You're probably here to find melasma treatment, but first a few ground rules, specifically the distinctions between melasma and normal hyperpigmentation. To begin, and most importantly: Hyperpigmentation is a broad term that refers to a skin condition in which the skin becomes discoloured or darkened as a result of the various of factors such as sun damage, acne scarring, and lingering eczema flare-up inflammation. Thus, what is melasma? It is a more prevalent form of the condition in women and is normally found on the face in areas like the forehead, chin, and above the lip.
Melasma affects a large number of women and is sometimes referred to as the 'pregnancy mask' due to the dramatic hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Melasma, like other forms of facial hyperpigmentation, appears as discoloration and is aggravated by sun exposure. How can you tell if you have melasma?
Hyperpigmentation refers to any darkening of the skin.
Hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of a stubborn breakout, freckles that developed into full-blown sun spots because of too much exposure, or darkening caused by a condition such as eczema or psoriasis.
This is because acne, sunlight, skin rashes, as well as other similar factors have the power to stimulate melanocytes, the skin's pigment-producing cells, to produce an excess of pigment, causing them to unload it in areas of the skin where it does not belong, such as tattoo pigment.
The deeper the pigment, the more difficult it is to treat. In other words, a section of skin that has been repeatedly exposed to harmful UV rays without sufficient protection will be more difficult to heal or cure than, say, a dark spot left over after a pimple that you took care to protect from the sun. In other words, the severity of hyperpigmentation varies, but if you start noticing discoloration on your skin that was not present previously, it's safe to assume it's hyperpigmentation. Naturally, you should always consult your dermatologist for confirmation.
What is melasma?
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that is more prevalent in women (especially those with darker skin tones) and is believed to be caused by both UV exposure and hormonal influences. The latter is what distinguishes it from more conventional hyperpigmentation and makes melasma treatment in Mumbai more challenging.
Hormonal influences play a significant role in this, as evidenced by the increased prevalence of pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, and other hormonal therapies. The issue is preventing it from progressing further, particularly hormonally, as removing the initiating factors can be challenging.
Melasma is typically detectable solely on the basis of its appearance. It is most commonly manifested as symmetrical blotchy hyperpigmented patches on the face, most commonly on the cheeks, nose bridge, forehead, chin, and upper lip.
Melasma can also appear on other parts of the body, particularly those more exposed to the sun (such as the neck and forearms), and many people report that their melasma gets worse in the summer and gets better in the winter. It may also manifest during pregnancy, after initiating or discontinuing birth control or other hormonal treatments. Something to consider if you've noticed discoloration following a hormonal change or birth control change.
Finally, both visible light and heat can play a role in the spread of melasma. Utilizing iron oxide makeup to assist in the blocking of visible light. Sadly, avoiding infrared heat is more challenging, as it can be generated simply by being in a hot environment, such as a steamy kitchen or even a gym.
While the majority of pigmentation treatments are similar, melasma is more difficult to remove.
As previously stated, melasma is notoriously difficult to treat. This is because, unlike traditional hyperpigmentation, which responds to a wide range of over-the-counter products containing brightening ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid, melasma has not been as successful or consistent.
Due to the fact that what works for one person may not work for another, it is difficult to pinpoint the most effective treatment for melasma. A combination of sunscreen, brightening ingredients, laser treatment, and chemical peels, on the other hand, may provide effective relief.
Pigmentation treatment in Mumbai are remarkably similar, for most types of hyperpigmentation, with the exception of melasma, which may benefit from lower energy lasers. My personal favourite is the Clear + Brilliant laser, which uses fractionated low-energy beams to improve the appearance of melasma, sun damage, and skin texture. The only snag? Multiple treatments on a monthly basis, and then every six months thereafter, will be necessary to help maintain results.
This all means that your treatment will be determined by the severity of your melasma. Each individual's experience will be unique, and no treatment plan will be perfect or effective for everyone. Therefore, regardless of whether you have persistent hyperpigmentation or melasma, consult your dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment.
Neither can be corrected or prevented without sun protection.
We've emphasised the importance of diligent sunscreen use far too frequently, but that's because it's the end-all-be-all of avoiding any sun-related ailment. Although hormonal factors play a role in the development of melasma, this does not mean you should forego sunscreen, as UV rays continue to aggravate the condition.
Applying SPF 30 or higher every two hours, even if you're indoors and just sitting near a window. Additionally, it doesn't hurt to boost your protection with an SPF-containing moisturiser.
Published by Dr Niketa Sonavane