Do you have uneven, blotchy skin and/or patches of discolouration on your face? How can you tell the difference between Melasma vs. hyperpigmentation? Although both skin conditions may have similar appearances, behaviors, and causes, they are two very separate conditions. Understanding the difference can help you choose an effective treatment option and successfully prevent outbreaks.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation refers to skin conditions wherein a patch of skin appears darker than the localized area. This occurs when the skin cells known as melanocytes produce excess amounts of pigment, or melanin. Conditions include freckles, liver spots, and Melasma.
What Is Melasma?
While Melasma can be grouped under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation, it is, in its own right, a specific condition. It does produce dark patches of the skin but is directly related to hormone changes. Melasma is a common skin condition among pregnant women, which is why it’s commonly referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”. The mask term refers to the common facial areas Melasma affects.
Differences Between Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
|Symptoms||Blotchy, dark patches||Freckles, sunspots, dark patches, pimples|
|Behaviour||Facial symmetrically, worse each summer and improves each winter||Slowly progresses with additional sun exposure|
|Location||Chin, cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, forearms, neck||Face, torso, extremities|
What Causes Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
Melasma is primarily caused by hormone changes within men and women, particularly pregnant women. In fact, of all the people suffering from Melasma, 1 in 9 are women. The hormone estrogen targets the melanocyte cells to produce excess pigmentation. Other causes include sun exposure, extreme heat, medications, inflammatory conditions, and genetics.
Sun exposure and the effects of inflammatory conditions is why Melasma is considered a form of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is associated with acne, skin cell damage, and sun-sensitive medication. Hormonal changes seen with pregnancy and use of oral contraceptives also contribute to cases.
How Can I Prevent Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
With Melasma, the key to prevention is to use sunscreen protection, outdoors and indoors. The pigmented changes can occur by exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can be found with use of blue light mechanics such as computers.
To prevent hyperpigmentation, it’s also recommended that you regularly use sunscreen and remain out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Since hyperpigmentation is not just a seasonal condition, preventative measures should be taken year-round.
Can Melasma Be Treated the Same as Other Forms of Hyperpigmentation?
Both Melasma and hyperpigmentation have been successfully treated with use of topical lotions, chemical peels, and laser therapy. Melasma can be more difficult to treat due to the fact that it’s hormone related. As with any skin condition treatment, results will vary from person to person. Less severe cases of Melasma might not need to be treated as the condition can dissipate on its own over time.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
With both skin conditions, results are based on each individual case, especially Melasma conditions brought on by hormones. Treatment with laser and chemical peels have been proven to have quicker results. Often times, a patient may see the need for only a few therapy sessions.
Contact Heart Lake Aesthetics for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation Treatment
The renowned skincare specialists at Heart Lake Aesthetics use advanced technology such as Laser Spectra Peel and laser toning therapy to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and Melasma. As a full-service medispa located in Brampton, we provide high-quality medical aesthetic services and provide skincare for all skin types safely and effectively.
Contact our licensed, knowledgeable, and friendly staff to book an appointment at our top-of-the-line medical clinic today and regain your confidence and glowing complexion.