Melasma is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by the appearance of brown or grey patches on the face, particularly on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and upper lip. While it is not a serious medical condition, melasma can be distressing and affect one’s self-confidence. If you have melasma, it’s essential to know a few key things to manage and treat the condition effectively. From the common triggers that can cause melasma to flare-ups, to the best skincare practices and treatment options, we’ll give you the information you need to stay informed and proactive about your skin’s health. Read on to learn more about this common skin condition and how you can take control of it. (Also read: Skin with hyperpigmentation: Check out these home ingredients for depigmenting )
Five things you need to know about melasma:
Dr. Neha Sharma, Dermatologist founder Estique clinic, Gurugram, shared with HT Lifestyle, five essential things you need to know if you have melasma.
1) Melasma is a common chronic skin condition, resulting in symmetrical, blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation. Usually appears on a face – cheeks, forehead, bridge of a nose, above the upper lip, chin.
2) Pigmentation is due to the overproduction of melanin (i.e. the colour pigment), by the pigment cells of the skin called melanocytes.
3) Causes of melasma include:
· Genetic predisposition
· Sun exposure: UV light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes, increasing pigmentation by way of increased melanin production.
· Hormonal changes: internal hormonal changes, as seen in pregnancy, stress, thyroid disorders as well as exogenous hormone treatments in the form of oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, hormone replacement therapy, etc are all implicated in the triggering of melasma.
Certain medications like anti-seizure drugs, anti malignant drugs could also be causative.
4) There are a few ways in which melasma can be treated, both at home and in a medical setting.
· Firstly, known triggers can be avoided. This can include not taking the contraceptive pill and instead using another form of contraception.
· Avoiding direct sunlight and protecting the skin when exposed to the sun. Skin-lightening creams can be helpful. These creams will need to be prescribed by a doctor Procedures can also be carried out to help treat melasma including chemical peels and mesotherapy.
· If your melasma has developed as a result of your pregnancy, symptoms are likely to improve once you have given birth. If your melasma was brought on by pregnancy, you are more likely to see symptoms reoccur during subsequent pregnancies.
5) For prevention, sun protection is very important as exposure to UV light can trigger melasma or worsen the symptoms,. Areas of the skin where melasma is present also darkens further in response to sunlight so it is very important to protect your skin in the sun.
Wearing sunscreen as well as a face moisturiser of SPF 50 is recommended, as well as covering up when out in the sun and avoiding the strong midday heat. Hormone replacements or the contraceptive pill can also be avoided to prevent melasma symptoms.