Melasma is a common skin disorder that causes brown to gray-brown patches and pigmentation on the face. It can also affect the back, arms, neck and other parts of the body which gets a lot of sun exposure. Most people get it on their cheeks, upper lip, forehead,  bridge of their nose, chin, etc. It is important to not confuse Melasma with Hyperpigmentation.

Who Gets Melasma?

Melasma is more common in women than in Men, in dark skinned patients and can happen to anyone between the age of 20-40 years.

What Triggers Melasma?

The pigmentation is caused due to overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells triggered by causes like:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Severe temperature changes along with Sun exposure
  • Hereditary
  • Pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Oral contraceptive pills

 

How To Diagnose And Treat Melasma?

Diagnosis of Melasma is simple and mostly clinical. However, the treatment differs based on different causes and type of Melasma. Epidermal melasma responds faster than dermal melasma. The depth of melasma can be better understood using Wood’s Lamp. In some cases, your dermatologist may remove a part of your skin to run a biopsy.

Depending on the exact cause, the best treatment for Melasma include:

  • A chemical peel,
  • microdermabrasion, or
  • laser toning

While these treatments are known to be most successful, it is strongly advised that they are performed by a dermatologist and after a consultation only.

The objective of the Melasma treatment on face is to reduce and ultimately stop melanocytes from producing any new pigments. Azelaic acid and Kojic acid are  commonly recommended  Melasma treatment by dermatologists in India.

Devices Used By Dermatologists:

Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers are most commonly used by the dermatologists. Laser Toning is a commonly performed treatment in melasma which uses very low fluence to disrupt and destroy the melanocytes. This procedure is safe and effective in treatment of melasma.

Precautions:

  • If you are taking any medication causing hormonal upheavals, discontinue them.
  • Make sure you protect your face from the sun, don’t forget to wear a hat.
  • No matter what the weather, wear sunscreen with a broad spectrum of at least SPF 30 or more.
  • Do not use harsh cleansers for face
  • Avoid the skin products that can irritate the skin further
  • Take good care of your skin on a regular basis
  • Avoid preparations containing steroids and hydroquinone for a long period of time as they can cause side effects.

Post-treatment care: Consult your doctor if you face skin irritation, darkening of the skin or any other complications.

When can you see the results of Melasma treatment?

It takes several months to see substantial improvement post the treatment. It is very important to follow the guidelines of your dermatologist to reduce the recurrence of Melasma.

Consult Dr Divya Sharma to understand how your Melasma can be treated today.

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Frequently asked questions

We now have an FAQ list that we hope will help you answer some of the more common ones.

1. What is the Cause of Melasma?

  • Sunlight or UV Radiation – UV radiation can trigger or exacerbate melasma by increasing stem cell factor which increase proliferation of melanocytes.
  • Family History – It is an important risk factor for developing melasma with as high as 55 -64% of patients having a positive family history.
  • Horomonal Influence – They play a significant role in the pathogenesis of melasma as seen by the increased prevalence with pregnancy, oral contraceptive use and other hormonal therapies

2. What are the Types of Melasma?

There are Three Variants of Melasma

  • Epidermal – There is increased melanin or pigment in all the layers of epidermis. Melanocytes are enlarged and have more melanosomes.
  • Dermal – There are melanophages in superficial and deep dermis.
  • Mixed – Combined features of epidermal and dermal melasma.

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