Mask of Pregnancy | Chloasma
Chloasma is a common skin condition that occur during hormonal changes in pregnancy or during use of oral contraceptive pill. The condition causes tan to gray-brown patches on the face and develops mainly on the face. It affects women of all ethnic groups, but particularly those with Fitzpatrick skin types III–VI . It is also known as melasma, chloasma or mask of pregnancy.
Chloasma usually forms on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip, and occasionally on the forearms and neck. It may develop during or after pregnancy, while taking birth control pills or during menopause. However, at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin we see chloasma appearing for no obvious reason.
Who gets chloasma?
It is more common in people that tan well or have naturally dark skin compared with those who have fair skin, particularly if they live in a sunny area. It is often seen in Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Appearance of Chloasma
Tan or brown spots are seen mainly on the cheeks, jaw, forehead, nose, chin, and above the upper lip.
Dr Kahlout (medical director of Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin) explains that chloasma is sometimes separated into epidermal (skin surface), dermal (deeper) and mixed types. The dermal and mixed types are significantly more difficult to treat than the superficial form of pregnancy masks. The type of chloasma can be diagnosed clinically with the help of a Wood’s Lamp or a skin biopsy may be necessary to determine the depth of the disorder.
Type of Chloasma
• Well-defined border
• Dark brown colour
• Appears more obvious under Wood’s Lamp
• Responds well to treatment
• Ill-defined border
• Light brown or brown-gray colour
• Unchanged under Wood’s Lamp
• Responds poorly to treatment
• Combination of light and brown patches
• Partial improvement with treatment
Treatments for Mask of Pregnancy
Sometimes the mask of pregnancy fades on its own after a pregnancy or when a woman stops taking birth control pills. If the chloasma does not gradually fade or a woman wants to continue taking birth control pills, chloasma can be treated.
Treating chloasma often requires a comprehensive approach:
• Avoiding the sun and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen are key to preventing resistance chloasma. This is essential because even when it is cloudy outside, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the skin. Sunscreen also must be worn when most of the day will be spent indoors because even a brief walk, driving, or sitting next to a window can expose unprotected skin to enough sunlight to trigger darkening of the mask of pregnancy. Continuing to wear sunscreen every day after the mask of pregnancy has cleard can prevent it from returning.
Without the strict avoidance of sunlight, successful treatments for chloasma are doomed to failure.
• Topical medications containing hydroquinone, a commonly used skin-lightening agent. Prescription fading creams contain 4% hydroquinone, sometimes in combination with sunscreen, retinoids and glycolic acid.
• Creams containing tretinoin, kojic acid, and azelaic acid, singularly or in combination, have been shown to improve the appearance of chloasma.
• At Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic we careful tailor the treatments to the patient’s skin type, which both improves the outcome and helps avoid complications.
• Similar therapies are used clinically to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. For all therapies sunscreen use and UV avoidance is important.
Treatment cost depends on the level of intervention needed. To assess your individual needs, thorough skin analysis is performed utilizing ultraviolet imagery. The result of your skin analysis at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin will guide us as to the best option of treatment.
Topical Medication €170
Chemical Peels €450
Fractrional CO2 Laser Resurfacing €1250
Broad Band Laser €250