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Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition causes dark, discolored patches on your skin.
It's also called chloasma, or the "mask of pregnancy," when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of people who develop melasma are women.
For some women, melasma disappears on its own. This typically occurs when it’s caused by pregnancy or birth control pills.
There are creams your healthcare professional can prescribe that can lighten the skin. They might also prescribe topical steroids to help lighten the affected areas. If these don’t work, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion are possible options. These treatments strip away the top layers of skin and may help lighten dark patches.
These procedures don’t guarantee that melasma won’t come back, and some cases of melasma can’t be completely lightened. You might have to return for follow-up visits and stick to certain skin treatment practices to reduce the risk of the melasma returning. These include minimizing your sun exposure and wearing sunscreen daily.
Freckles are small brown spots on your skin, often in areas that get sun exposure. In most cases, freckles are harmless. They form as a result of overproduction of melanin, which is responsible for skin and hair color (pigmentation). Overall, freckles come from ultraviolet (UV) radiation stimulation.
There are two categories of freckles: ephelides and solar lentigines. Ephelides are the common type most people think of as freckles. Solar lentigines are dark patches of skin that develop during adulthood. This includes freckles, aging spots, and sunspots. The two types of freckles can look similar but differ in other ways such as their development.
For people who want to avoid freckles, prevention is key. It’s also possible to prevent freckles while speeding up their disappearance. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on your skin. Wait 15 minutes before heading outdoors for full protection. Do this every day, even in the winter, to prevent further pigmentation.
One study reported good results for lightening freckles and skin pigmentation with products such as:
You can purchase acid and chemical peels online. The study above reports Jessner Solution as a potential treatment for freckles. Always patch-test to avoid skin irritation, if you are using a facial peel at home. Wash off the peel immediately if your skin starts to burn and do not leave on for longer than instructed.
Wrinkles are the lines and creases that form in your skin. Some wrinkles can become deep crevices or furrows and may be especially noticeable around your eyes, mouth and neck.
Wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors — some you can control, others you can't:
Acne can be found almost anywhere on your body. It most commonly develops on your face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders.
Each pore on your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft.
Acne can be caused by one or more problems in this lubrication process. It can occur when:
It’s difficult to prevent acne. But you can take some steps at home to help prevent acne after treatment. These steps include:
Notice that your skin emits a little extra shine? Fact is, everyone has oil in their skin. Under each of your pores is a sebaceous gland that produces natural oils called sebum. This helps keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
In some people, though, the sebaceous glands can produce too much oil. This creates oily skin.
You know you have oily skin if your skin constantly looks shiny, and you go through several blotting sheets a day. Oily skin can even feel greasy within hours of cleansing.
Breakouts are also more likely because the sebum mixes with dead skin cells and gets stuck in your pores.
The causes of oily skin include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. While you can’t necessarily get rid of oily skin, you can take steps to make your skin less oily. The key is to identify one or more of these seven underlying causes.
From freckles and age spots to scarring, many things can make your complexion look uneven. While harmless, uneven skin may prompt some people into trying various skin lightening products
While there are many skin lightening products and solutions on the market, they aren’t all created equal, and some could even be dangerous. Knowing what to look for can help you choose a safe option if you find yourself wanting a more even complexion.
Hyperpigmentation, or "dark spots," can be caused by acne scars, excessive sun exposure, or hormonal changes, according to David E. Bank, MD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "There are a variety of creams and serums that patients can use to help lighten, brighten, and diminish dark areas over time," he says.