There can be several reasons why dark spots appear on your skin. But among the common causes of dark spots on the skin is melasma. It may sound like a dangerous disease but there is no cause for alarm because it is usually a condition that has no painful symptoms or is life-threatening. The term melasma can be loosely translated to mean a dark patch or a dark spot. The common question you may be asking yourself is what causes melasma and can it be treated?
Causes of melasma
It is a condition that usually presents with the appearance of black spots on the skin, flat patches on the skin, or freckles. It mostly affects the facial area because that is the part of the skin we expose most to the sun. It is a condition that affects women mostly but there are also cases where men experience this type of condition. It affects between 15% to 50% of pregnant women and it is sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy. It is estimated that between 1.3% to 33% of the population experience this condition.
The skin is the largest organ in your body and it can be segmented into three different layers. The outer layer is referred to as the epidermis, the middle region is referred to as the dermis and the innermost layer is referred to as subcutis. The subcutis form the larger part of the skin and it is composed of one-seventh of your body weight. All of these layers have a cell referred to as melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for storing dark pigment and this is what people refer to as melanin. Melanocytes produce more melanin in response to either ultraviolet heat, light, or hormonal stimulation. This is why pregnant women are more prone to melasma and most people experience it during summer. Pregnant women have abundant levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones and this is what causes the spike in melanin production and it usually fades after pregnancy.
Skincare routine for melasma
Skincare routine for melasma usually involves preventing and treating sun damage. The best way you can treat sun damage is to use sunscreen. You can try to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high content of SPF. You can try to look for products that have vitamin C because it is an antioxidant that will protect your skin against harsh environmental changes. There are other ingredients that you should look out for and these include tranexamic acid, kojic acid, phytic acid, azelaic acid, mandelic acid, and retinoids.
You can also complement your skincare routine by adding moisturizer. It is important to always keep your skin hydrated because it helps with skin cell regeneration. Having a healthy diet can also help to reduce dark spots especially for pregnant women. Try foods that are considered rich in vitamin D and these can include eggs, milk, almond milk, mushrooms, orange juice, yogurt, and oily fish. If symptoms persist do not be afraid to consult a dermatologist to get a professional and accurate diagnosis.