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What type of hormone imbalances can cause skin discoloration?

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Quick Answer

Hormone changes are a factor in developing malasma, according to MedicineNet. Melasma typically appears on the face, and it often occurs in women exposed to external hormones, such as those contained in birth control pills, and to internal hormone changes caused by pregnancy. Although the exact cause of melasma is not known, the fact that melasma is so common among pregnant women and occurs frequently in postmenopausal women taking external progesterone suggests that progesterone plays a role.

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Full Answer

Melasma is characterized by skin discoloration, and it can appear as tan, brown or blue-gray patches, explain MedicineNet. Common locations for melasma include the chin, upper lip, upper cheek and forehead. It's most prevalent among women between 20 and 50 years old, although it can also occur in men. People with darker and olive skin tones, such as Middle-Eastern, Hispanic and Asian individuals, are at a higher risk of melasma, and it more often occurs in pregnant women of Latin or Asian descent.

Sun exposure plays a role in melasma, reports MedicineNet, and most people with melasma have a history of daily or intermittent sun exposure. Treatment typically involves limiting exposure to the sun, and regularly applying sunscreen to the face when exposed to sunlight can help as well. Another potential treatment is 4 percent hydroquinone cream.

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