Why Am I Getting Brown Spots On My Face?

Are The Brown Spots on my face Melasma? What are symptoms and signs of melasma?

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Melasma is a very common patchy brown, blue-gray or tan facial skin discoloration, mainly seen in women in the reproductive years. It typically appears on the chin, upper cheeks, upper lip, and forehead of women between 20 and 50 years of age. Skin specialists suspect that they highly correlate to external sun exposure, external hormones like birth control pills, and internal hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy. Most people with brown spots have a history of daily or intermittent sun exposure, although heat is also a suspect for being an underlying factor. Melasma is most prevalent amongst pregnant women, especially those of Latin and Asian origin. Individuals who have darker or olive skin, such as Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern people, have higher occurrences of melasma. Prevention primarily focuses on facial sun protection and sun avoidance. This type of treatment requires regular sunscreen application, medications such as 4% hydroquinone and other fading creams.

What causes melasma?

Different factors that cause Brown Spots on your Face

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The exact cause of melasma remains unknown. Specialists believe that the dark patches in melasma could be as a result of several elements, including birth control pills, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy (HRT and progesterone), anti-seizure medications, race, and family history of melasma. Sunlight is considered the most crucial factor in the production of melasma, particularly among individuals with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Clinical findings have indicated that people usually develop melasma in the summer season when the sun is at its peak. During winter, the pigmentation in melasma tends to reduce.

Chloasma are Brown Spots as a Result of Pregnancy

The time brown spots start to form during pregnancy is also known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy. Pregnant women go through increased melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) estrogen and progesterone levels during the six to 9 months of pregnancy. Melanocytes are the cells within your skin that deposit pigment. However, we believe that pregnancy-related melasma is as a result of the presence of a rise in levels of progesterone and not because of MSH and estrogen. Research has shown that postmenopausal women who receive progesterone hormone replacement therapy are more likely to suffer from melasma. Postmenopausal women receiving estrogen alone seem less susceptible formation of brown spots.

Treatment Procedures and Products Can Lead to Melasma

Also, products or procedures that irritate your skin may lead to a rise in the production of melanin and spike melasma symptoms.

Genetics may Cause Brown Spots To Form on your Face

Individuals who have known family history of melasma or with a genetic predisposition are at more risk of developing the brown spots. Vital prevention methods for these individuals include staying under a shade and use of extra sunblock to avoid stimulating pigment production. Such people should visit a dermatologist and discuss discussing their issues with the doctor and staying away from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if possible.

Symptoms of melasma

How Do I Know That I Have Melasma?

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Melasma leads to patches of discoloration. The spots are darker than your normal skin color. It ordinarily forms on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other sections of your body that are often under sun exposure can also suffer from melasma. Brownish colored spots typically appear on the:

  • chin
  • cheeks
  • forehead
  • bridge of the nose

It can also form around the forearms and neck. The skin discoloration won’t lead to any physical danger, but you might feel self-conscious about the way it appears. If you start seeing these brown spots signs, you need to visit your healthcare specialists such as a dermatologist or a doctor who specializes in treating skin conditions.

Different Kinds of Melasma

These brown spots fall under any of the three categories below: 

  • The exterior layers of cells on the skin also known as Epidermal
  • Dermal. Brown spots forms in the section that lies between the epidermis and the subcutaneous layers of the skin
  • Mixed refers to the presence of Melasma in the epidermis as well as the dermis.

Who is likely to Suffer From Melasma?

Brown Spots on the Face in Both Male and Female 

Most of the instances of melasma appear in women, likely because hormones (especially progesterone) have much to do with the start of the condition. Women of childbearing years are most commonly affected, although men can (and do) develop the ailment. It often forms in pregnant women in their 6th to 9th month period, as well as females who are under hormone replacement therapy, swallowing oral contraceptives, and getting excessive sun exposure.People who are of Asian or Latin origin are the most likely to be affected, as are those with olive-colored skin such as Hispanics and those of Middle-Eastern origin. People with thyroid disease are also known to have higher cases of brown spots.

How is melasma diagnosed?

