What is melasma?

Melasma is one of the commonly occurring skin problems in which there is an appearance of discolored and dark patches on the skin surface. Melasma is also known as chloasma, a term which is more common for pregnant women. The skin problem of melasma occurs more often in women rather than in men but affects men too. Chloasma is also known as the “mask of pregnancy” in pregnant women. According to the dermatological research, almost 90 percent of cases of melasma patients constitute women, and a little percentage, which is 10 percent, consists of male melasma patients.

In the skin condition of melasma, there is the pigmentation of the skin surface on various body parts, and the skin appears to be dark brown or gray patches. The pigmentation and patches primarily appear on the face in most of the melasma patients. However, the common body areas for skin discoloration and pigmentation to appear to include the cheeks, forehead, and bridge of the nose, upper lip, neck, forearms, and shoulders. The areas of the body which face the most sunlight exposure are more prone to affect from melasma, and then there is the appearance of dark patches and spots on those areas.

While the skin condition of melasma does not cause any severe health problems, but it is very challenging for the people suffering from it. The appearance of dark patches on the skin surface affects the women severely and may cause depression in them, too, due to the unappealing appearance of the skin surface. The causative factors behind the appearance of dark and grey patches on the skin surface may be money, but the most prominent cause of melasma is the change in hormones. The emotional distress occurring from the unattractive appearance of the skin is the worst for women suffering from it.

1What Are The Sings And Symptoms Of Melasma?

The most visible symptom of melasma is the appearance of dark and grey patches on the skin surface, especially on the face. There are dark-colored patches on the skin, which are sometimes not so noticeable during the summer because of increased sunlight exposure. Some people confuse the dark skin patches with the summer tan, but these patches remain the same in winter days too. Melasma causes chronic skin pigmentation, which is not possible to cure completely, but you can only protect your skin from further discoloration. However, there are no additional physical symptoms of melasma. The discoloration of skin results in causing emotional distress, especially among women.

Melasma comes from the Greek word melas, meaning “black,” and the same Greek word constitutes melanin, which is the skin pigment. The color of our skin depends on the amount of melanin pigment in our skin cells, and when there is an abnormal production of melanin pigment, there is discoloration of the skin surface.  Melasma mostly appears on the face, but it can also occur on the other body areas like the back and arms. The patches of discoloration appearing due to melasma are known as macules, and these macules appear as dark patches. The macules resemble freckles and may also occur as larger patches of darkness that have irregular borders. The symptoms of melasma on the skin are visible by looking keenly to the skin surface, and the doctor confirms the presence of melasma by doing a physical examination. Following are some of the commonly occurring signs and symptoms of melasma:

Symmetrical greyish-brown spots or blotches:

Due to the hyperactive functionality of melanin cells, there is an abnormal production of melanin in certain body areas, which leaves greyish-brown spots on the skin surface. The dark blotches appear mostly on the face, and the areas of the face, which mostly have these spots are mostly the bridge of the nose, upper lip, cheeks, and forehead. A glance in the mirror can tell you exactly that what you are having on your face, which sometimes resembles freckles, but it is a result of melasma. Moreover, there are blotchy patches of dark skin on all the body areas which face the sun exposure like shoulders, neck, and arms.