Brown, Patchy Skin
When you look into the mirror, do you see brown or brownish-gray patches on your cheeks, nose, or forehead? This could be melasma, a common skin condition that is far more common in women than in men. In fact, about 90% of people with this condition are women. People with darker skin and those who live in sunny environments are also more likely to have melasma.
What is Melasma?
Melasma consists of tan to brown patches that occur primarily on the forehead, temples, cheeks and the upper lip. Unlike sun spots, age spots, and freckles, patches of melasma tend to be large and symmetrical which means you’ll experience similar pigmentation on both sides of your face.
Melasma tends to appear as larger patches and can look like a map, a mask, or that somebody took brown paint and splattered it on the skin.” Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, earning the nickname the pregnancy mask.” It affects up to 70% of pregnant women and is extremely common among women of colour.
What Causes Melasma?
The exact cause of melasma is unknown. Hormones play a major role in melasma, about half of all cases begin during pregnancy. Estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone levels are normally increased during the third trimester of pregnancy. Birth control pills and IUD's can also trigger this condition. Melasma occurs much more commonly in women as opposed to men, specifically because hormones are such a key factor. Stress has been known to stimulate melasma by increasing hormone levels. Family history is also another factor in melasma, so if anyone in your family has struggled with it, you’re much more likely to get it.
Aside from hormones, sun exposure can stimulate melasma. It is crucial to avoid direct sunlight or no matter what the treatment is or how good it is, the melasma will reappear. Applying a natural, chemical-free, mineral sunscreen such as Elta MD will help protect against these damaging UV rays. Not just only the sun but basically if you feel warmth on your skin, it can stimulate the melasma. Hot yoga, saunas, steam rooms, cooking with a hot oven, that can all trigger it. Any exposure to heat including laser treatments can make melasma worse. Infrared beds and infrared saunas, they also create heat.
Melasma has also been linked to thyroid dysfunction and vitamin deficiencies attributed to low levels of vitamin B-9 (folic acid) and B-12 (cobalamin), zinc and iron. Always a good idea to check with your doctor and correct any defficiences that may be an underlying cause for melasma and other various skin conditions.
Recommended Skincare Product
Pigmentation Correcting Mandelic Peel
Improve discoloration from acne, lighten Melasma, even out skin tone.
The Mandelic Peel treatment is a color correcting peel that was developed specifically for treating pigmentation issues, safe for all skin including darker skin types. Brightening of post-inflammatory pigmentation due to acne, melasma or sun damage.