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Melasma Information and Treatment

Melasma is a dark skin discoloration found on sun-exposed areas of the face. Brownish in color, it is exacerbated by sun exposure, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and certain anti-epilepsy drugs. Melasma is reasonably common, especially in women of child-bearing age. The disorder is most common in sunny climates and in people of Latin or Asian origin. Melasma produces irregular, patchy areas of dark color that are the same on both sides of the face. The pigmentation most often occurs in the center of the face and on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. Different types of melasma occur depending on the location of the excess melanin, in the epidermis or the dermis. Melasma is thought to be caused by elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a hormone that causes melanin cells to make more melanin). Pregnancy-induced melasma usually resolves after delivery, but may return with subsequent pregnancies or with oral contraceptives. Treatment of melasma depends on the type and involves skin-lightening agents and sometimes tretinoin (Retin-A). The proper use of sunscreen is also important because UV light can worsen melasma.

Chloasma is another name for melasma. Melasma is a common skin disorder that can affect anyone but is most noted in young women with brownish skin tones. It is more often associated with female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Melasma is often seen in pregnant women, women who are taking oral contraceptives and women taking hormone replacement therapy. Exposure to the sun is also a large factor and in seen more in tropical. It is common in women above aged 20. Mostly it is develop during pregnancy. It can occur in Asians, Africa, Indians or people from the Middle East. Melasma gets worse in the summer but it may fades in winter.

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