According to the AAD, American Academy of Dermatology, melasma is “a skin condition that causes patches and spots, usually on the face, which are darker than your natural skin tone.” The skin condition is most common in women, especially when they have a flurry of hormones from expecting. Although it doesn’t happen with everyone, melasma can disappear after the baby is born.
Women with medium to dark skin tones are at the highest risk of developing melasma. Melasma appears in the form of tan, brown, grayish brown, or bluish-gray patches and freckles on areas of the face such as the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Although rare, it can also appear on the arms, neck, or other parts of the body.
How do I cure melasma?
Currently, there is no cure for melasma, but plenty of medications and procedures attempt to manage the skin condition. Unfortunately, these treatments are not able to produce complete results. Some discolorations can become lighter or disappear, but others can remain unaffected. It is also common for relapses to occur.
Like all other courses of treatment, there may be side effects. For example, there may be darkening of the skin caused by inflammation occurring during the treatment or extreme lightening of the skin in a treated area. It’s imperative to use the necessary medications under the supervision of your dermatologist to achieve the treatment goals.
The first step in treating your melasma is ensuring it does not get worse. That means avoiding the sun, tanning beds, LED screens, and irritating soaps. If you need sun exposure, make sure to wear sunscreen to prevent the worsening of the condition.
The next step is to take topical medications. These medications contain tyrosinase inhibitors which prevent new pigment formations by blocking the formation of melanin. Some examples of these inhibitors are:
- Azelaic acid
- Soybean extract
Topical treatments are not the only ways to treat your melasma. Your dermatologist can perform a few different procedures that should improve your condition.
The first option is a chemical peel. For this procedure, your dermatologist will cover your skin in a chemical that will cause the skin to peel. The new skin should be smoother and more evenly colored.
The second option is light-based procedures like pulsed light and various laser treatments.
If you are experiencing melasma, please consult your dermatologist to determine a proper course of action.
If you want to take care of your skin this winter, read more about dry brushing to take care of your winter skin.
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