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Health Tip: Managing Melasma

Creams can fade brown blotches

(HealthDayNews) -- Melasma, a skin condition that affects mostly women, appears as brown patches on the face, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The precise cause of melasma is unknown, but it's believed to be related to a change in hormonal status, such as a pregnancy.

Birth control pills also can trigger melasma, as can excessive sun exposure. While there is no cure, melasma can be prevented or treated.

Sunscreens with a SPF 30 or higher should be used daily -- and they should be broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. Any facial cleansers, creams or makeup that irritates the skin should be stopped, as this may worsen the condition.

Melasma can be treated with bleaching creams. These creams -- both over-the-counter and prescription varieties -- contain hydroquinone, the most often used depigmenting agent. Substantial results normally take about three months.

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