Melasma vs. Hyperpigmentation
Is it necessary to compare these two terms or are they simply the same?
Hyperpigmentation is a general term used for a number of skin conditions wherein a spot or patch of skin is darker than the surrounding skin in that specific area. This is a term used for other skin conditions such as sunspots or freckles, liver spots, and even melasma. Therefore melasma is classified as a type of hyperpigmentation.
Even so, it is different from other forms of hyperpigmentation, mainly because of its cause. In the discussion about melasma vs hyperpigmentation, melasma is not just sun-related, but is caused by hormonal changes within the body. Though not dangerous or itchy, the location of melasma patches can affect one’s confidence or cause discomfort in public.
Types of Melasma
There are several types of melasma based on the depth of the pigment:
There is an increased pigment on the top layers of the skin (epidermis). This type is brownish in color and has a distinct borderline. It also shows clearly under a black light and usually has a positive reaction to treatments.
With this type, there is an increased pigment on the deeper layers of the skin (dermis). It can be light brown or bluish-gray in color and has no distinct borderline. In addition, it does not clearly show under a black light nor does it manifest a positive reaction to treatment.
This is the most common type of melasma. It has a combination of brown and blue colors, and shows mixed patterns under the black light. It will have a positive reaction to treatments and shows notable improvement.