Pigmentation - melasma

Melasma also known as chloasma is a dark or brown discoloration commonly seen over cheeks, forehead, nose and upper lip. It is also known as mask of pregnancy.

Melasma can affect anyone, but more common in women especially pregnant women. It is related to external sun exposure, hormones like birth control pills and internal hormonal changes as in pregnancy.

Three types of common facial patterns have been identified Centro facial (center of the face), malar (cheek bones), mandibular (jaw bone). Facial discolorations of any cause have significant impact on the quality of life and the effect is on self-perception and self-presentation.

Melasma of pregnancy usually fades away within a few months of delivery. Sometimes melasma may be preventable by avoiding sun exposure.

Sun screen can be used to prevent sun exposure. Various treatment options like sunscreens, topical de-pigmenting agents or skin lightening agents and other procedures like chemical peelings, micro dermabarasion are available.

Although melasma tends to be a chronic disorder with periodic ups and downs, the prognosis for most cases is good. Just as melasma develops slowly, clearance also tends to be slow.

The gradual disappearance of dark spots is based on establishing right combination of treatment for each individual skin type, which can be done by a dermatologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Que - 1 : What are the causes for melasma?

Ans: Multifactorial – Hormonal, familial and sunlight.

Que - 2 : What are the various treatment options available for melasma?

Ans: There is a rapid advancement in the treatment options for melasma, it ranges from topical skin lightening agents, chemical peels, surgical modalities. Consult your nearest dermatologist who will assess and advice appropriate treatment.

Que - 3 : Are there any fairness creams available?

Ans: Avoid self medications, some of the fairness creams may contain chemical preparations that may harm the skin. Ask your dermatologist before using any cream over the face.

Que - 4 : Whether Melasma is going to spread all over the face?

Ans: Mostly it is confined to initial areas of involvement; however the intensity of color may vary. In some cases it can spread to other areas of face.

Que - 5 : Is melasma curable?

Ans: There has been recent advances of newer chemicals that are effective in reducing melasma. Maintenance treatment is the most important. A dermatologist will decide regarding the initial and maintenance depending on severity of involvement. Please consult your nearest dermatologist.

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