Skin problems are common. There exists a plethora of skin care options targeted to specific skin types. We are told to lather on the broad spectrum SPF 30, check for zinc oxide as an active ingredient, and make sure it says UVA/UVB protection on the bottle. While wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat can help to alleviate skin damage, certain skin disorders can be caused by numerous other factors. Melasma is a common skin condition that causes brown patches and can present anywhere on your body. It’s exact cause is unknown, but research has often indicated a hormonal cause and fortunately there are numerous treatments available to address this stubborn pigmentation.
What is Melasma?
There are three main layers to the skin. Working our way up, we start at the deep hypodermis (connective tissue and fat tissue), the dermis (hair follicles, sweat glands, and more connective tissue), and then the epidermis (the waterproof top layer that contains melanocytes). Melanocytes are the pigment producing cells that give our skin its colour.
Melasma is the appearance of brown or greyish patches on the skin. It is caused by the overproduction of melanin (skin pigment) by the melanocytes. Melasma usually occurs on the face, although it can happen anywhere. Melasma is commonly prevalent in pregnant women is referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”.
What casues Melasma?
The exact cause of melasma is unknown. It is known that there is a correlation to melanin production, however, the underlying stimulating factor is not clear. It is believed that sun exposure, hormonal changes, stress, the use of oral contraceptives (birth control), skin irritants, and genetics can be predispositions or triggering factors. There is also some evidence to support a connection to certain thyroid disease. Melasma very commonly occurs in pregnancy due to the extensive hormonal changes.
Who may wish to seek treatment for melasma?
Melasma is often misdiagnosed as a form of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). In some cases, if the trigger is removed (birth control, pregnancy, an irritating skin product) melasma will naturally fade.
For those with persistent melasma who wish to seek treatment, it is important to keep in mind melasma is a challenging pigmentation to treat. Melasma has be known to be a stubborn form of pigmentation and may require multiple treatments over the course of months before improvements are visible.
How can someone treat their melasma?
For those who choose to pursue treatment of persistent melasma there are a variety of options available. Melasma can penetrate to different skin depths, and the severity of melasma, along with other factors, will determine which treatment is most appropriate.
Treatment options include:
Please call us on 5539 9534 to book a consultation.