Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal changes and is in turn, most commonly seen in women. The way in which melasma is triggered by hormonal influences is what makes it so hard to treat.
In the same way some people are predisposed to skin conditions like acne, others are predisposed to developing pigmentation. Melasma is symmetrical in appearance and appears in tan/brown patches on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip, without any itching, burning or spots.
Research has shown that an increase in oestrogen levels can act as a trigger for melasma so often tends to present in females on birth control or in pregnancy. For this reason it’s less common in men and tends to affect women with darker skin tones. Exposure to sunlight and heat can also exacerbate melasma so it’s not uncommon for it to worsen in summer months.
Pigmentation caused by melasma typically requires prescription-strength products, such as tretinoin and hydroquinone, to keep it under control. While it's impossible to completely get rid of melasma, it's appearance can be significantly minimized with the right skincare. As well as more prescriptive products, professional treatments such as laser and chemical peels will be very useful in reducing the appearance of pigmentation. Also, it may be worthwhile addressing the underlying cause of the oestrogen imbalance with your doctor.
While there is unfortunately no definitive ‘cure’ as such for pigmentation, adopting a multi-faceted approach to your treatment will provide genuinely great results. Combining medical procedures with effective, active skincare will hugely improve pigmentation, leaving your complexion evened and brightened.
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