Melasma is a common skin disease characterized by uneven dark or discolored patches on the skin. It is also known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy” when it happens while pregnant. Compared to men, melasma occurs more commonly among women. Among the all people who have melasma, 90 percent are women. Using a device called Wood’s light, the dermatologist can determine how deep the melasma as penetrated the skin. The symptoms may be similar to other skin conditions. To definitively diagnose the condition, a biopsy may be required.
There are many procedures on how to treat chloasma or melasma. In some cases, if the melasma is caused by a particular trigger, then removing the trigger would cause the melasma to fade. There are times when it is caused by hormonal pills or birth control pills. Stopping the medication of the pills will most likely result to reduced dark patches. But for those who have this condition for years, there are treatments available which include the following:
It is commonly given as the first treatment for melasma. The solution is directly applied to the affected area of the skin. Continuous of hydroquinone would lead to skin lightening. It can occur a solution, cream, or lotion. It can be bought in a pharmacy even without prescription. But for stronger hydroquinone concentrations, a prescription from your dermatologist is required.
- Corticosteroids and Tretinoin
Another medicine usually prescribed for people with melasma is tretinoin or corticosteroid. Some products and topical creams may contain all three substances: hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids which is also known as a triple cream.
- Other Topical Creams
Other topical creams that may be given to you are kojic acid and azelaic acid that also aids in lightening dark patches due to melasma.
- Skin Procedures
Aside from topical creams, there are now skin procedures that help lighten the dark patches of the skin. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion are some of the techniques that can reduce the symptoms of melasma. Before you undergo any skin treatments, it is highly advised that you consult your dermatologist first. It would be best to work with your doctor rather than going to random beauty clinics. The procedures may cause skin irritation and damage if they are not familiar with the skin type that you have.
Prior to treatment, it is important to understand the risks that is part of the procedure. Inform yourself about the potential side effects of the procedure to your skin. If there are side effects such as skin irritation, redness, or skin darkening, you must inform your dermatologist immediately.
The treatment of melasma is not a straightforward procedure. Other factors such as the skin type and characteristic of the patient may play a role in the effectiveness of the treatment. Sometimes the effective treatment for one patient may not have the same effect to the other. This is why a doctor’s guidance is necessary throughout the course of your melasma treatment. Listen to your dermatologist and follow their advice to avoid unnecessary side effects that may lead to skin damage and irritation.
Even after the dark patches are gone, maintenance therapy is still required for people who had melasma to make sure the skin condition will not return. Melasma can be avoided by always having skin protection against the UV rays of the sun.