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Dark spots on your face? They don’t have to last

Persistent hyperpigmentation is the clinical term

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
Posted: Jun 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago

Photo: Samaa Digital

Some people have dark patches on the chin, cheeks, nose and upper lip. Clinically, these spots are called melasma and this skin condition is more common in Asians compared to Caucasians.

You can get melasma on your face if your overproduce melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). It tends to develop on these areas of the face:

What causes melasma?

Sun exposure: Spending a long amount of time in the sun can trigger melasma production. The cheeks, nose and forehead are more exposed and so more prone to developing it.

Skin type: Asian, Hispanic and African people have increased distribution of melanocytes all over the body. These cells are triggered easily, especially over specific areas of the face and lead to melasma.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a condition which naturally leads to increased production of pigment in the body. This takes place due to hormonal changes.

Harsh chemicals in skin care: Skin-thinning creams contain strong steroids and peeling elements that can cause melasma. Skin on the chin, cheeks, nose and upper lips is already thin and further thinning can lead to this condition.

Diet: Many women in Asia are iron deficient, which can lead to melasma. The mechanism behind this isn’t clear yet but scientists have seen a correlation in studies.

Prevention of melasma

1. Apply sunscreen containing zinc oxide before going out in the sun.

2. Avoid harsh chemicals such as skincare products with steroids. Instead use skin care products with antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and nicinamide.

3. Supplements with iron and folic acid will keep skin healthy. Fruit with colour such as cherries, strawberries, oranges and plums have a large quantity of flavonoids which are beneficial for skin health.

Treatment for melasma

For a better and quick recovery go see a certified dermatologist.Treatment can include topical (over the skin) medications with melanin inhibitors, such as hydroquinone, alpha arbutin, and topical mild steroids, laser toning and chemical peeling.

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