Melasma (Chloasma): Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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If you experience melasma, it can be a worrying and unsightly experience. But for those at higher risk of this health condition, it is important to understand what causes it, ways of treating it and associated potential risks.

Treatments

There are a few ways that can help to remedy this potentially embarrassing skin condition, including skin-lightening creams, cosmetic procedures or topical steroids. However, in many cases, chloasma will fade on its own, typically when the pregnancy has ended or your hormones have a chance to rebalance naturally. For some people, melasma will return at other times in their life, making the avoidance of direct skin exposure often the best treatment/preventative measure.

A woman doctor checking a patient's face through a magnifying glass

Melasma is a skin condition. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cosmetic Procedures

Chemical peels or dermabrasion have been known to be quite effective in lessening the appearance of these patches of skin. This is particularly effective for epidermal melasma, as it only affects the top layers of skin, which are often removed through these procedures.

Skin-Lightening Creams

Certain creams are able to lighten the skin, allowing you to blend the darker regions of your skin into the surrounding areas. These creams aren’t effective for dermal melasma, but can often help lessen how obvious the condition appears.

Topical Steroids

Certain types of topical steroids can be directly applied to the discolored areas to stimulate proper balance of skin pigment cells. This is not always successful, but it is a relatively non-invasive and simple remedy for some people.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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