Treating the Skin Condition of Melasma



Otherwise known as mask of pregnancy or chloasma, melasma commonly occurs as irregular patches of tan, dark skin, mostly among women taking oral or patch contraceptives in addition to pregnant women. Others who are also vulnerable to chloasma are women who are pregnant or are undergoing (HRT) hormone replacement therapy. Individuals of Jewish, Russian, in addition to German descent have also been known to be prone to having facial pigmentation/discoloration thanks to melasma, which has been shown in recent studies on skin conditions.

Melasma commonly surfaces on parts of the body such as the forehead, lips, nose, upper cheeks or upper lip as well as can increase in area with the passage of time. In the medical world, melasma is explained as a kind of skin discoloration caused by the stimulation of pigment-producing cells that are called melanocytes by female sex hormones (e.g., estrogen and progesterone) to produce large unusual amounts of melanin when the skin exposed to too much sunlight.

Melasma treatment is sought after by many to remove the unsightly patches of tan skin which can mar one’s looks considerably. Fortunately for pregnant and contraceptive-taking women, melasma typically goes away of its own accord, once the mother gives birth or the woman stops her intake of contraceptives. The same can also go for numerous women undergoing HRT.

There are several ways of melasma treatment which are basically done to help speed up the fading of the irregularly colored skin areas. Some of these treatments for melasma removal include use of hydroquinone (HQ) which is a topical depigmenting agent that inhibits tyrosinase production. This treatment works since tyrosinase is a necessary enzyme in the making of melanin. Another method used in melasma treatment is the use of tretinoin, which increases the number of skin cells that are produced. It is unfortunate, though, that women who are carrying a child in their womb are prohibited from using this method of melasma treatment. Melasma can also be treated by using azelaic acid (which impedes the melanocytes’ activity), chemical peels with glycolic acid as well as facial peels with alpha hydroxyacids. There is also the method for melasma removal called the Fraxel laser treatment.

Treatment varies from case to case basis, since one method may be more effective than others for one person. But no matter what kind of technique of treatment one selects, the individual must avoid sun exposure after undergoing the treatment. Treatment will slowly show results, so it is very important that one should avoid the sun’s rays for the time being. The use of sunscreen is highly suggested if you want the treatment to completely succeed.

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