If you suffer from melasma, you’re not alone; about 6 million women in the United States experience the skin condition. While not dangerous, melasma creates an unpleasant darkening of the skin that often leaves those affected feeling self-conscious and unattractive. Fortunately, there are skin care treatments that can make the condition less noticeable.
The patchy brown, gray-blue, or tan skin discoloration that melasma creates is usually the result of too much sun exposure and hormonal changes in women due to estrogen and progesterone. A majority of the women who suffer from melasma are between 20 and 50 years of age. The skin condition is also likely to occur when a woman is expecting, because of the change in hormones. Also called the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma usually shows up on the nose, jaw, forehead, or cheeks of those affected. The discoloration can also occur on the skin above the upper lip, and parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the forearms and neck.
The good news is, melasma is often treated with proper skin care. Wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun can help the discoloration to subside. Wearing wide-brimmed hats is also recommended to protect the face and neck areas from the sun’s rays.
Your dermatologist can also prescribe medications that can help melasma fade. Hydroquinone is a medication that is available in gel, liquid, cream, and lotion forms and works by lightening the skin. You can purchase the medication over-the-counter, but it is also available at higher strengths through your doctor. Tretinoin and corticosteroids can be used in conjunction with hydroquinone to assist in the skin-lightening process. Other products that may help fade the spots include azelaic or kojic acids.
Your dermatologist may also perform in-office treatments to help combat melasma. They include chemical peels and microdermabrasion and dermabrasion treatments. However, these treatments run the risk of causing the skin to produce even more pigment, which can result in additional dark spots.
Other Causes of Skin Darkening or Lightening
If you’re experiencing darkening or lightening of the skin, melasma may not be to blame. A variety of different conditions can cause the skin to take on an unappealing appearance. Taking certain medications, such as birth control or minocycline, can cause the skin to take on a darker tone. Endocrine disorders such as Addison’s disease can cause the skin to change, as can hemochromatosis, when the body has too much iron.
Le Beau Visage Can Help With Your Skin Darkening
Although proper skin care can prevent a variety of different problems, it can’t fix everything. If you’re tired of living with skin that doesn’t make you feel good about your appearance, contact Le Beau Visage in Frisco, TX, at 214-705-7676 for help.
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