What is Melasma?
Melasma is a skin disease that is related to exposure to sun. It is more common in women compared to men and is more prevalent among pregnant women. Women who live in tropical climates are more prone to the skin disease. Pregnant women in Asian countries, Hispanic and those living in Middle=East are more likely to contract this skin disorder. Close to 50 million women have melasma of which 6 million women are from US alone.
Melasma symptoms are in the form of dark brown or tanned patches, irregularly shaped form of the cheeks, nose sides, forehead, around the lip area etc. When pregnant women get melasma, it is called cholasma or ‘the mask of pregancy’. There is no other symptom other than the cosmetic damage to the area of the skin.
The causes of melasma are as follows
1. Exposure to sun. It is seen that Melasma cases are stronger in summer when the sun’s strength is the highest while the incidence is low during the winters or cool weather.
2. Melasma has a strong link with female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. It is common among pregnant women, those on hormone replacement therapy and those who take oral and patch contraceptives.
3. Genetic predisposition is also a cause
4. Pregnant women who have deficiency of folic acid can also fall prey to the skin disorder.
5. Using cosmetics that are scented, deos and perfumes can also be the cause of melasma
6. Stress can also worsen and intensify the color of the patch
1. The dermatologist may recommend you to take hydroquinone because it is a very good depigmentation agent and prevents the production of melanin, and makes the skin lighter.
2. You may have to limit your exposure to the sun and in case, you are going out, you have to take sunscreen with higher SPF and titanium oxide.
3. Retin A cream may be applied to the patch area before going to sleep. You may be also advised to take antioxidants like Pycnogenol tablets 25 mg, three times a day.
4. Moisturing lotions can also improve the skin tone.
5. Facial peel with alpha hydroxyacids or chemical peels with glycolic acid are recommended.
6. Laser treatment can effectively treat discoloration and make the affected area lighter. Fractional laser has provided very good results in fighting pigmentation. One of the most effective treatment for melasma in terms of laser is pixel laser which reaches the dermis and epidermis, promoting growth of health, fresh tissue, while getting rid of the dark, tanned one.
Check out the pictures of Melasma to see how pigmentation affects the skin