Melasma is a condition which can cause brown patches to appear on the face. If you’re living in the Western world or elsewhere – the condition is caused by a variety of factors and not just related to pregnancy, when it is called chloasma.
Melasma occurs due to the overstimulation of the Melanin producing cells, known as melanocytes. This causes excess pigments to leech into neighboring skin cells, resulting in dark brown patches. However, this stimulation can be caused by many factors such as exposure to sun, medication, hormone change, Hypothyroidism and even contraceptive pills.
Typical Melasma pattern is visible across the forehead, cheeks and upper lip but it can also appear as single spots or patches (possibly in a butterfly pattern). The condition often manifests itself during pregnancy and with HRT treatment or oral contraception.
The blunt facts are that Melasma can be difficult to treat if the underlying cause cannot be established. However, aesthetic specialists can treat this condition with varying degrees of success. Clinics may recommend using a depigmentation peel or resurfacing process to help break up the overall appearance of the condition.
By managing the treatment correctly through various treatments such as chemical peels or the more complicated Melasma patterning, aesthetic practitioners can lighten or break up significant deposits of the pigmentation with the use of Hydroquinone cream which helps the fading process. More complex combinations of treatments can involve using regular light therapy and brightening creams which can keep the skin tone appearing more consistent and make the surface pigment less noticeable.
Conspicuous by its absence, laser treatment is not recommended as the application of heat may encourage production of more pigments in the skin.
All is not lost however; there are some basic precautions which can be taken to protect the skin. The application of a high factor SPF sunscreen can help when used every day underneath a mineral based make-up. Suitable use of sunglasses and hat will give the face some much needed protection.
Other recommended precautions are to avoid areas of extreme heat such as saunas and steam rooms, while a vitamin C and E rich moisturiser which is applied in the evening will provide a good degree antioxidant protection. Further reading will reveal the presence of skin lightening products which are available to purchase on the internet. However, most experts reject such creams and bleaches as their long term usage is not fully understood and can cause skin irritations and hyper sensitivity thus causing more damage to already problem areas.
If you want to find out more about Melasma please contact Dr Dutta at the Aesthetic Beauty Centre.