Melasma is a skin problem that is described as dark areas or blotches on the face. Usually, it is developed in adults. Melasma arises in several steps and is commonly developed in the forehead, cheeks, on the chin and around the upper lip. It can also arise in other areas, as well. Around ninety percent of all melisma cases are occurring in women – especially light brown skin types that get large amounts of sun exposure. Although the condition is harmless, people with melisma often feel self-conscious about their appearance and are irritated with this condition. Melasma is simply a large amount of melanin, collected in one spot. There are genetic predispositions to melasma. It usually arises with changes in hormones during pregnancies. Melasma also can occur in a woman who takes hormonal birth control pills, as well as in those who use progesterone replacement procedures after the menopause. Some medications and facial cleansers, creams and even kinds of makeup, irritating the skin, can lead to or worsen the case of melasma. The skin is made of two main issue layers: epidermis on the surface and dermis underneath it. Between them special cells are situated that produce the pigment melanin.
Melanin gives the skin its usual color and is travelling to new skin cells where it plays a protective part, absorbing rays of sunlight that could damage the skin cells otherwise. When melasma occurs, melanocytes in one area start overproducing melanin. Accumulating melanin gradually starts showing, creating melasma patches. Melasma gets increased with exposure to sunlight. Best method for stopping melasma from occurring or worsening is firm avoidance of excessive sunlight. It is advised to use sunscreens of SPF 30 or greater, every day. Sunscreens, using metallic element are probably the most effective treatment, as they do not absorb the light. Wearing full-length clothes also helps. Even after the removing of melasma, it’s extremely important to avoid sun exposure as it may reoccur. Discontinuing certain medications, creams or makeup is advised, if possible. Melasma cannot be treated permanently but there are several options to clear the dark patches. Main course of treatment is using topical depigmenting creams that contain hydroquinone. It decreases the melanocytes’ activity, not killing them. Azelaic acidcan also be used and is thought to stop melanocytes from producing excessive melanin. A number of other treatments also exist, like chemical peels and laser treatments that physically remove the pigmented area. These operations are often used along with topical procedures. Treating melasma can take up to several months and different treatments may work differently for different persons.