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Melasma 101

Updated: May 23

With the warmer months approaching, this is prime time for Melasma to act up. Keep reading for do and don'ts on keeping pesky Melasma at bay.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a pigmentation disorder, leading to the appearance of brown and grey patches on the skin. While it is more common on the face, it can also appear on the body. Melasma is more common in females than in males.

Unfortunately, nobody knows the exact cause for Melasma, and it can be different for the individual. Melasma is thought to be a result of internal factors and can be due to hormonal imbalance, a side effect of birth control and can appear during pregnancy known as the pregnancy mask. Other causes can be toxicity in the liver or too much copper in the body. As I said, it can be due to a variety of reasons, and there is no current cure, but I can advise you on how to maintain, improve and prevent the condition worsening.

Melasma can be one of the trickiest skin conditions to treat and is often mismanaged. Melasma treatment is a combination of topical skin treatments, medical-grade products, and changing the lifestyle factors that can be triggering the condition.

Melasma is commonly mistaken for sun damage. Melasma's appearance is very different and needs a cautious treatment approach that differs from treating hyperpigmentation in the form of sunspots and sun damage.

How to spot to Melasma?!

Melasma commonly appears down the centre of the face, middle of the forehead, bridge of the nose, the upper lip and spreading out across the cheeks. It is very symmetrical, leading to a butterfly effect on the face.

Melasma can be present in the epidermal layer (top layer) of the skin or the dermal layer (second layer), also a combination of both. Using a skin scanner or skin woods lamp can determine this, and it is vital in designing a treatment plan with realistic expectations.

Book a complimentary skin consultation at Kimberly de Matos skin

Think you have Melasma? Keep reading

Melasma darkens when stimulated by heat, light and UV rays, this is very important to know when dealing with Melasma. The first step in the treatment of Melasma is to invest in a good physical sunscreen, not chemical sunscreen as it generates heat in the skin. Physical sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide and make sure they are above 16% for adequate protection against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen is now a staple in your daily routine.