What is the difference between melasma and freckles?
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Skin pigmentation is something most women can’t avoid. Some people are born with dark spots on their skin, like moles, freckles and other pigmentation. Surprisingly, spots we used to know don’t bother us but if we see a new one we tend to freak out. It is not secret sunlight causes more types of hyperpigmentation. Although the fashion industry tries to sympathize to the freckles we still can’t say the same for melasma. However, freckles and melasma are different types of skin hyperpigmentation so skin treatments for them are different.

Freckles: A miracle or a curse?

Probably, you know what freckles are but we will explain them in details. First, their size is miniature. Freckles don’t have sharp borders and most of them are pale. When we are lying on the beach getting 100% natural tan, our skin overproduces melanin. If you are lucky enough and have MC1R gene, then you get freckles also with the perfect tanning. Most people with this gene have pale skin and red or blond hair. The good news is that freckles vanish when the winter comes. If you are looking for a freckle on your body you should start from your cheeks, shoulders and forehead. Freckles usually appear in the upper part of the body. What you have to remember about freckles is that they are not a natural variation of the skin and they might vanish by themselves or thanks to a pigmentation treatment. Every experienced dermatologist or specialist knows how to treat freckles. However, not all of them vanish easily so patience is needed.

What is melasma?

First, we have to mention that melasma is more often seen in women than in men. The main reason for melasma is not UV lighting but hormonal changes. As you may know, women are predisposed to more hormonal changes than men. Most women learn how melasma looks like when they are pregnant and soon after that the pigmentation disappear. However, if it doesn’t vanish, then it is a type of pigmentation that is hard to remove. If we compare melasma with freckles, melasma is harder for treatment.

It appears like mask-like patches and it has sharp edges. Usually, melasma appears at upper lip, cheeks or forehead. The colour of melasma is more brown than pale so it is more noticeable than freckles. Some women get this type pigmentation from UV lights because their skin is predisposed genetically. Another reason might be the race or the colour of the skin. People with olive colour tend to have more often melasma than other skin types.

beautiful lady with lots of freckles

What is the most suitable treatment for melasma and freckles?

The most important thing you should have if you want to protect your skin from freckles and melasma is sunscreen. Don’t think that once applied the sunscreen will protect you the whole day – usually is just a few hours. Reapply as often as the information on the back of the cream says. Protecting your skin from UV light will not make your old freckles to vanish but it will protect you from new ones.

Dermatologists usually recommend topic creams as melasma’s treatment. Some of them prescribe a mild-inflammatory agent together with the topic cream. Most experienced dermatologists use hydroquinone to get the best results but this treatment is more specific and should be provided only under a specialist’s supervision. If a patient has more melasma pigmentation than expected then a combination of a few methods may be the right choice.

An additional treatment that might help the skin to heal is a chemical peel. Unfortunately, a chemical peel is also a bit too dangerous so it should be provided by a highly experienced dermatologist. Another treatment that has significant effectiveness is microdermabrasion. Thanks to light abrade motions and vacuum suction the skin becomes a melasma free. In some rare cases, when there is no better treatment, a dermatologist might recommend laser treatment.

However, no matter what you know, you don’t have to try all these treatments at home. Choose good dermatologist and ask for a prescription. He will explain to you why a certain treatment is just for you or it is not. Have in mind that one treatment might feel right on your friend’s skin but this doesn’t mean that it will be OK for your skin. Listen to your dermatologist and follow his recommendations.