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Common Causes of Melasma



People have always valued having a clear and even skin tone. This is especially the case when talking about facial skin. People are attracted to those who have clear, evenly toned skin. An even skin tone is a sign of youth, health and vitality. For this reason, it can be very stressful for a person to look in the mirror and to see that they are showing symptoms of melasma. Melasma is a skin condition that leaves the patient with brown or gray spots of pigmentation. This skin disease primarily affects the face, but in some instances it is found on other parts of the body.

Melasma can affect any race and gender. However, its primary victims are women who have darker skin and who live in climates with strong sun exposure. The condition becomes more apparent on people during the summertime, and the symptoms seem to fade during the winter. Contrary to what some may believe, this skin condition is not caused as a result of an infection, it is not contagious and people do not develop melasma because of allergies. The positive side of melasma is that it does not cause cancer, and it does not lead to skin cancer.

The Causes 

Like many skin disorders that affect a person?s pigmentation, the exact causes of melasma are not clearly known. However, doctors have seen factors that contribute to its onset. One factor is hormonal changes connected to pregnancy, medical conditions that alter a person?s hormone levels and using contraceptive pills. It has also been noted that certain cosmetic products, especially those that have perfume, can trigger the condition.

Researchers are looking into emotional triggers, such as stress, that might also play a factor. When a person is exposed to a lot of sunshine or when they use tanning beds, the symptoms of melasma worsen. Research has also shown that melasma is hereditary.

The Symptoms 

Melasma results in the hyperpigmentation of the skin on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. One interesting thing about this condition is that the hyperpigmentation is symmetrical, affecting both sides of the face evenly. At times, symptoms will be seen on the neck. Unlike hives or other skin irritations, melasma does not cause the skin in the affected area to raise. Melasma does not cause a person?s skin to itch, nor does it cause pain. It can lead to emotional distress as a result of the cosmetic aspect of the disease.

Medical professionals can diagnose melasma by looking at a person?s face. The two factors they will use to determine if a patient has melasma is the hyperpigmentation coupled with the symmetrical distribution of the marks on the face.

What Treatments Are Available?

Melasma has no known cure. In some cases, it clears up on its own. In other cases, treatment options can be used to improve the appearance of a person’s skin. At Vitahl Medical Aesthetics in Denver, we offer chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing as two effective ways to treat melasma symptoms. After evaluating the condition of your skin, we will come up with a treatment plan that is customized to meet your needs. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment to learn more about our treatment options.