How Do You Cure Melasma

September 2, 2010

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Melasma, also usually called chloasma, is a hyperpigmentation of the skin making the skin’s color uneven. When melasma appears when a woman is pregnant, it is called chloasma. It shows as a dark-colored blotch, usually brown with irregular borders. It is located on the face most commonly on the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose and lips. But this is the only problem in having melasma – the repulsive patch – and not tenderness, itching or propensity to develop into cancer. Gender-wise, women are more affected most especially those that are gestating or are drinking medications either for birth control or replacing hormones after menopause.

Melasma develops gradually. According to studies, its exact cause cannot be pinpointed but they consider the following as its various possible causes. Of the feasible causes of melasma, the most critical and the most popular is the superfluous generation of the pigment melanin triggered by the skin’s prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Another is the overproduction of melanin caused by the hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy or when one is using contraceptives or hormonal replacement drugs containing these hormones. There is also strong evidence that genetics plays a role in melasma’s development. Another cause worth telling is a thyroid gland abnormality resulting to overproduction of the hormones and the eventual rousing of the cells responsible for the manufacture of melanin.

If you have melasma, you can now opt to have any of the following recommended treatment options. The first on the list is the application onto the darkened area of topical creams having hydroquinone, tretinoin, or azelaic acid as its components. Hydroquinone works by decreasing melanin production through the inhibition of tyrosinase – the enzyme that produces melanin. Hydroquinone can be availed of in two percent, four percent or greater concentrations. When you decide to use higher concentrations of hydroquinone, be aware that this not only intensifies its effectiveness but it also increases your risks of experiencing the adverse effects. Tretinoin helps remove the discoloration caused by melasma by creating more collagen and by increasing the rate at which keratinocytes are eliminated. However, hydroquinone is still more effective than tretinoin. As a result, tretinoin comes in combination with hydroquinone. Azelaic acid’s mode of action is the decrease in the normal functioning of the melanocytes and this is considered more effective than the two percent concentration of hydroquinone. But they all equally cause minor skin changes such as irritation, itching and redness. You can also choose to try the use of chemicals to perform mild skin exfoliation. The doctor evaluates if he or she would use a light, medium or deep type of chemical peel. Another type of scaling off the skin is the dermabrasion which uses a vacuum and a handheld scraper instead of chemicals. You can also undergo laser therapy but aside from being a bit threatening, it also is not known for effectiveness. However, most of these treatments, especially the use of chemicals or laser, can possibly lead to complications such as scars, tissue death and further skin pigmentation if not properly used. You must be ready to spend a generous amount of money to be able to have these treatments. Therefore, doctors still prefer topical creams containing hydroquinone despite few reported side effects.

But no matter what treatment you choose, always remember that effects are not achieved overnight. Lastly, to not waste the work being done by the treatment, complete avoidance of the sun is recommended to cure melasma.

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