Melasma is one of the harder types of hyperpigmentation to correct because it is tied to hormones and can affect the deep dermal layers of the skin. It appears as dark patches on the skin-usually on the sides of the face, forehead, upper lip, chin and sides of the neck.
Often called “the mask of pregnancy,” you don’t have to be pregnant or have a child to experience it. However, it is more common in those with darker skin tones.
Mild melasma appears as faint brown splotches that are on the small side, but full-blown melasma surfaces as patches of light brown skin with irregular borders. One of the easiest ways to determine how deep your melasma goes is by stretching your skin. If the discolored portion appears lighter than when the skin is at rest, then the hyperpigmentation is superficial; if it’s darker then the pigmentation lies in the dermal layers.
Estrogen is at the heart of the problem, but the sun is a catalyst, too. The combination of the two results in a pigment imbalance that causes the identifying dark patches. Even if you undergo treatment for melasma, it may not be completely erased. You may be able to diminish the discoloration and its size to some degree, but there’s a chance of some pigment remaining.
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