Melasma Treatment Review
Melasma is a benign skin discoloration ranging from brown to gray, seen in pregnant women and people who tan easily. The discoloration is symmetrical across the cheeks or on the lips, forehead or nose, but may also be seen on the upper arms.
The cause of Melasma is unknown, but the condition is seen most often in Asians, Arabas, Hispanics and North Africans, all of whom have higher levels of melanin. It is believed that there may be an increase in cells that release melanin, which then darkens the skin.
Diagnosing melasma in pregnant women is relatively simple, yet in women who are not pregnant and men, other medical conditions or drug reactions must be ruled out. Diagnosis may also require a skin biopsy.
Treatment of melasma is via a variety of skin surface therapies. Most commonly, it is treated with chemical peels, though burning, peeling and scarring are possible side effects. Mineral based sunscreens are also used sometimes to lighten existing discoloration and prevent further discoloration.
Some known triggers of melasma include hormone fluctuation, hereditary factors, too much sun exposure, birth control pills and some medications such as tetracycline.
Melasma is usually a temporary disorder that resolves itself. Pregnant women who suffer with Melasma may see it clear up after having the baby. However, in the case of a man or non-pregnant woman, the discoloration may last months or even years, and then one day disappear.
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