How Do You Treat Melasma

September 4, 2010

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Melasma, also usually called chloasma, is a hyperpigmentation of the skin making the skin’s color unbalanced. When melasma appears when a woman is pregnant, it is called chloasma. It shows as a dark-colored blotch, usually brown with irregular borders. The common places where melasma manifests include the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose and lips. But it is a relatively good thing for it is not malignant, not tender, not itchy and not accompanied with other symptoms but the unsightly patch itself. Melasma is frequently found in women than men – with these women carrying a child or women undergoing either contraception or hormonal replacement.

It takes a while before melasma forms. Several researches suggest that they still cannot give the precise cause of melasma but can only give its most probable causes based on the cases. The most well-known is the overproduction of melanin when there is overexposure to the sun. 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 mentioning is a thyroid gland abnormality resulting to overproduction of the hormones and the anticipated stirring up of the cells responsible for the manufacture of melanin.

If you are currently dealing with melasma, you can now decide to undergo any of the following recommended treatment options. The first on the list is the administration onto the darkened blotch of topical creams having hydroquinone, tretinoin, or azelaic acid as its components. The mechanism of hydroquinone involves preventing tyrosinase from performing its assigned functions most specifically, to generate melanin. Hydroquinone comes in two percent, four percent or greater concentrations. Both effectiveness and negative effects increase as the concentration increases. Tretinoin helps remove the discoloration caused by melasma by creating more collagen and by increasing the rate at which keratinocytes are eliminated. But tretinoin cannot overwhelm the power of hydroquinone. As a result, tretinoin comes together with hydroquinone. Azelaic acid, a more potent skin lightener than two percent hydroquinone, works by hindering the melanocytes from functioning properly and therefore, decreasing melaning. Their common ground: presence of skin irritation, itching and redness as their side effects. Another treatment option is the use of chemical peels to gently exfoliate the skin and therefore remove the discoloration. An important aspect that will help identify the depth of the peel that should be used is the doctor’s observation of the client. Having the same mode of action as chemical peels, dermabrasion exfoliates the skin but with the use of a vacuum and a scraper – a manual process. Another treatment option is laser therapy but which does not generate successful results and at the same time, increases your risks for suffering from its possible complications. But these treatments do not come without a cost – most lead to the formation of scars, death of tissues and even the recurrence of the hyperpigmented skin. They are also high-priced. Therefore, doctors still prefer topical creams containing hydroquinone despite few reported side effects.

But whatever treatment suits you best, do not expect to see its effectiveness in a day or in a week. Lastly, to not waste the work being done by the treatment, stringent aversion of the sun is recommended.

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