Melasma is a common skin disorder of light brown, dark brown and/or blue-gray patches on your skin. They can appear as flat patches or freckle- like spots. The patches are darker than your usual skin color. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.
Commonly affected areas include your face, the cheeks, upper lip and forehead, forearms, nose, chin. It sometimes affects your arms, neck and back. In fact, melasma can affect any part of your skin that is exposed to sunlight. It usually starts between 20 and 40 years of age.
Your epidermis contains cells called melanocytes that store and produce a dark color (pigment) known as melanin. In response to light, heat, or ultraviolet radiation or by hormonal stimulation, the melanocytes produce more melanin, and that’s why your skin darkens. 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.
There are three types of melasma and they have to do with the depth of the pigment.
The three types are:
Epidermal melasma has a dark brown color, a well- defined border, appears obvious under black light and sometimes responds well to treatment.
Dermal melasma has a light brown or bluish color, a blurry border, appears no differently under black light and doesn’t respond well to treatment.
3. Mixed melasma
Mixed melasma, which is the most common of the three, has both bluish and brown patches, shows a mixed pattern under black light and shows some response to treatment.
Melasma can be treated with multiple options like Cosmelan pack, Combination peeling, Nano fractional radio-freqency with tranxamic acid and Pico care 450 treatments along with medications.