Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Melasma Treatment

Women who always expose themselves to the sun are at risk to developing melasma, especially those who are between 20 to 50 years of age.

Melasma is a condition where the skin in the face appears as patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray. It commonly shows in the forehead, chin, upper cheeks and upper lip and affects women more than men. Aside from sun exposure, melasma can also be due to intake of external hormones such as birth control pills and hormonal changes in pregnant women.

Women who have olive or darker skin particularly of Asian and Hispanic origins are at greater risk to developing melasma. Dermatologists usually diagnose melasma using a device called Wood’s light, which is
done to determine how deep it penetrates the skin. But to make sure the condition is really melasma and not other skin problem, dermatologists remove a small skin as sample for a biopsy.

If melasma is caused by pregnancy, doctors say it will fade on its own after the woman delivers her baby. If it is caused by birth control pills, it will also fade if the woman stops taking the pills. For women who are suffering from the type of melasma that doesn’t fade away naturally, there are available treatments and medicines that dermatologists recommend, some of which can be bought over the counter.

One of the most common medicines that dermatologists recommend for women with melasma is Hydroquinone, which comes in the form of a gel, lotion, liquid or cream. It is applied directly on the skin and works by lightening the skin. Other medicines that are commonly prescribed to treat melasma are those that contain Tretinoin and Corticosteroids to enhance skin lightening.

Sometimes, doctors prescribe creams that contain both Hydroquinone, Tretinoin and Corticosteroid.
Some patients are also given topical medicines that contain azelaic acid or kojic acid, which also work to lighten the skin. If melasma persists, dermatologists resort to procedures such as dermabrasion,
microdermabrasion and chemical peel, depending on the patient’s type of skin. But dermatologists warn that melasma is stubborn and it would take a few months of treatment before it would eventually fade away. Once it fades, the patient needs to strictly follow a maintenance therapy to prevent it from returning.

Women who undergo melasma treatment should watch signs of any side effects like skin irritation, darkening of the skin and other problems. Once these signs are present, the patient should immediately inform their dermatologist. Doctors recommend that to prevent getting melasma or to prevent it from returning, women should use products with sunscreen and if possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face from the sun.

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