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What is Melasma and how does retinol, best known for its anti-aging benefits, play a role in its treatment?

Melasma is a common skin condition that occurs primarily in women. It appears as a skin discoloration of dark, irregular patches on the face of adults. Both sides of the face are usually affected, with the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip commonly involved. In most cases, patches develop slowly over time.  Melasma is a benign condition and causes no other known related health impacts, but the condition can have an emotion impact on those afflicted by it.

Although the exact cause of Melasma is unknown, it is believed that it may be triggered by hormonal changes involving estrogen and/or progesterone.  These changes in turn stimulate melanocytes (pigment producing cells).  Melasma is also known as "mask of pregnancy", presenting itself as a skin discoloration during pregnancy when a woman experiences increases in hormone levels.   Other causes of Melanoma are thought to be genetic disposition and exposure to the sun (generating free radicals and further stimulating melanocytes).

The treatment of Melasma generally involves the application of an [Link Removed]  topical exfoliants and a cell communicating agent like a retinoid. Cell communicating agents essentially tell the skin cells to function as they should and to engage in normal cell renewal. When it comes to Melasma, this is important because the presence of retinol encourages the development of healthy new skin cells, unaffected by pigmentation. Retinol also increases skin cell renewal so that healthy skin cells develop faster than they normally would. This two-fold action helps to remove pigmented skin cells from the surface, and helps other topical actives to penetrate more deeply.  

Think of retinol like a strict and loving parent with a child. Retinol gets skin cells to behave in the best possible way.  

To learn more about Melasma, [Link Removed] .

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed]
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