Introduction to Melasma / Chloasma
Melasma is a common patchy brown tan or blue-gray facial skin discoloration, usually seen in women and in a few men in the reproductive years due to the color change of pigment in the skin.
It is a type of hyperpigmentation, brown spots on face, that typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20-50 years of age. Melasma in men is less common.
Hyperpigmentation on the face is thought to be primarily related to sun exposure and hormones like birth control pills and hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy, called Chloasma Gravidarum. This is what separates it from usual hyper-pigmentation which is not associated with hormones eg. post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Although Melasma treatment is difficult, a lot can be done to reduce the pigmentation and improve the color.
Book a consultation and discuss your condition in detail.
Factors affecting and exacerbating Melasma
Sun Exposure (U.V. light)
The foremost reason for Melasma is exposure to sunlight. It is a very good idea to protect oneself from Direct as well as indirect sunlight by using sunscreen and protective measures.
Female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) sensitivity exacerbate and maintain Melasma. This is exactly what makes it difficult to treat because not much can be done for the hormonal influence.
Many conditions require treatment with external hormonal therapy and can cause hyperpigmentation. You will have to consult your physician for the same whether treatment can be stopped.
It is a state of exaggerated hormonal levels which result in more than usual pigmentation. Usually, pigmentation in pregnancy resolves on its own but you may require hyperpigmentation treatment afterward.
Melasma is more common in persons of darker skin types. It may also run in families and a prior knowledge of susceptibility can help you employ preventive measures beforehand.
Sun protection is the main stay of treatment for Melasma. Once the pigmentation has settled in, Chemical Peel, Lasers and Light Therapy are used to remove pigmentation.