By Dr Syeda Khan.M.D (Internal Medicine - Montefiore Medical Center, New York ) MBBS (Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad) Aesthetics Training - IAAPAM, Canada & Diploma in Aesthetics - Delhi
Melasma is a very common skin problem. It causes discoloration of the skin. Skin becomes brown to greyish brown in colour. These patches are darker than your skin. It mostly occurs on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin, forehead, and the upper lip area. Other areas like the neck or the forearm, which are is exposed to the sun may also develop these dark patches. It usually appears on the face and is proportioned, with similar looking marks on both sides. This is not a painful condition, but the skin discolouration makes the person very self-conscious. If you feel you have developed this condition, then it is imperative that you consult a good dermatologist who specializes in this line of treatment.
The brownish looking patches occur on the:
Why Melasma occurs is not very clear. But a lot of factors could be responsible for this condition. Dark skinned people are at a greater risk than people with skin. Women are far more susceptible than men to get melasma. People who are sensitive to Estrogen and progesterone may be at a risk. So, birth control pills, hormone therapy or pregnancy could trigger this skin condition. Sometimes thyroid disease and stress can also be the reason for melasma.
Exposure to the sun may also be a cause for developing melasma .The ultraviolet rays of the sun affect the cells which controls pigment (melanocytes).
At Allure, our doctors first examine the skin and the affected area and diagnose for best melasma treatment. Melasma is mainly treated with peels, lasers and melasma creams. The world renowned peels from the US-Obagi and Zo Obagi, with or without hydroquinone are used. These creams are used by all top ranking plastic neurosurgeons in the US. These are especially used to exfoliate and shed the dead skin in pigmentary issues.
A simple technique is used for melasma treatment which involves the application of peels under the guidance of a skin expert to improve the appearance of the skin by removing the outer layer and allowing new skin to appear in affected parts. A solution is applied to these parts or some specific areas that helps the skin to exfoliate and ultimately peel off. The new skin that comes is healthier, smoother and blemish free.
There is a technique called the Wood’s lamp examination to diagnose Melasma .A special kind of light is held up to your skin, this allows the doctor to check for Melasma and determine how many layers are affected.
All these treatments and procedures do not guarantee that the melasma won't come back. Sometimes they might not be able to lighten it completely. The after care is one of the most important part of the treatment. This will ensure that your melisma doesn’t reoccur.
Sun protection is absolutely paramount as melasma cure to ensure that the treatment is effective. Using a sunscreen every day and re doing the application every 2 hours is very necessary. Wearing a hat may also provide you with the required protection when you are outside. Avoid being in direct sunlight during peak hrs (10 am -4pm).
This is a tool used to analyse various skin conditions. Ultraviolet is used to carefully look at the skin. In This procedure the light is held around 4 to 5 inches away from the affected area, this helps to show any skin colour changes. These changes are then interpreted and the diagnosis is confirmed.
These creams contain about 2% hydroquinone, which is a bleaching agent. These creams are quite mild and are tolerable by most skins. This may slowly help lighten Melasma over span of a few a months.
Some cases might not be that easily treatable with these creams. These may need prescription strength creams containing at least 4% – 6% hydroquinone. These would be more effective but could have side effects like drying, peeling and redness of the skin.
Daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30 or more is recommended for people suffering from melasma. The ingredients should contain physical blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help filter out UV-A and UV-B rays.
When the melisma is caused by hormonal imbalance like pregnancy or birth control pills, it sometimes disappears on its own for some women
This is a very common complaint amongst patients. If the problem has resurfaced, then probably you are not protecting your skin well from sun exposure. It is mandatory to wear clothes that cover well and apply sunscreen that has been recommended by the dermatologist.
Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person depending on medical history, age, gender and lifestyle.The client needs to follow the program as prescribed by Allure Aesthetics Experts