The most common areas for melasma to appear on the face include:
- the bridge of the nose
- the forehead
- the cheeks
- the upper lip
Melasma may also appear on other areas of the body, especially those exposed to a lot of sunlight. These areas may include:
- the forearms
- the neck
- the shoulders
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, only 10 percent of all cases of melasma occur in men. Women with darker complexions and who are pregnant are at greater risk of developing melasma.
Doctors do not fully understand why melasma occurs. It may be due to the malfunction of the melanocytes (the color-making cells) in the skin, causing them to produce too much color.
As a result, people with darker skin tones are more likely to develop melasma, as they have more melanocytes than people with lighter skin.
Potential triggers for melasma include:
- changes in hormones during pregnancy (chloasma), hormone treatment, or while taking birth control pills
- sun exposure
- 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.
Micro Needling – Micro needling for Melasma has found its place high in the treatment hierarchy because of its effectiveness. A series of 6 treatments are spaced at 2 to 3 week intervals. Micropen (an automated micro needle device) is used to create the tiniest of channels into the skin level where pigment resides. A hyaluronic acid solution is applied as part of the in-office treatment to create a hydrated environment. This preparation of the skin makes it more receptive to the bleaching creams that will be applied at home
Suppressing pigmentation is not a one-step event. Systematic treatments at appropriate depths for your skin and monitoring of progress make a big difference in outcome. Although the process may seem prolonged, it’s slow and steady that wins the race. About Micro Needling
Self Help Tips for Melasma Patients
- Sun protection is #1. The most effective self help for Melasma is the consistent use of sun protection. Although sunscreen or blocks will not prevent Melasma, sun protection will help prevent it from becoming darker. Even short exposures to sun can cause significant darkening…even that short walk to the mailbox every day.
- Sunscreens will chemically absorb UV rays while sun blocks will reflect them. If you have sensitive skin, sun blocks may be your preferred protection. New formulas contain micronized zinc or titanium dioxide which do not produce the white cast of older sun blocks.
- Avoid overly hot environments when possible. If going to the beach or pool use a hat and stay under an umbrella. A water mister will help keep skin temperatures lower.
- Love your sauna or hot tub? Get ready to see Melasma worsen or re-emerge. When your body temps rise, your melanin cells turn on!
- Gym workouts can raise body temperatures and make Melasma worse too.
- Avoid aggressive exfoliator scrubs or strong acid-containing products as both can create inflammation and worsen pigmentation.
- Some birth control pills will cause Melasma. If you suspect this is the case, consult your doctor.
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