Melasma treatment

Melasma is a skin condition that is very common. Pregnant women are the most commonly affected although women of all types and men have been diagnosed with the disorder. Melasma typically looks like a very dark rash on the lips, forehead, nose and cheeks. Some discoloration of the skin may also appear on the upper arms and the discoloration varies from deep grey to a very dark brown. The actual cause of this skin disorder is not known but many believe that it is due to an increase in the cells’ production of melanin, a pigment that is responsible for dark coloring of the skin. Triggers for the condition include prolonged exposure to the sun, using birth control pills, heredity factors and hormone fluctuation such as is commonly found in pregnant women and many medications such as tetracycline.

It is not believed that melasma is directly related to other medical conditions and diagnosing the condition is fairly simple in pregnant women. Diagnosis in men and women who are not currently pregnant however involves ruling out other conditions and disorders such as reactions to certain medications. Skin biopsies may be performed in many cases to receive a proper diagnosis. The condition typically resolves itself normally after childbirth in pregnant women with the disorder. However, in cases that do not include pregnancy, the disorder may last for several months or even years until I suddenly clears up on its own. While treatment is not always needed, treatments are now available for the disorder.

Chemical peels are the most commonly used treatments for melasma and include certain acid chemicals such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and many fruit extracts. While stronger peeling compounds have proven to be much more effective, these typically create side effects such as excessive skin peeling, scarring and burning and in extreme cases, worsening of the discoloration of the skin.

Skin lightening is also used in many cases of melasma. This treatment includes using agents such as hydroquinone in order to lighten the discolored skin. Other agents are currently sold in health-food and herbal markets and may work as a lightening agent to help remove the discoloration. It is important to understand that all patients are different and the reaction to the disorder to certain compounds may work better for one patient than for another.

Laser skin rejuvenation is a fairly effective technique and can help to lighten the darker discolored skin as well. Many dermatologists will recommend using sunscreens, particularly those based with minerals like titanium and zinc, to prevent worsening of the disorder in the future. While these treatments may not completely cure melasma, they do help in many cases. Again, it is important to understand that melasma treatment effectiveness will vary from patient to patient. Finding a treatment that works may involve trying several treatments. After treatment, the discoloration of the skin may not completely go away and many different treatment methods may be needed to find the one that works best for your own individual skin type. Treatment for some patients will involve using more than one method together and avoiding overexposure to the sun.

To prevent the occurrence of melasma or to prevent worsening of the discoloration, sunscreen with ingredients such as zinc and titanium and one that contains at least a 20 SPF will be needed. Wearing hats and other protective clothing when in the sun can also help to keep the condition from worsening and to prevent future discoloration. You can speak with your dermatologist to find the best method of treatment for melasma and to learn more about the disorder. He or she may have different skin care ideas that may help the discoloration or may have treatment ideas to help with the disorder.

Last updated on Dec 6th, 2010 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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