What is Melasma? Causes, Types & Treatment
It is a common skin condition causing gray- brown/ black patches on a person’s face. People usually tend to get it above their upper lip, cheeks, forehead, chin and the nose. These patches could also appear on your neck and forearms i.e. the areas that generally get more exposed to the sun. This condition is sometimes known as Chloasma. However, since Chloasma means green skin, the word Melasma (brown skin) is used instead.
The exact reason behind getting melasma is still not known yet. It is said to occur when the melanocytes (colour making cells) of our body over produce melanin. This skin problem is genetically susceptible i.e. at least 1/3rd of the patients have reported other members in their family of being affected by melasma.
Following are the factors that trigger the skin condition-
- Sun exposure- Getting your skin over exposed or damaged under the sun can lead to the skin disorder. Many a times, even a little amount of sunlight can trigger the condition especially for those who have earlier suffered from melasma. During summers, the number of people suffering from the skin condition only gets worse.
- Hormonal changes- It is common among pregnant women to suffer from the skin condition. Also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, it causes dark patches to appear on the forehead, cheeks or the upper lip of pregnant women. This dark patch or pigment however fades after a few months of delivery. Apart from this, using birth control and hormone replacement medicines can also lead to the skin disorder.
- Cosmetics- Certain cosmetics can cause irritation to the skin and worsen melasma. Since cosmetics are made up of various chemicals, using them could trigger skin allergies or cause irritation to an already prevailing skin condition. The chemicals in cosmetics that have shown implications of causing skin irritation include PPD, Cetostearyl alcohol, musk mix, fragrances, etc.- just to mention a few!
Who are prone to this skin disorder?
The condition is common among women i.e. 90% of the cases reported for the skin condition consist of women, whereas only 10% of the reported patients are men. Those who have a darker skin tone are more likely to suffer from the skin problem. This includes Latinos, Africans, Indians, those from the Middle East, Afro- Americans, etc. The chances of getting the skin disorder is also high for those whose family members must have had or are suffering from the skin condition.
Characteristics of melasma-
The skin problem is characterized by the presence of macules (areas having skin discolouration) and dark brown patches on the face with an irregular border. This skin disorder has many different patterns.
- Centrofacial pattern- It is the most common form of melasma where the pattern is found on the forehead, chin, nose, upper lip and cheeks.
- Malar pattern- This pattern is found on a person’s cheekbones.
- Mandibular pattern- This pattern is found on a person’s jawbones.
Types of Melasma-
- Epidermal- This type of skin problem is characterized by the presence of excess melanin in the superficial layers of the skin. They have a well-defined border with the patches being dark brown in colour. The good thing about this type of skin problem is that it responds well to melasma treatment.
- Dermal- This type of skin problem is characterized by the presence of melanophages (cells that ingest melanin) throughout the dermis. They have an ill-defined border with the patches being light brown or bluish in colour and responds poorly to treatment.
- Mixed type- This type of skin problem is characterized by the presence of both the epidermal and dermal type. It is the most common type with the patches being a combination of bluish, light and dark brown in colour. In terms of treatment, it can be partially improved.
Tips for treating the skin problem-
Following are the common tips that dermatologist recommend for those suffering from the skin problem-
- Using sunscreen: It is recommended that those suffering or have earlier had the skin problem protect their skin from getting exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is a major factor that triggers the skin disorder. In such a circumstance, using sunscreen can be helpful. It is also advisable to use sunscreen on cloudy days and even after swimming/ sweating.
Select a sunscreen that provides protection from ultra violet rays of the sun. Make sure the sunscreen contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which in turn helps in limiting the effects of sunlight (ultra violet rays) on your skin. Make a practice of using sunscreen before going out of the house. Applying the sunscreen 15 minutes prior to going outside is advisable. Also, reapply it after every 2 hours (when outside), as the sunscreen effect may fade away.
- Wear a cap/hat: According to a recent study reported in a journal called ‘Nature illustrates’, using sunscreen alone is not enough to get the necessary protection from the sun. It is a good practice to use a cap/hat/umbrella as well as wear protective clothing while loitering outside, running errands, etc. One can also stand/sit under the shade whenever possible in order to protect one’s skin.
- Smartly choosing your skin care products: While opting for a skin care product, make sure to check the ingredients used in it or consult a skin specialist before making a purchase. If you experience a burning sensation in your skin while using a skin care product, it is a hint that the product is not good for your skin. It may even further worsen the existing skin problem you are facing.
- Avoid waxing: Undergoing waxing while having a skin problem can cause a burning sensation to the skin. This may worsen the existing skin problem and complicate the skin condition further. It is necessary that you avoid waxing areas of the body affected by the skin problem. The best thing you can do is consult a dermatologist about the type of hair removal tool that would best suit your skin requirements.
In case there are no signs of improvement in your skin condition, consulting a certified dermatologist is recommended.
How to get rid of Melasma fast- The Kaya Melasma Treatment
Kaya Skin Clinic provides two types of specialized melasma treatment i.e. firstly, the Insta Clarity Laser Action (permanent cure for melasma) and secondly, the Kaya Instense White Luxe Therapy.
The Insta Clarity Laser Action is used for the treatment of patchy skin, uneven skin tone and dark spots. This melasma cure involves the usage of the Q- Switch Laser, which efficiently treats the unwanted skin pigmentation.
The Kaya Intense White Luxe Therapy treats your skin in two stages. During the first stage of the melasma treatment therapy, Remy Laure Peeling Cream is used to reduce the tanning of your skin caused due to prolonged exposure to the sun. The tanning effect is reversed by the cream through exfoliation of the skin.
In the second stage of the therapy (melasma cure), Kaya’s skin brightening cream is used to give the skin an even tone. This is done in order to control the impact of the skin’s melanin production.
Although, there are various treatments (melasma cure/ Permanent cure for melasma) available for the skin problem, taking good care of your skin becomes essential in treating the skin condition.