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What It Is

Melasma, also referred to as chloasma or ‘the mask of pregnancy’, is a skin condition that commonly occurs in the facial areas of adults. It is a pigmentation condition that causes skin discolouration. This commonly results in the appearance of light brown, dark brown and grey patches across the face. Melasma typically occurs on the forehead, chin, cheeks, upper lips or nose, and is completely harmless aside from the confidence and self-esteem issues that it can lead to. Research suggests that those living in warmer, sunnier climates are more likely to be affected by melasma.

Melasma is not an infection and therefore is not contagious. It isn’t known to be an allergic reaction and is not cancerous nor can it develop into skin cancer.

Why It Happens

There is no concrete reason as to why melasma appears or doesn’t appear in certain individuals. It is often known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ as it is sometimes triggered by birth control pills or the increased hormones that are attributed to pregnancy. Stress and thyroid disease are also common causes of melasma. It is also widely acknowledged that sun exposure can worsen this condition as melasma usually becomes more visible during the summer. This is also evident in the fact that it tends to ease and improve during the winter months.

How it can be treated

Melasma can be treated with certain skincare products and chemical face peels – these usually contain a type of acid which exfoliates the skin, peeling away the damaged layers and leaving a new, healthy complexion in its place. Your skincare professional will be able to advise you on the best skin medicines and procedures to help you get rid of your melasma. If certain products do not work, then this can be treated with laser therapy.

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