Why is Melasma More Common in Women?

Why is Melasma More Common in Women?

Sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy,” melasma in women is often caused by hormone changes, genetics, or sun exposure. While some cases resolve naturally, others will persist for years -- even a lifetime. If you’re tired of skin darkening and discoloration, getting treatment for your melasma can help you find a solution and brighten your complexion. 

At Skin Deep Laser MD, serving Fort Worth, Weatherford, Benbrook, Burleson, Mansfield, Granbury, and Arlington, Texas, Dr. Laura Riehm offers help for women suffering from melasma. We start with an official diagnosis and proceed to pinpoint the cause before recommending treatment options.  

Melasma 101

Your skin contains cells called melanocytes, which produce pigment (melanin). These cells can begin overproducing melanin, which leads to melasma, a skin condition that causes dark patches on the skin. This discoloration commonly occurs on the face, particularly the cheeks, forehead, and nose. 

The exact cause of this increase in melanin production is not known, but there seem to be multiple factors involved. People with darker skin are more likely to develop melasma because their cells are already producing melanin naturally. Sun exposure and hormone changes seem to “activate” melasma, but family history can put you at risk of developing this condition. 

Most cases of melasma involve women. This is likely due to the female body undergoing hormonal changes throughout life, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. If melasma occurs during pregnancy, it is called chloasma. 

Assessing your treatment options

Before receiving treatment, you might need to have your melasma professionally diagnosed. This can be done using a Wood’s lamp examination or a skin biopsy. Some cases clear up on their own and don’t require intervention.

Suppose you’ve recently become pregnant. In that case, Dr. Riehm may recommend waiting until hormones clear out of your system naturally to see if your melasma resolves itself without further intervention. 

If your melasma is caused by pregnancy, birth control changes, stress, or thyroid disease, postpone your treatment until these issues are resolved. Those with chronic melasma might benefit from laser treatments. 

At Skin Deep Laser MD, our team uses the PicoSure laser to reduce discoloration. This treatment targets the pigment in your skin using specific wavelengths of light. As your cells absorb this energy, the melanin within them is broken down and disposed of naturally. 

The results are immediate, but it can take a few follow-up sessions to see the full effect. To learn more about PicoSure and begin healing your melasma, call 817-263-7546 or book an appointment online

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