Melasma is a condition in which areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding skin. It typically occurs on the face, particularly the forehead, cheeks and above the upper lip. The dark patches often appear on both sides of the face in a nearly identical pattern. The darker-colored patches of skin can be any shade, from tan to deep brown. Rarely, these dark patches may appear on other sun-exposed areas of the body.
Melasma occurs much more often in women than in men, and usually is associated with hormonal changes. That is why the dark patches develop often during pregnancy, or if a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or oral contraceptives. Melasma during pregnancy is relatively common. Sometimes it is called the "mask of pregnancy" or "chloasma." The dark patches typically last until the pregnancy ends.
The most important factor in the development of melasma is exposure to sunlight. Using medications that make sensitive to the sun (photosensitizing) can increase risk of developing melasma. These can include some cosmetics and medicines used to treat ovarian or thyroid problems. Protection from the sun is a necessary part of treatment of melasma. For example, women who are pregnant or who take a hormone medication and avoid the sun are less likely to develop melasma than are those who spend a lot of time in the sun.
Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition causes dark, discolored patches on skin.
It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men.
SYMPTOMS OF MELASMA
Melasma causes patches of discoloration. The patches are darker than the usual skin color. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of the body that are often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.
Brownish colored patches usually appear on the:
- Bridge of the nose
It can also occur on the neck and forearms. The skin discoloration does not do any physical harm, but one may feel self-conscious about the way it looks.
CAUSES OF MELASMA
It is not totally clear what causes melasma. Darker-skinned individuals are more at risk than those with fair skin. Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity are also associated with the condition. This means birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma.
Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes).
DIAGNOSIS OF MELASMA
A visual exam of the affected area is often enough to diagnose melasma. To rule out specific causes,Some test may perform.
PREVENTION OF MELASMA
While not all cases of melasma will clear up with treatment, there are things you can do to make sure the condition doesn’t get worse and to minimize the appearance of the discoloration. These include:
- Using makeup to cover areas of discoloration
- Taking prescribed medication
- Wearing sunscreen every day with SPF 30
Wearing protective clothing is especially important if one will be in the sun for an extended period of time.
HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR MELASMA
SEPIA : Useful for yellow earthy complexion.There is yellowish,brown saddle across the bridge of the nose, and the chloasma on various parts of the skin.Suited to those females who have much indifference to her family member even loved one.There is tendency of weeping and patient is often sad.
CAULOPHYLLUM : Useful for chloasma on neck.There is discoloration of skin in women with menstrual and uterine disorder. Suited to hot and dry skin.
SULPHUR : Useful for formation of chloasma at the chest and back.There is violent itching in the evening.
CADMIUM SULPH : Useful for chloasma.There is yellowish stains on nose and cheeks hich is worse on exposure to sun and wind.