Melasma is a very common condition affecting middle-aged people. It occurs between the age of 20 and 40 years. It is more commonly seen in females than in males. It is a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, brownish patches on the face, mainly affecting the cheeks, nose, forehead, and upper lip area. It is also called the mask of pregnancy as it is common in women during and post-pregnancy.
Melasma is a complex skin condition with many causes that leads to its pigmentation. It commonly arises in healthy adults. Chronic sun exposure leads to increased deposition of melanin pigment within the dermis, which persists for long-term. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) worsens pigmentation because it activates the melanocyte cells in the skin to produce more melanin.
The various triggering factors include:
It is usually very slow to respond to treatment, especially if it has been present for a long duration. Generally, a combination of various treatment modalities is required to get the best results in cases of melasma.
Sunscreen plays a very vital role in melasma management. As we all know that UV exposure precipitates as well as exacerbates pigmentation, so one can understand the importance of using regular sunscreen.
Results take time, and the treatment of melasma include multiple sessions of the above measures.
The chances of recurrence are present if proper sun protection is not taken, or if there occurs any hormonal imbalances. Continuous research is going on to discover newer topical and oral agents for its effective treatment in the future.