Top 10 Melasma Myths and Misconceptions

Melasma is an often-misunderstood skin condition. Most people have never heard of it, and those who have often make incorrect assumptions about it. In many cases, melasma sufferers have been misinformed about aspects of this common hyperpigmentation issue. This can lead to frustrating setbacks in treatment and can cause melasma to become darker and more prominent.

The best way to reduce the appearance of your melasma, clear it away completely, and prevent it from returning is by being well-informed. This means dispelling numerous melasma myths and misconceptions.
Myth #1: Pregnancy Is the Cause of All Melasma Cases

Melasma, also called chloasma or chloasma faciei, is frequently dubbed “the mask of pregnancy”. Because of this, it’s no wonder that people often assume that pregnancy is the reason for all melasma cases. However, while many pregnant women do develop melasma, pregnancy is not the sole cause of this skin condition. There are several potential melasma causes including hormonal imbalances, UV (ultraviolet)/blue light exposure and genetics.

The hormonal changes that lead to hormone imbalances can occur as a result of pregnancy. They can also occur because of birth-control medications, hormone-replacement therapies, stress and thyroid conditions. Excessive UV light exposure can result from being in the sun too long, not wearing proper sun protection and tanning in tanning beds. Blue light from LED screens (cell phones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc.) can also trigger development of melasma. Additionally, there are several medications and cosmetic products that can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. This increase in sensitivity is called a phototoxic reaction. Certain NSAIDs can cause this reaction, as can various antipsychotics, retinoids, anti-seizure medications, antibiotics, diuretics and hypoglycemics.

When melasma is triggered there is an interaction with the body’s melanocytes. Melanocytes are skin cells that produce pigment in order to protect the skin from UV rays that can cause lasting skin damage. Melasma is the superficial manifestation of melanocytes being signaled to create more melanin pigment than normal.

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