Melasma is a skin condition that hyperpigmentation of skin causing discoloration(brown or gray patches) and uneven skin tone. This can occur temporarily during pregnancy, or can be permanent because of aging. Even though melasma was thought to be a pregnancy-related and contraceptive-related or a disorder in women who were experiencing hormonal changes in the past, new studies show that melasma can be caused in both males and females irrespective of age, due to UV exposure, hormones, genetics and inflammation in the body. Treatments of melasma can help alter the visibility of the patches and slowly eliminate the skin pigmentation

The most common areas for melasma to appear on the face are the bridge of the nose

the forehead, the cheeks, the upper lip. Melasma may also appear in other areas of the body, especially those exposed to a lot of sunlight. These areas may include the forearms, the neck, the shoulders. Melasma Occurs due to the dysfunction of the skin’s melanocytes (the cells that create pigment), causing them to emit too much colour.

People with darker skin tones are more likely to develop melasma as they have more melanocytes than people with lighter skin.

During a visual inspection, dermatologists find most cases of melasma simple to diagnose. However since melasma can be similar to other skin conditions, during the initial visit, a dermatologist may undergo a small biopsy. For further study in a laboratory, a biopsy involves removing a very small part of the skin.  A physician can also use a device called a Wood’s light to look at the skin more closely.

Treatments for melasma

  • As the first line of treatment for melasma, doctors also use hydroquinone. As a lotion, cream, or gel, hydroquinone is available. An individual may apply the hydroquinone product directly to the discoloured skin patches. Hydroquinone is available over the counter, but stronger creams can also be administered by a physician. Hydroquinone works by rendering skin patches lighter in hue.
  • It comes in creams, lotions, or gels of corticosteroids and tretinoin. The colour of the melasma patches will lighten both by corticosteroids and tretinoin.
  • In certain cases, a dermatologist can opt to prescribe hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and tretinoin-containing combination creams in one. These are called creams of triples.
  • Azelaic acid or Kojic acid can also be administered by a dermatologist in addition to or in lieu of other medicated creams. These acids function to lighten the skin’s dark areas.
  • If topical medications do not work, a dermatologist may prescribe procedures such as Microdermabrasion Abrasion, Chemical peel peels, Treatment of lasers, Therapy with Light, Dermabrasion Application
  • Any of these options for treatment have side effects or can cause additional issues with the skin. It is best to talk about all the potential dangers with a doctor or dermatologist.
  • If a person has previously had melasma, they may try to prevent triggers by Limiting exposure to the sun, When outside, wearing a hat, using Sunscreen.