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Melasma

What is it?

Melasma is a condition characterized by dark spots on the face. its onset is usually related to pregnancy or the use of hormonal contraceptives combined to skin exposure to sunlight, which acts like a trigger.

The disease appears mainly in women but can also affect men. In addition to hormonal factors and sun exposure, genetic trend and racial characteristics also influence the appearance of melasma.

The depth of the pigment in the skin determines the type of melasma, which may be epidermal (superficial, better response to treatment), dermal (deeper, worse response to treatment) or mixed.

Characteristics and symptoms

The disease is characterized by the appearance of dark spots on the face, especially in the cheeks, forehead, nose and upper lip. The spots often have well defined edges and irregular shape, forming blotches that usually present small pigmented spots surrounding it.

Treatment

To prevent melasma, women should not be exposed to the sun without sunscreen during pregnancy or use of hormonal contraceptives.

When melasma arises during pregnancy, it may spontaneously and graddualy disappear after delivery, demanding no treatment. However, treatment may accelerate its disappearance.

For the treatment of melasma is essential to use sunscreen whenever skin may be exposed to direct or indirect sunlight, and sunscreens that contain physical filters, such as titanium dioxide, should be preferred.

The treatment is usually done with depigmenting substances, applied to the skin. The association with some types of acids generally increases the effectiveness of those. When the pigment is located more deeply, the achievement of good results is more difficult, requiring persistence.

Superficial peels can accelerate the process by facilitating the penetration of depigmenting drugs and helping to remove the pigment from the upper layers of the skin.

Even after disappearance of melasma, the use of sunscreen should be maintained to prevent the return of the spots, which occurs quite often.

Related articles

- Solar lentigo, sun spots
- Ephelides, freckles


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