Disparities in the Treatment and Management of Melasma on Darker Skin

By Tamara Thomas - April 27, 2023

Melasma can affect people of all skin types; however, people with darker skin have a significantly higher risk of developing this condition.

Melasma is a skin discoloration that occurs because of overactive melanocytes (cells that produce skin pigmentation). Since people with darker skin have more of these cells, they are more likely to experience the condition. 

In people with darker skin, melasma can appear as brown, gray, or blue patches or dots. Sometimes, they may also appear brown due to the presence of blood vessels. 

Researchers have discovered that certain groups, such as adults in their 20s and 30s, females, and pregnant women, are more likely to develop this condition. Other risk factors identified to increase the risk of melasma include genetics, certain cosmetics or skin-care products, and the use of medications like antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, anti-diabetics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), among others. 

Melasma is more challenging to treat in people with darker skin. This is because people with more pigment in their skin often require stronger topical therapies, and it may take a longer time to see noticeable improvements. Therefore, healthcare providers should consider these considerations when treating and managing melasma in people with darker skin. 

Unfortunately, research has found racial disparities in the treatment and management of the condition. Some reasons for this disparity include the underrepresentation of people of color in medical fields, insufficient representation of people with darker skin in clinical trials and medical research, and inadequate training in dermatological diseases common in people with darker skin. 

Although melasma is a chronic condition, there are treatments available. Seeking treatment from a dermatologist can help improve your confidence and self-esteem. Experts also advise getting your skin examined by a doctor if you notice any changes to rule out serious conditions like cancer or lupus. 

Source: Verywell Health

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