You may not recognize the medical term melasma, but you may be all too familiar with its symptoms.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that melasma is a skin problem common to many people.
Symptoms include brownish or gray-brown patches, usually found on the face. Women are more likely than men to suffer from melasma, as are people with darker skin tones.
At SeaMist MedSpa, we can help treat melasma and other skin conditions to help restore your skin to health. Contact SeaMist to learn more or to make an appointment at our offices in South Kingstown, R.I.
More than six million women in the United States suffer from melasma, but its exact causes remain unclear. Melasma can be triggered by pregnancy, exposure to the sun, use of birth control pills and some cosmetics.
Melasma often impacts the forehead, cheeks and chin, as well as the bridge of the nose or above your upper lip. Melasma can also strike the forearms and neck.
Although melasma is not considered physically harmful to your health, it does impact the way you look. Seeking treatment for melasma can make it less noticeable and gives sufferers greater self-esteem and confidence in their appearance.
Here are some tips for achieving and keeping a more even skin tone if melasma strikes:
- Don’t forget to use sunscreen: A common method to fight the effects of melasma is to protect yourself from the sun. Because sunlight can trigger melasma, it is imperative you wear sunscreen every day – even if it’s cloudy. Also use sunscreen after swimming or working up a sweat. Select a sunscreen product with broad-spectrum protection and a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of at least 30. You should also use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which can decrease the sun’s effects on your skin. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside, and don’t forget to reapply it at least every two hours.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim when you head outdoors: A recent study has found sunscreen on its own may not be enough sun protection. Whenever you can, seek the shade and wear clothing that protects you from the sun – in addition to wearing sunscreen.
- Select skin care products that are gentle on the skin: Use products that won’t burn or sting. These products can irritate your skin and make your melasma worse.
- Don’t wax: Waxing can lead to skin inflammation, which in turn worsens melasma symptoms. Avoid waxing parts of the body that are impacted by melasma. Ask your dermatologist what types of hair removal products are best for you to use.
Melasma often will fade away on its own, especially if it occurs during pregnancy or when using birth controls pills.
But if your melasma does not leave on its own, or if you want to continue taking birth control pills, it’s best to consult a board-certified dermatologist to review the best available treatments for melasma.
The American Academy of Dermatology was established in 1938 and today has more than 17,000 member physicians around the world.