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About The Treatment

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Melasma Treatment

Melasma is a pigmentary issue of the skin which shows up as dark coloured patches on the skin of adults. Both sides of the face, mainly the cheeks, the scaffold of nose, brow, and upper lip, are included. This condition is ubiquitous, especially among those with darker complexion.

What Causes Melasma?

The dark coloured patches are because of overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells, melanocytes. There is a hereditary inclination to melasma as well. In the vast majority, melasma is a never-ending issue. Research is going on to pinpoint the roles of stem cells, neural, vascular and local hormonal factors in triggering melasma.

Known triggers for melasma include:

  • Sun Exposure This is the most common risk factor which can be avoided.
  • Pregnancy In affected women, the pigmentation fades after childbirth.
  • Hormone Medicines Oral contraceptive pills containing estrogen as well as progesterone, hormone substitution, intrauterine devices and implants considerable factors.
  • Hypothyroidism Low levels of thyroid hormone in the blood is yet another reason.
  • Other Factors Certain medications for treatments, scented or antiperspirant deodorants, toiletries and beauty care products may cause a phototoxic response that triggers melasma.

What are the Symptoms of Melasma?

Sporadic, patchy zones of dark shading often show up on the skin, especially on both the sides of the face. The pigmentation frequently happens on the forehead, cheeks, brow, upper lip, and nose. In some cases, only one side of the face is affected. Sometimes, melasma shows up on the lower arms. The patches don't tingle or hurt. Any treatment pursued to treat melasma is of cosmetic nature.

How is the Diagnosis Made?

  • Regular Examination Usually, a dermatologist examines the skin by examining the signs of melasma. The examination is done in a few minutes and the patient doesn’t feel any side-effects.
  • Wood Light Examination A wood light examination is conducted when certain skin infections and allergies are suspected. The skin is enlightened with a bright light in a dim room. The bright light makes a few parasites or microorganisms shine brilliantly. The light likewise highlights the skin's shade (melanin), making pigmentation irregularities, for example, vitiligo, more noticeable.

How is Melasma Treated?

The treatment of Melasma is noninvasive and easy. Surgical intervention is not chosen as it is treatable with some medicated creams and peels.

  • Depigmentation Creams They can be purchased over the counter or with a doctor’s prescription. Hydroquinone is one of the most popular creams which reduces the dark patches. It is often combined with other active chemicals such as glycolic acid and tretinoin to increase the effects.
  • Microdermabrasion The doctor uses a vacuum suction along with an erosive material to peel off the top layer of your skin.
  • Chemical Peels In this treatment, a light glycolic peel is used to treat the dark patches. It's better to consult a dermatologist before using any form of treatment.
  • Kojic Acid Generally used in concentrations between 1-2.5%, kojic acid works differently than hydroquinone acid and is equally effective.
  • Azelaic acid (15-20%) This is a non-hydroquinone cream that is proven to be safe and effective in treating melasma; however, it can cause some side effects like redness, itching, and a burning sensation. These effects are temporary, so there is no need to worry.

Although not proven, the role of topical agents such as liquorice extract, resveratrol, zinc sulfate mequinol, arbutin and deoxyarbutin (extracted from berries) is being researched about.

Outlook

The outlook of the treatment is often positive. Most people succeed in reducing the dark patches using prescription creams and peels. It must be remembered that melasma tends to return if the precautions aren’t taken. Applying sunscreen, using an umbrella and wearing sunglasses are the basic precautionary measures. Also, drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.

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Hospitals

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Dr. Sumit SinghDirector

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