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Copyright Medical Skin and Laser Australia 2016

Melasma

Melasma is a special form of pigmentation that is also called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. This form of facial pigmentation usually affects the upper lip, cheeks, around the eyes and forehead areas. 
 

What causes melasma?

Although no one knows the exact mechanism that causes melasma, the most common factors involved include:

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Sun exposure

  • Pregnancy

  • Oral contraceptive pill 

  • hormone replacement therapy

  • intrauterine device implants

  • Over active thyroid

  • Cosmetics

  • fragrances

  • IPL- accidently done by the beautician!

Who gets melasma?
Anyone! Women more than men, who tan or have olive or Asian skin are more commonly affected.

Understanding melasma?

It is important to understand that treatment by a medical professional is NOT going to cure melasma. If anyone tells you they will cure it- they are lying! Melasma can only be managed.

Management depends on the level of the pigment.

There are three types of melasma, defined by the depth of the affected skin.

  • Epidermal Melasma presents as dark brown patches with well-defined borders. This superficial melasma is often more easily treatable with conventional methods such as skin fading agents and medical skin peels.

  • Dermal Melasma presents as light brown or bluish skin patches with ill-defined borders. This deeper form is more difficult to treat. Often use of oral medication with laser is implemented.

  • Mixed Melasma is the most common form comprising of a superficial and deeper pigmentation pattern. 

Managing Melasma
Once melasma has cleared, Medical Skin and Laser will ensure that a melasma management plan is in place. Amongst other strategies, sun avoidance and daily sunscreen use is recommended.