Written by: Dra. Elena Tévar Valiente
Edited by: Top Doctors®

With the arrival of good weather during the spring / summer months, the appearance of melasma or hormonal pigmentation is frequent. Therefore, the prevention and care of our skin is key to avoid these spots.

Melasma is a skin pathology that consists of hyperpigmentation of the skin, that is, the presence of dark spots, which usually appear in the central area of ​​the forehead , cheeks and upper lip. While it is true that it does not cause health problems, it has an unsightly physical appearance, so it is convenient to know how to prevent it. Although they can appear in anyone, it is more common in young women, who take the contraceptive pill or who are pregnant, but it can occur without either of these two factors.  


What are the causes of its appearance?

There is no known cause of this skin disorder, but there are certain factors that activate the cells responsible for pigmentation of the skin (melanocytes).


- Exposure to ultraviolet and solar light: An excessive overexposure of ultraviolet rays, the known UVA rays, activate the melanin of our skin. Reason why the most damaged areas of the skin are those that are exposed to sunlight.

- Hormone status of the patient: Those women who are pregnant are more likely to suffer from this pathology. In some cases, it also coincides with the start of a contraceptive treatment.

- Genetics: The genetic predisposition is also a determining factor in the appearance of melasma.

- Cosmetics: Some makeup or beauty products can have an irritative or allergic effect in predisposed people, causing or worsening melasma.


How can melasma be treated?

It is important to go to the specialist first and identify the cause that has caused the excess of skin pigmentation. When aesthetically supposes a problem for the patient, the person can resort to different forms of treatment of melasma. Nowadays, the most used are depigmenting creams , which contain different active ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, retinoic acid (substances effective to combat skin blemishes). Chemical peels have also been used, as well as different types of lasers such as pulsed light. Using laser sessions at low power together with powerful depigmenting drugs can help the progressive cleansing of the skin, along with the use of the creams mentioned above.


Can melasma be prevented?

The best way to prevent melasma , in addition to sunscreens, is to wear sunglasses, hats, caps, as well as avoid sun exposure in the middle of the day. It is also very important, extreme care during the first outdoor exhibitions, either on the beach or in the field. Although with the right treatments the melasma can improve or reduce the appearance and color of the spots in an important way, there are no treatments that eliminate it permanently.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Elena Tévar Valiente

Dermatology expert in Mohs Surgery and Head of the Unit for Vitiligo. Combines the development of their daily work with additional training in their specialty. He is currently a Specialist in Medical-Surgical Dermatology and Venereology at the University Hospital Clinico San Carlos de Madrid and the University Hospital Foundation Alcorcon, Madrid.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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