• Understand Melasma, its Causes and Treatments

    Melasma is a fairly common skin disease. This condition will cause gray or brown patches on the patient’s face. In most cases, these patches appear on the forehead, the chin, on the upper lip, the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. In other cases, it can appear in other parts of the body that are exposed to the sun such as the neck and the forearms.

    Who gets Melasma and Why?

    This condition is common in women and less common in men, in fact, only 10 percent of Melasma patients are men. This condition is also common amongst people who have a darker complexion. This is why it is often seen more in Asians, Indians, North Africans, Latinas and African Americans.

    The exact reason behind Melasma is not clear, but it is attributed to the production of too much color by the color making cells of the skin, the melanocytes. This is why people who have a darker skin color are more prone to this disease than those who have a light skin color because they have more active melanocytes.

    There are three things that result in the stimulation of these cells; they are sun exposure, hormonal and external irritants.  Sun exposure, as the UV rays of the sun result in the stimulation of melanocytes. This is why those who suffer from Melasma will notice that it is worse during the summer. The second thing that causes it is a drastic change in hormones; this is why pregnant women often get it.  It is often referred to as Chloasma (the mask of pregnancy). It can also be triggered by hormone replacement and birth control pills. Lastly, Melasma can be triggered by cosmetic skin care products that can irritate the skin.

    How will a Dermatologist Chicago Diagnose it?

    Any cosmetic dermatologist Chicago office will be able to diagnose a case of Melasma by simply looking at the skin of the patient.  In some cases, the Melasma can look like other skin diseases; this is why in order for your dermatologist to rule out other conditions, he or she may need to perform a skin biopsy. This can be carried out quickly and safely at any dermatologist Chicago IL office during your visit.

    The Treatments Available at Your Dermatologist Chicago Clinic

    Although Melasma can go away on its own, especially when the cause behind it ceases to exist, in some cases, it can last for a lifetime.  There are different treatments for it and they include a bleaching agent called hydroquinone, combination topical agents that have hydroquinone in it along with tretinoin or topical steroids, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.

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