Why Do I Have Melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition whereby there is an overproduction of the skin pigment melanin causing brown patches of pigmentation. Melanin is responsible for giving skin its color and so the darker the skin, the more the melanin present and the opposite can be said for light skinned people. This condition is characterized by uneven patches on the skin which appear to be discolored. They may be black, brown or grey in color. The three main causes of melasma are; hormones when pregnant, hormones when taking the pill and continuous exposure to the sun.

Pregnancy
A woman goes through a lot of changes when it comes to carrying a baby for 9 months to full term. The changes involved are numerous and each has its own effect and purpose. One of the changes a woman undergoes is hormonal changes and these have an effect on other parts of the body too. In this case hormonal changes will cause the levels of melanin being produced to increase thus leading to darkening of the skin which is known as melasma.

Birth control
Many women who do not desire children for sometime use birth control pills which help them keep the chances of falling pregnant slim. Birth control pills also mimic the body’s hormones like that when it is in pregnancy and thus have the same effect of causing the melanin production levels to be raised. This eventually leads to melasma.

Sunlight exposure
The sun is the main cause of skin conditions worldwide. Apart from the heat and vitamin D we get when we sit in the sun, we also get a lot of UV rays. UV stands for Ultra Violet and this is what the sun gives us too. These rays are harmful to the extent that they have been proven to be a major cause of skin cancer. The ozone layer had been responsible for filtering the sun’s rays and only allowing a small amount to get through but causing the rest to reflect back. What with all the poisonous gases being emitted into the atmosphere, the ozone layer has been destroyed thus letting in the harmful UV rays. When melanocytes found in the skin are exposed to sunlight they are stimulated to produce even more melanin thus leading to darker skin.

Melasma has three types. One is epidermal where the condition is only superficial and can be treated easily. The other is dermal where the condition is deep and may take a while to be treated. The last one is a mixture of both the dermal and epidermal conditions and will require laser treatment to remove .

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