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Understanding the Difference between Melasma and Sun Damage

Posted By: Lic. Silvia Derasner | September 2nd, 2016 | Blog

Melasma vs. sun damagePigment cells, called melanocytes, dictate how dark or light our skin is. Normally, a person’s skin is fairly uniform in colour—humans don’t come in stripes, after all—but sometimes, spots of discolouration will occur. Freckles and age spots, for instance, are spots of concentrated pigment that most people are either born with or develop as they get older, and that are inherent to the body. Other types of discolouration, such as sun spots or melasma, can be more problematic for one’s appearance. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between melasma and sun damage, since addressing the root cause requires a different approach.
 

Sun Spots

 
One of the main distinguishing facets of sun spots is that they are an acute condition, meaning it has a relatively short duration. The pigment blotches are caused by melanocytes being extra sensitive to the sun and producing more melanin pigment in response to exposure. Consequently, sun spots will only appear if you get exposed to UV light. The discolouration will appear to be random in how it is distributed across your face, and the sun spots will often be patchy, scattered, or otherwise asymmetrical. Caused by solar exposure, sun spots can also be accompanied by other indicators of sun damage, like fine lines or thickening of the skin. Sun spots respond well to laser treatments.
 

Melasma

 
In contrast to sun spots, melasma is a chronic (long-term) condition that is connected to a hormone imbalance. This is why melasma is sometimes known as the mask of pregnancy since the hormone changes that pregnancy causes can lead to the condition. As the mask moniker partially implies, the pigment marks caused by melasma will be more symmetrical in appearance and, unlike sun spots, will not be randomly distributed. Most people with melasma will find the same areas of their face affected during each outbreak. The patches tend to appear on the forehead, cheeks, chin, or upper lip. Although melasma is not caused by sun exposure, sunlight is capable of aggravating the condition along with excess heat or humidity. The discolouration also affects deeper layers of the skin than sun spots, so conventional laser treatments will either be ineffective or potentially make the problem worse.
 

Whether Sun Spots or Melasma, Get Results from the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic

 
The Anti Aging Toronto Clinic boasts the best melasma treatment Toronto has to offer. Our approach makes use of low-energy, targeted fractional lasers to break up excess melanocytes without provoking extra pigment productions. This is just one reason why the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic prides itself on using the latest clinical methods to give clients the beauty they deserve. We support our clients being able to make the right, informed decisions about skin care and strive to always provide the best melasma and sun spot treatments in Toronto. Feel free to contact us by phone at 416.546.4664 or by e-mail at info@AntiAgingToronto.ca to ask any questions. Our skincare specialists can also offer you a tour of our Toronto facilities.

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