7 Surprising facts about Melasma
Heat, stress, poor blood flow and a lack of sleep are all factors that worse your hyper pigmentation, but there are also a few surprises when it comes to melasma specifically. Here’s what you need to know.
Any hormonal supplements may affect melasma
Just like the contraceptive pill, any supplement or medication that directly or indirectly impacts hormones and hormone levels may worsen hyper pigmentation.
Genetics play an important role
It seems that most melasma sufferers are genetically predisposed to the condition. Studies in America have shown that with up to 70% of melasma sufferers there is a historic familial link. A similar study found the same in 55% of pregnant Iranian women with melasma. So, it seems that if a parent or grandparent suffered from melasma, you’re likely to present with it, too.
Men are affected, too
Considering most people traditionally associated melasma with pregnancy, we overlook how many men also suffer from the condition. Many American studies have focused only on men, also finding that melasma is hereditary in males.
It’s very common in olive skin
Melasma often presents in Fitzpatrick skin types III to IV. It seems to be especially common in light brown and olive skin – renowned for their robustness and resilience to UV damage. Studies have shown that melasma can be quite prominent among people with skin types we generally associate with the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Hispanic America.
It may be linked to your thyroid
Studies have shown that melasma could be indicative of a thyroid problem. Many melasma sufferers also present with a thyroid autoimmunity, so it’s important to see a doctor early – treating the thyroid just might go a long way toward remedying the hyper pigmentation.
A zinc deficiency can make it worse
Melasma is often triggered by an abundance of oestrogen. And excess oestrogen can lead to a deficiency in zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. It’s a vicious cycle though: these deficiencies may, in turn, exasperate the production of oestrogen. Thus, many melasma treatments include a zinc supplement – even topical – to break the cycle.
Don’t underestimate the value of sun protection
As we’ve mentioned earlier, sun protection is a key factor in all types of hyper pigmentation. The sun may not be the root cause with melasma, but UV exposure will make it worse.
And, more often than not, sunscreen just isn’t enough. You need to actually wear a hat and cover up as much as possible.
It’s not just about actively going into the sun, like going to the beach or swimming. It’s about taking every precaution, every day. In a car, the sun reaches your skin through the windows – it’s even reflected off mirrors and other cars. And, if you sit near a window at the office, it reaches you through the glass.
Basically, if you can see sunlight, it’s already reaching your skin, so be properly prepared.
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