Reducing Skin Pigmentation
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- Hypopigmentation:is where areas of the skin become lighter
- Hyperpigmentation: is where areas of the skin become darker
Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin. Causes of hyperpigmentation include:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Addison’s disease
- Antibiotics and other medications
One of the most common hyperpigmentary problems is Melasma, this condition is characterized by tan or brown patches.The most common sites of involvement are the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lips. Use a strong sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) at all times, because sunlight will worsen the condition. Sunblocks containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best.
Who gets Melasma?
Melasma mostly occurs in women. Only 10% of those affected are men. Dark-skinned races, particularly Hispanics, Asians, Indians, people from the Middle East, and Northern Africa, tend to have melasma more than others.
What Causes Melasma?
The precise cause of melasma is unknown. People with a family history of melasma are more likely to develop melasma themselves. A change in hormonal status may trigger melasma. It is commonly associated with pregnancy and called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy.” Birth control pills may also cause melasma, however, hormone replacement therapy used after menopause has not been shown to cause the condition. Melasma may go away after pregnancy or once discontinuing with birth control pills.
If you have melasma, try to limit your exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light from the sun, and even very strong light from light bulbs, can stimulate pigment-producing cells, or melanocytes in the skin. People with skin of colour have more active melanocytes than those with light skin. These melanocytes produce a large amount of pigment under normal conditions, but this production increases even further when stimulated by light exposure or an increase in hormone levels. Incidental exposure to the sun is mainly the reason for recurrences of melasma.
How is Melasma Diagnosed?
Most patients can be diagnosed simply by a skin examination. Occasionally a skin biopsy is necessary to differentiate melasma from other conditions.
How is it Treated?
Melasma may disappear after pregnancy, it may remain for many years, or a lifetime.
Sunscreens are essential in the treatment of melasma. They should be broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. A SPF 30 or higher should be selected. In addition, physical sunblock lotions and creams such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, may be used to block ultraviolet radiation and visible light. Sunscreens should be worn daily, whether or not it is sunny outside, or if you are outdoors or indoors. A significant amount of ultraviolet rays is received while walking down the street, driving in cars, and sitting next to windows.
Caci's new Reformaskin™ program has been specifically designed to treat the signs of sun damage including uneven skin tone and texture, red and brown patches and red veins. Learn more about Caci's exclusive Reformaskin™ program here.
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