Melasma is a skin condition that causes areas of discolouration on the face, often appearing as symmetrical brown blotches. The most commonly affected areas include the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, chin, and upper lip. Melasma can also occur on other parts of the body, especially areas exposed to the sun.
Melasma is estimated to affect more than six million people in North American alone. While the condition isn’t dangerous, it can affect confidence and self-esteem.
Sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” women are affected more often by melasma than men. It’s a common condition that develops during pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, or while undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
It’s more commonly seen in people with brown skin tones as opposed to fair skin, although patients with all skin types can be affected. Melasma can become exacerbated by heat, spicy foods, UV, alcohol, exercise and harsh skin products.
The chronic condition is caused by an overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment responsible for determining skin, hair, and eye colour. It’s thought that 25-30% of those with Melasma may have a genetic predisposition to the condition with other family members also being affected.
One of the most important factors in preventing the onset and development of Melasma is to use a proven sun protection product that blocks both UVA and UVB sun rays and avoiding the use of tanning beds.
Many conventional remedies for Melasma such as enzyme inhibitors, bleaches, steroid, depigmenting agents and pulsed light treatments are seldom effective, and many people who try them find themselves giving up and using heavy makeup instead to hide the condition.
Melasma is one of the most frustratingly difficult skin conditions to treat. The good news is that with a multi-faceted treatment approach, the majority of those affected can be effectively treated.
Dr. Sharma can restore balance to the facial complexion in a variety of ways, ranging from oral medication to topical creams. Laser therapy and skin peels are also effective options, and may require several treatments.
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Dr Sharma will meet with you to discuss any possible treatments. Depending on the severity, and type, the best treatment options may vary from person to person. This is why Dr Sharma meets with everybody individually to identify their personal needs.
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