What is melasma?

Melasma, also called chloasma, is a type of hyperpigmentation, a common skin condition characterized by the appearance of symmetrical, dark brown or grayish patches on the skin. It is not a harmful condition but can affect the appearance of the skin.

These spots usually appear on the areas most exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, arms and décolleté. It is more common in women during pregnancy and in people with darker skin tones.

Causes of melasma

This type of spots are caused by an increased production of melanin, which is the skin pigment in people. Currently, the causes of this increase are not entirely clear, although there are several factors that contribute to its development, such as hormonal factors, sun exposure and genetic factors.

  • Sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun is a trigger for melasma, as prolonged exposure can stimulate melanin production in the skin, leading to hyperpigmentation.
  • Hormonal factors. Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives are associated with an increased predisposition to melasma. About 15% of pregnant women suffer from melasma. And between 10% and 25% of women taking oral contraceptives suffer from melasma.
  • Genetic factors. If you have direct relatives who have suffered from melasma, there is an increased risk of developing the condition.

Types of melasma

Melasma manifests itself in three main patterns, depending on the depth of the patch:

  1. Epidermal melasma: in epidermal melasma, hyperpigmentation is found in the epidermis, the most superficial layer of the skin. It is the most common type of melasma.
  2. Dermal melasma: in this case, the hyperpigmentation is located in the dermis, the deepest layer of the skin. It is the most resistant type to treatment.
  3. Mixed melasma: here the stain combines dermal and epidermal depth.

How to prevent melasma

As one of the main causes is sun exposure, one of the best ways to reduce the risk of melasma is to protect the skin from the sun and ultraviolet (UV) light. For this, it is important to use high-quality sunscreens all year round. In addition, with an appropriate broad-spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) that blocks UVA and UVB light.

Sun lamps and tanning products can also affect the skin causing melasma. So these types of products should also be avoided.

Treatments to eliminate melasma

These stains can be lightened if the cause is eliminated. That is, if melasma spots are caused by excessive sun exposure, they can be lightened by avoiding sun exposure and using appropriate sun protection.

In the case of melasma related to pregnancy or oral contraceptive use, the spots may lighten or disappear after the pregnancy ends or contraceptive use is discontinued.

Melasma can be a persistent condition and, in some cases, may require long-term treatment in a combination of strategies, including sunscreens, depigmenting creams, chemical peels or laser treatments.

Commitment to quality

This text on melasma has been prepared by professional writers. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.