Discover the signs, causes and treatments of melasma (chloasma or mask of pregnancy) in Dubai.
29 December 2020| Last updated on 6 January 2021
Have you noticed patches of skin discoloration on your face?
You may be dealing with melasma, a common skin condition.
Read ahead to get a full breakdown of why melasma happens, where it's more common to occur on the skin, and how you can treat them ASAP, according to expert dermatologists from Dr. Kamil Al Rustom Skin & Laser Centre.
What is melasma?
Melasma is the appearance of brown or greyish spots or patches on the skin. The exact color of the patches varies depending on skin type, and the extent of discoloration can vary from a few indistinct spots to larger, highly pigmented patches.
The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of people who develop melasma are women.
The most common areas for melasma to appear on the face include:
- the bridge of the nose
- the forehead
- the cheeks
- the upper lip
It can also occur on the neck and forearms. The skin discolouration doesn’t do any physical harm, but those with the condition may feel self-conscious about the way it looks.
What causes melasma?
Experts have not yet fully understood why melasma occurs. It may be due to the malfunction of the color-making cells in the skin, causing them to produce too much color. That’s why people with skin of color are more likely to experience melasma; they have more active melanocytes than those with fair skin.
Potential triggers for melasma include:
- Changes in hormones during pregnancy (chloasma), hormone treatment.
- Contraceptive pills.
- Sun exposure, because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes).
- Certain skin care products, if they irritate a person’s skin.
Also, there may be a genetic component to melasma, as people whose close relatives have experienced melasma are more likely to develop it themselves.
A visual exam of the affected area is often enough to diagnose melasma. If your dermatologist is concerned the discoloration may be caused by another disease or condition, he may elect to take a skin biopsy, but this is very rare.
How to manage melasma during pregnancy?
Discoloration can appear at any time during the term of the pregnancy but is most common during the second and third trimester. If you had melasma before your pregnancy, you might notice some additional patches develop.
Some easy steps you can take every day are:
- Minimizing sun exposure during peak hours (10 am – 2 pm).
- Wearing UV protective clothing and broad-brimmed hats
- Applying pregnancy-safe sunscreen daily
- Using makeup to hide dark patches of skin
- Promoting skin health by eating a skin-healthy diet
- Taking any vitamins or medications that your doctor has recommended
- Avoiding skin irritants like smoke and harsh chemicals, which can worsen your melasma
Maintaining your skin health can help you manage your melasma and give your skin a healthy, radiant appearance.
For some women, melasma disappears on its own. If it caused hormonal changes, during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills, it will fade after delivery or once a person stops taking the pills.
But for other people, melasma can last for years or even for the rest of their lives. If melasma does not fade over time, a person can seek treatment to help remove or fade the patches.
However, not all treatments work for everyone, and melasma may come back even after successful treatment.
Treatment options for melasma include:
Dr. Kamil Al Rustom Skin & Laser Centre offers a special cream mixture tailored specific for people with melasma or hyperpigmentation.
Light and laser treatments target hyperpigmentation in the skin by pulling it up to the surface where it is then sloughed off.
Dr. Kamil Al Rustom performs melasma treatment with different machines and technologies (BBL, Medlite C6).
Depigmentation Chemical Peel
Amelan Depigmentation Peel is a unique, multi-ingredient chemical treatment designed to reduce areas of skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
If a person has had melasma before, they can try to avoid triggers by:
- limiting sun exposure
- wearing a hat when outside
- using sunscreen
At Dr. Kamil Al Rustom Skin & Laser Centre, consultation regarding melasma treatment is FREE of charge. During your personal assessment, the dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored by individual needs and preference.