Types of Melasma

Melasma, otherwise called chloasma or pregnancy mask, is often characterized by some hyperpigmentation or discolouration primarily on the face. There are basically three types of chloasma that occur primarily on the face and these are; Malar{cheekbones}, Centro-facial{ center of the face}, and Mandibular {jaw bone}. Among the three types of facial melasma, the centro-facial types seem to be the most prevalent. It appears on the forehead and can also appear or spread to other parts such as the cheeks, upper lip, chin, and nose.

The malar type of melasma basically affect the upper cheeks, the mandibular type of chloasma is basically common to the jaw. In most cases , the upper side of the neck is barely affected by chloasma, however other parts such as the forearms are not spared from melasma. It has also been discovered that people who are offered progesterone treatment often suffer from chloasma appearing on their forearms.

There are basically 4 different types of pigmentation patterns in chloasma and these are; Dermal melasma, Epidermal melasma, Mixed melasma, and an unnamed type which is noticeable among people with dark skin tone.  The epidermal chloasma type is the one that is most common  and it is identified with the presence of excess melanin at the superficial layer of the skin. Dermal melasma on the other hand is often identified by the presence of melanophages{ these are cells that ingest melanin in the skin}. The mixed melasma type involves the combination of the dermal and the epidermal melasma infection while the fourth type involve the formation of excess melanocytes in the skin.

Chloasma grows slowly, so also the clearance of the problems often become successful slowly. The chronic skin disorder also has its ups and downs and the disappearance of the whole skin infection will largely depend on the kind of treatment therapy that is offered to the individual as well as the sensitivity of the skin to the treatment. Lack of avoidance of sunlight exposure is one of the reasons why chloasma treatments look as if they are not successful especially when the infection resurfaces few years later.

The pregnancy mask is common among people within the age group of 20-50 years of age, it is characterized by brown, tan or blue-grey colour , and it is caused mostly by over-exposure to the sun, however genetic predisposition as well as hormonal changes in the body can also cause the infection. It is an infection common in both sexes.

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