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Definition

Melasma is a form of chloasma which can be located on the upper lips, the forehead, the cheeks or the chin. It is a very common skin disorder. This disorder is very common, especially in women of child-bearing age. Melasma is characterized by patches of characteristic darkening often found on the face. The precise cause of melasma is unknown. Men can also develop this problem. It is most common in dark-skinned women. It is also found in male and young adult. The ratio of male and female about this medicine is 1:9.
Melasma is especially common in women aged 20-40. Only 10% of those affected are men. Dark-skinned races, particularly Hispanics, Asians, Indians, people from the Middle East, and Northern Africa, tend to have melasma more than others.

Causes

Melasma is a very common skin disorder. The cause of melasma is not fully understood. However, genetics, hormonal changes, and sun exposure are known to play important roles.  Though it can affect anyone but in young women with brownish skin tones are at greatest risk. Those mischievous pregnancy hormones are toying with you again, causing hyperpigmentation on many parts of your body.

The common causes and risk factors of Melasma include the following:

  • Female sex hormones.
  • A family history of melasma.
  • Sun exposure is also a strong risk factor for melasma.
  • Birth control pills may also cause melasma.
  • Young women with brownish skin tones are at greatest risk.

Symptoms

Melasma doesn't cause any other symptoms besides skin discoloration but may be of great cosmetic concern. A uniform brown color is usually seen over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. It is most often symmetrical. Women with a light brown skin type who are living in regions with intense sun exposure are particularly are have common symptoms in her.

Treatment

Sunscreens are agents that physically or chemically block the penetration of UV light into the skin. Sunscreens usually contain more than one agent to provide greater protection over the range of UVL wavelengths. Products that provide protection in both UVB and UVA are called full or broad spectrum sunscreens.

Since studies have shown that a folate deficiency can be related to hyperpigmentation so eat foods that contain folic acid. Good choices are to use green leafy vegetables, oranges, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain cereal.

Laser resurfacing is sometimes worthwhile but should be performed cautiously as it can aggravate pigmentation. It is very important to follow up with careful sun avoidance and it may also be necessary to use hydroquinone.

Any facial cleansers, creams, or make-up which irritates the skin should be stopped, as this may worsen the melasma. If melasma develops after starting birth control pills, it may improve after discontinuing them. Melasma can be treatedwith bleaching creams while continuing the birth control pills.

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