction from cosmetic products and makeup, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, hypoglycemics, antipsychotics, diuretics, among other drugs
  • Tanning beds

Melasma Diagnosis

Your dermatologist will examine your skin to determine the disorder. They’ll use a black light to observe the color changes of your skin. Your healthcare provider may also recommend a thyroid check to confirm if you have thyroid disease. More intensive checks include biopsies, where your doctor sends a piece of your skin to the lab for analysis.

Testing confirms the melasma diagnosis and prevents confusion with other common problems such as drug-induced or post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Melasma Treatment

You can treat melasma, but it’s hard to treat. Often pinning down the cause is the hardest part. Sometimes, the condition may disappear on its own, especially with lower exposure to sun rays, tanning beds, and harmful cosmetics or skincare products.

Other treatments may include:

  • Avoiding hormonal treatments and contraceptives, especially those that contain estrogen
  • Lowering LED light exposure from your computer, phone, or tablet
  • Avoiding scented soaps and products, makeup, and skincare products
  • Wearing sunscreen with iron oxides and at least SPF30
  • Applying helpful products like azelaic acid, cysteamine, hydrocortisone, and alpha hydroxyacid. However, use products recommended by your dermatologist.

Melasma is a common, but treatable skin condition. It’s best to consult the professionals at Freya’s Lair Medical Spa to find custom treatment for melasma.