Unless you’ve suffered with melasma, you might not know what it is, but this skin condition affects up to 50% of women during pregnancy and in fact 90% of people who suffer with melasma. But what is this skin condition, what causes it and what can we do about it? Read on for more information:
What is Melasma?
According to the British Association of Dermatologists “Melasma, also called ‘chloasma’ and ‘pregnancy mask’, is a common skin condition of adults in which brown or greyish patches of pigmentation (colour) develop, usually on the face. The name comes from melas, the Greek word for black, or cholas, from the word green-ish.”
Who Gets Melasma?
As we mentioned above, 9 out of 10 melasma sufferers are women and it’s really common during pregnancy. It typically appears for the first time between the ages of 20 and 40 and is more likely to affect those with darker skin types or tanned skin.
What Causes it?
Melasma can be caused by a number of factors. As well as genetics (if your mother had it, you’re more likely to develop it too), hormones can play a factor, which is why pregnancy and some birth control methods can cause it. It can also be worsened by sun exposure, although it’s not thought to be directly caused by it, unlike hyperpigmentation.
What Are the Symptoms?
Perhaps one saving grace of melasma is that, other than the skin darkening, it’s usually asymptomatic. It doesn’t hurt or itch, it’s not usually raised or textured and it doesn’t cause dryness or oiliness, it just looks like a patch of dark skin.
What Can I Do about it?
If your birth control is a trigger, then opting for a non-hormone based method will help. Equally, sun protection is absolutely essential if you want to manage the progression of the condition. Using a high-protection, broad spectrum sun cream like Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50 on a daily basis will halt the sun’s effect on melasma greatly. Chemical peels and exfoliators can also reduce the appearance of melasma, so we’d also recommend you invest in Decleor Lift and Brighten Peeling Gel and Decleor Double Radiance Scrub, as well as a Dermalogica Exfoliating Face Brush.