Our expert says:
Thank you for visiting health24.com.
Chloasma is a tan or dark facial skin discoloration. The symptoms of chloasma are dark, irregular patches commonly found on the upper cheek, nose, lips, upperlip, and forehead.
It is thought to be the stimulation of melanocytes or pigment-producing cells by the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone to produce more melanin pigments when the skin is exposed to sun. Genetic predisposition is also a major factor in determining whether someone will develop chloasma.
The incidence of chloasma also increases in patients with thyroid disease. It is thought that the overproduction of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) brought on by stress can cause outbreaks of this condition. Other rare causes of chloasma include allergic reaction to medications and cosmetics.
Chloasma can be treated as follows:
1. Azelaic acid (20%), thought to decrease the activity of melanocytes.
2. Facial peel with alpha hydroxyacids or chemical peels with glycolic acid.
3. Laser treatment. A Wood's lamp test should be used to determine whether the chloasma is epidermal or dermal. If the chloasma is dermal, laser (or Intense Pulse Light) will acually DARKEN and worsen the appearance of the spots. Dermal chloasma is generally unresponsive to most treaments, and has only been found to lighten with products containing mandelic acid.
In all of these treatments the effects are gradual and a strict avoidance of sunlight is required. The use of broad-spectrum sunscreens with physical blockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide is preferred over that with only chemical blockers. This is because UV-A, UV-B and visible lights are all capable of stimulating pigment production.
Cosmetic cover-ups can also be used to reduce the appearance of chloasma.
I recommend that you consult a Beauty therapist regarding the above treatments and the costs involved.
Dr Anrich Burger
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.