Melasma is a skin condition that makes the skin darker than it should be. It mostly affects women, especially those with darker skin. Most of the time, it shows up on the face as dark spots and patches with uneven edges. Melasma is not dangerous to a person’s health, but studies have shown that the changes it makes to a person’s appearance can lead to psychological problems and a lower quality of life.
Melasma is a common disorder. It affects about 1% of people, but that number can rise to 50% in groups at higher risk, such as people with darker skin. Melasma is called the “mask of pregnancy” because it is often caused by hormonal changes, like those that happen during pregnancy or when taking hormonal medications like birth control pills. Melasma is also caused in part by being in the sun.
Can melasma be prevented?
People who are more likely to get melasma because of their genes, skin color, hormones, or amount of sun exposure can’t fully avoid getting it yet. Avoiding direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., using sunscreens with a high SPF, and avoiding hormonal medications when possible may help prevent melasma flares and make it less likely that they will come back after treatment. Melasma is best treated by staying out of the sun as much as possible.
What sunscreen should melasma patients use?
If you have melasma, it’s important to use the right sunscreen. Studies have shown that broad-spectrum tinted sunscreens, especially those with iron oxide, can reduce pigment production in melasma patients’ skin because they block both visible light and UVA and UVB rays. On the other hand, sunscreens that don’t have any color don’t block light that you can see.
Some people might find it easier to use makeup like foundations that block both UVA and UVB light and visible light with ingredients like iron oxide. These products can hide dark spots, which can help with the emotional effects of melasma. They can also act as a sunscreen to keep the spots from getting darker.
People with melasma should know that visible light can go through windows. This means that even if they are not out in the sun, they can still get melasma flares by being near a window or driving in a car.
Can melasma be treated?
Melasma can’t be cured right now, but there are a number of medicines and procedures that can help control it. It’s important to know that some of these treatments may only help some of the spots, so some of the spots may get lighter or go away while others stay the same. Also, people often go back to using drugs.
It is also important to know that treatment can have side effects, such as making the skin darker because it causes inflammation or making the skin in a treated area lighter than usual. Using the right medicines under the care of a dermatologist can help you reach your treatment goals and keep them for longer with fewer flare-ups.
Common melasma treatments
Most people with melasma use medications that lighten the skin and are applied to the affected area. Medicines like hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, cysteamine, rucinol, tri-luma cream, and tranexamic acid are some examples. These medicines help get rid of melasma by reducing pigment production, inflammation, and the number of blood vessels in the skin that cause it. This medication is available on Buy Tretinoin Cream, so you can easily buy it.
Most of these medicines shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women, who have melasma in large numbers. The one exception is azelaic acid, which is safe to use during pregnancy. Hydroquinone is a skin lightener that is often used, but it shouldn’t be used for too long because it can cause side effects. For the first treatment, it can be used for up to six months. After that, it can be used as needed.
Most people with melasma need a combination of treatments to get better. Hydroquinone is often used with a retinoid that speeds up the turnover of skin cells and a steroid that reduces skin inflammation. Melasma that is worse can be treated with pills like tranexamic acid that are taken by mouth. It is thought that this medicine will help melasma by reducing the production of pigment and the number of blood vessels in the skin.
Additional treatment procedures may help
If your melasma doesn’t get better with topical or oral treatments, adding procedures like chemical peels and laser therapies could help.
Chemical peels use things like glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, and salicylic acid to get rid of the top layer of skin that has too much pigment in people with melasma. The effects of a chemical peel are temporary because the procedure only removes a thin layer of skin and doesn’t stop the deeper layers of skin from making pigment.
Laser treatments can kill pigment cells in the skin, which makes the dark spots caused by melasma lighter. But, just like with other ways to treat melasma, there is a big chance that it will come back after treatment.
Maintenance therapy and prevention
Melasma spots will get better, but strict sun protection and maintenance therapy will still be needed. Retinoids can be used with other skin lighteners besides hydroquinone to keep the results going, and hydroquinone therapy can be used when needed.
Takeaway message about melasma
The most important thing to do to treat melasma is to always wear sunscreen and try to stay away from other things that can make it worse, like hormonal medications. Since none of the treatments are cures, the best thing to do is to avoid getting sick in the first place. People with melasma should see a board-certified dermatologist to get an evaluation and find the best way to treat it and keep it from coming back.