Melasma is a skin condition that affects mostly females with dark skin tones. However, the condition may also occur in patients with whiter skin tones and in males. The melasma manifests through dark, hyperpigmented patches and appears typically on the face.
Causes of Melasma
The melasma forms when there is an excess of melanin production. This may occur when there is an unbalanced amount of female hormones (i.e. estrogen or progesterone); the excessive production of melanin is typically triggered by sun exposure. However, the exact cause of melasma formation hasn't been determined yet.
Melasma and Dark Skin Tones
Melasma occurs more often in patients with dark skin. Over 90% of the patients are women. Patients of Latin, Indian, Mediterranean, North African and Asia descent are more likely to develop melasma.
Melasma may be diagnosed through using Wood’s lamp; melasma may fade away or vanish completely in patients with dark skin, especially after giving birth or stopping the hormone administration.
However, it may happen that melasma will persist. There are a few treatment options that are suitable for patients with dark skin tones. Laser procedures, such as Fraxel Repair, may work well in eliminating the hyperpigmented patches.
In addition, there are creams that contain bleaches that can fade the melasma. Natural remedies such as lemon juice or sour cream may also lighten melasma if used for a longer period of time. However, sun exposure must be avoided to prevent the reoccurrence of melasma.
Patients with dark skin tones should wear a sun block with a lower protection factor (i.e. 10), but this must be worn at all times when in sun.