Signs and Symptoms
What are the symptoms of melasma vs hyperpigmentation? Both have similar symptoms. And the best way to look for signs and symptoms of melasma is physical examination. Melasma causes discolorations, usually darker than your skin color. It can be brownish or bluish patches or dots typically seen on your face.
The dark, brown, or bluish patches usually appear on:
- Bridge of nose
When discolorations appear, it is best to seek a doctor’s opinion as melasma can stay on your skin as short as weeks or months or in some cases, an extended period of time.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors, specifically dermatologists, can detect melasma through physical examination. But to see how deeply the melasma penetrated the skin, they often use a device called Woods Lamp. It emits a black light that uses long-wave ultraviolet light. This test is done to detect fungal scalp, a potential skin infection, or different forms of hyperpigmentation including epidermal or mixed melasma.
To examine the discoloration even further and rule out other skin conditions, your dermatologist may need to conduct a skin biopsy. They will remove a small bit of skin then they will test the sample for melasma.
But not everyone can afford or have time to visit a dermatologist. Luckily, some cases of melasma fade on their own. This often happens to pregnant women, whose melasma fades after giving birth. Women who stopped taking hormones or birth control pills, notice their melasma fades after.
However, there are other people who have melasma for years or even a lifetime. There are treatments available to manage melasma or even cure it for good:
- Hydroquinone: It is a common first treatment for melasma and is applied to the skin directly. Its function is to lighten the discolored patch of skin.
- Tretinoin and corticosteroids: Act as an enhancement to skin lightening. Often called a triple cream.
- Other topical medicines such as azelaic or kojic acid to help lighten melasma.
- Medical Procedures: If medicines and creams did not get rid of your skin condition, there are procedures you can undergo that might work. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion and laser treatment are some of the procedures dermatologists can perform as a treatment for melasma.
Melasma vs Hyperpigmentation: Key Takeaways
Melasma vs hyperpigmentation? Most blemishes and skin spots are hidden under heavy makeup, undiagnosed and untreated. Abrasions and discolorations are tended with self-prescribed creams and ointments that may help or could potentially cause more damage. Untreated skin conditions like this can get worse or it can be a dangerous disease disguised as an innocent brownish patch.
When you see some signs of abnormal discoloration on your face or body, seek medical help and stay away from its triggers. Melasma may be painless, usually treatable, and not relatively dangerous, but its mark can stay on you for a few months or even a lifetime.
Learn more about Skin Health here.