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Facteurs aggravants le mélasma.

What are the factors that exacerbate melasma?

Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation often observed in pregnant women (but not exclusively). If you are affected by this issue, discover here the actions to avoid in order not to exacerbate this skin condition.

Some reminders about melasma.

Also known as cholasma or "pregnancy mask", melasma is a symmetrical hyperpigmentation of the face, ranging from light brown to dark brown. It occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy in 45 to 75% of women. This appearance of spots is also visible in about a third of women taking oral contraceptives.

Depending on the location of the brown spots, there are 3 types of melasma:

  • The centrofacial melasma: The spots are clustered in the T-zone, upper lip, and chin area;

  • Themalar melasma(the most common): The spots are located only on the nose and cheeks;

  • The mandibular melasma: Aggregation of spots on the lower jaw.

Melasma can also be categorized according to the layer of skin affected:

  • Theepidermal melasmawhich is the most superficial form with hyperpigmentation of the epidermis;

  • The dermal melasma that affects the dermis, the intermediate layer of the skin that is vascularized and contains the essential proteins for firmness and elasticity (collagen, elastin);

  • The mixed melasma which is characterized by both an epidermal melasma and a dermal melasma.

It should be noted that women with darker skin are at a higher risk of developing melasma. Furthermore, men can also be affected if they are undergoing estrogen therapy as part of a treatment for prostate cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 10% of melasma cases affect men. This condition can also affect individuals undergoing hormone replacement therapy or those taking anti-epileptic medications.

Factors that can exacerbate melasma.

Several factors are likely to make melasma spots more visible and/or multiply them.

  • Thehormonal impregnation : melanocytes (cells that produce the melanin responsible for spots) are hyper-stimulable in pregnant women and in individuals on oral contraception. According to several studies, melasma would be due to theincrease in levels of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) as well as beta-endorphin. Indeed, these hormones are powerful stimulants of melanogenesis. Furthermore, women who develop hyperpigmentation following the use of contraceptive pills would be more predisposed to develop melasma during their potential future pregnancy.

  • Repeated solar exposures stimulate melanocytes and promote melasma. The best prevention remains sun protection. It is therefore advised to limit the times exposed to the sun, not to expose oneself during the most intense hours (between 11am and 3pm), wear clothing and hats for protection, and of course apply a sunscreendaily, even on cloudy days.

  • Overly aggressive facial cleansings, frequent exfoliations, or rubbing and scrubbing can also exacerbate melasma.

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