Diagnosis of The Brown Spots on My Face

Diagnosis of Melasma happens readily through recognizing the typical appearance of brown skin patches on the face. Dermatologists are often diagnosing melasma by visually inspecting the skin. A black light or Wood’s light (340-400 nm) can aid in diagnosing melasma, although it is not essential for diagnosis. In most instances, mixed melasma is diagnosed, which means the discoloration is due to the pigment in the epidermis and dermis. On rare occasion, a biopsy of your skin may be ideal for assisting in excluding other causes of this local skin hyperpigmentation.A visual exam of the affected region is often enough to diagnose the brown spots. To disqualify specific causes, your healthcare specialist might also carry out some trials. One treatment procedure is the Wood’s lamp examination. It is a unique kind of light that the doctor holds up next to your skin. It enables your dermatologist to check for fungal and bacterial infections and find out how many layers of skin the melasma affects. To confirm there are no severe skin conditions, they might also perform a biopsy. It includes removing a small piece of the affected skin for experimenting.

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Can I Treat The Brown Spots Around My Face?

Can Melasma Be Cured?

For some women, melasma disappears on its own. It typically occurs when pregnancy or birth control pills cause it. There are creams your dermatologist can recommend that can lighten your skin. They might also prescribe topical steroids to assist in brightening the affected parts. If these are not effective, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion are great potential alternatives. These procedures strip away the top layers of skin and may aid in lightening dark patches.These procedures don’t promise permanent disappearance of melasma, and other cases of melasma won’t brighten entirely. You might need to return for follow-up visits and stick to specific skin treatment procedures to minimize the risk of the melasma reoccurring. They include reducing your exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen every day.

How Can I prevent Brown Spots From Forming?

How To Prevent Melasma

The best way to prevent brown spots from forming is to reduce the time you expose your skin to the sun. For the times you’re basking under the sun, you can opt for these preventive steps:

  • Put on a hat that has a brim to shade and protect your face.
  • Use sunblock (for example zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) to vulnerable parts.
  • Use a sunscreen that offers protection against both ultraviolet A and B radiation. The sunscreen needs to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of a minimum of 30.

Coping and living with melasma

Even though not all instances of melasma will clear up with treatment, there are things you can do to make sure the condition doesn’t get worse and to minimize the appearance of the discoloration. These include:

  • Using makeup to cover parts of blemish
  • Utilizing prescribed medication
  • Putting on sunscreen every day with SPF of at least 30
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat that shields or provides shade for your face
  • Wearing protective clothing is especially important if you’ll be in the sun for an extended period.

If the brown spots on your skin bother you, consult a doctor, and you can also join local support groups. Interacting with other individuals with the condition or talking with someone can make you feel better.

How To Treat Brown Spots on Your Face

Five Ways You Can Treat The Brown Spots on Your Face

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The moment hormones stabilize, the brown spots of melasma usually begin to fade. Women who develop melasma as a result of pregnancy often see the spots fade months after giving birth. Women who are under hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives usually see the spots fade once they stop taking the medications. A few options that may aid in fading or treating Brown Spots:

Hydroquinone For Melasma

Hydroquinone is a cream that takes pigment out of the skin. It blocks the natural chemical process that leads to the creation of melanin, the substance that makes skin dark.

Tretinoin Is a Vitamin That Can Treat The Brown Spots

Tretinoin is a type of vitamin A that assist in increasing the rate at which dead skin cells fall off, and new ones appear. It makes the melasma blemish fade more quickly as the pigmented cells they are shed.

Azelaic acid To Slow Down Formation of Brown Spots on your Face

Azelaic acid cream seems to function by either slowing down or stopping the production of pigment, the substance that makes the skin darker.

Intense Pulsed Light therapy to treat the brown spots on your face

Intense Pulsed Light therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of light to target and removes pigmented parts of the skin.

Chemical peels as an Alternative Treatment in case other Solutions Don’t Fix Your Melasma Situation

Chemical peels are liquid solutions applied to the skin to provide a mild chemical burn, similar to sunburn. Over time, the burned layers peel off, leaving fresh, new skin. Chemical peels vary in strength. Glycolic acid is among the mildest and therefore has a lower risk of causing scarring or skin discoloration. Dermatologists will use chemical peels in case melasma does not respond to other procedures.

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