Melasma is a skin condition characterized by dark patches or brown blotches on the face. It typically develops in adults and is rare before puberty. Melasma arises gradually, and is most common on the forehead, cheeks, above the upper lip, and on the chin, though it can arise in other areas as well.
Symptoms are the same in men and women, however approximately 90% of cases occur in women. Women of light brown skin types from areas of the world with intense sun exposure tend to be affected more than others.
The actual cause of melasma is unknown, but it is know to be related to both hormonal levels and exposure to sunlight and heat.
Genetic predisposition is a major contributing factor. Some medications and medical conditions may also exacerbate the pigmentation tendency.
The condition is harmless, but many people with melasma feel self-conscious about the discolouration hence are dissatisfied with their appearance.
Melasma cannot be cured permanently, but various treatment options will help to control and minimize your brown discolouration.
- Remove triggers exacerbating melasma (ie sun, heat and excessive hormones).
- Prevent exposure to sun – wear a wide rim hat, sunglasses and definitely your SPF. Be sure your sunscreen is greater than SPF 30 with reapplication of physical barrier/sun shield, broad spectrum titanium and zinc oxide.
- Use daily antioxidant protection.
- Apply Topical Skin Tone Lightening and Brightening Products. Vitamin C, Hydroquinone, Retinoic, Azelaic and Kojic acids in various strengths and combinations. Hydroquinone is used for 6 months; April to October. Results are maintained with botanical Illumin™ Nov-March.
- SilkPeel with Lumixyl
- Medical Peels
- Judicious use of light phototherapy and/or laser in fall/winter only, after preparing and stabilizing the melanocytes (brown pigment producing cells).
- Maintenance therapy is required for optimal outcomes and continued benefit.