What is Melasma?
Melasma is a skin condition characterized by brown to gray-brown patches on the face. It typically shows up on the forehead, chin, nasal bridge, cheeks, and the area above the upper lip. This difficult skin problem results in black areas of skin that can linger for years. It affects women more than males.
Melasma is caused by an overabundance of pigment-producing cells in the skin. Melasma is frequently caused during pregnancy. Melasma may disappear after a woman has her kid or stops using birth control pills.
Melasma is classified into three categories based on the depth of the pigment. To measure the depth of the pigment, a wood lamp emitting black light is used.
- Epidermal Melasma: This form has a dark brown color or a well-defined border that appears clear under black light and responds well to therapy in most cases.
- Dermal melasma: Dermal melasma has a bluish or light brown color, a fuzzy border that doesn’t change under a black light, and it doesn’t respond to treatment.
- Mixed Melasma: The most prevalent of the three forms, with bluish and brown areas. Under blacklight, it usually has a heterogeneous pattern and a modest reaction to treatment.
Melasma has a complicated cause, however, it has been suggested that in those with certain genetic predispositions, it is a photoaging condition. The pigmentation is ultimately caused by melanocytes (pigment cells) producing too much melanin, which is then either taken up by keratinocytes (epidermal melanosis) or deposited in the dermis (dermal melanosis, melanophages).
People who tan easily or have naturally brown skin are more likely to get melasma. Fair-skinned people and persons with dark skin experience it less frequently.
Melasma has two basic Risk factors: hormones and radiation, including ultraviolet, visible, and infrared (heat) light.
- Have a blood relative who has melasma
- Having a family history
- Between 20 and 40 years old female
- Have skin of a medium or dark tone
- Tanning beds
- Thyroid condition Source
It often appears on the face and is symmetrical, with the same marks on both sides. Patches of discoloration brought on by melasma appear darker than the surrounding skin. Melasma can also appear on other parts of the body that are frequently exposed to sunlight.
Usually, brownish spots can be seen on the:
- Nose bridge
Although it is safe, one could become more self-conscious about its appearance.
To identify melasma, your dermatologist or other healthcare professionals will check your skin. They’ll observe variations in the hue of your skin using a Wood’s lamp (a black light). You should have your thyroid tested because there appears to be a link between thyroid problems and melasma.
To help reduce melasma, your dermatologist may recommend drugs or topical therapies. Topical retinoids and retinol treatments are two often used choices that are applied to the skin to hasten your body’s normal cell turnover process. Dark areas might disappear more quickly as a result than they would on their own.
Bleaching drugs like hydroquinone, which stops the synthesis of melanin, may be prescribed by some doctors.
Melasma that is caused by pregnancy or birth control pills may resolve on its own for some women. Certain creams or topical steroids may be prescribed by the dermatologist to lighten the skin.
Other therapies for melasma that are occasionally indicated include chemical peels, laser treatments, and skin micro-needling.
The topical skin whitening medications kojic acid and azelaic acid may also be suggested by your dermatologist. Source
There are natural treatments available if you don’t like chemicals. Here are a few common approaches:
- Aloe vera gel for face
- Licorice extract
- Black tea
- Orchid extracts
- DIY face mask
- Tomato paste
There are further things you may do on your own to boost skin healing and ward off further harm. Try these things in addition to limiting your exposure to the sun:
- Every night before bed, wash your skin using a cleanser that can effectively remove impurities and protect the skin.
- Vitamins C and E can help in the recovery of sun-related wounds. Therefore, use a few drops of serum containing these vitamins topically to enhance skin health and protect against the negative effects of sun exposure.
- Regularly moisturize your skin.
Want to know about other skin disorders? Check out Skin Problems on Health Views Online.