Melasma 101, Part One

Happy Thursday loves! Today we are going to delve into Melasma.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a discoloration of the skin, typically displayed as gray or brown patches, most commonly found on the face. In melasma patients, the melanocytes (cells responsible for the skin’s pigment) become enlarged and the number of melanosomes (the site of melanin synthesis, storage and transport) are increased. It can affect the forehead, cheeks, around the mouth (like a mustache) and on the arms. The cause of melasma is unknown, and studies have shown that genetic predisposition, prescription drugs, hormones, heat and sun exposure play a large role in triggering melasma. It is most commonly found in women, although it can affect men as well. If this condition occurs during pregnancy it is called cholasma.

The emotional effects of Melasma

Similar to acne, melasma can cause distress, self-consciousness and a lack of confidence in patients. Many patients feel that their skin looks muddy or dirty. This is exacerbated by our digital era of filters and photoshop, which can make skin look completely flawless on screen and in print. (And I will give you a reality check- in all of my years of working on patients’ skin I have yet to see a person without ANY imperfections, freckles or flaws! Take heart!)

If Melasma affects you

This condition can sometimes seemingly appear overnight. If this happens to you, there are many options for treatments and products. Tomorrow’s post will cover all of them!

Thanks for stopping by! XO, Ashli

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