Melasma is a skin related problem which happens with age. These are brown to gray-brown patches which pile up on the cheeks, nose, chin, above lips and forehead. It is more common to appear on places where you expose under the sun, for example neck and forearms. One common way to prevent or treat melasma is sun protection. You have to wear sunscreens everyday and you have to reapply according to the SPF content. SPF creams also differ in quality and results, which is why wearing hats or carrying umbrellas are much safer! Women are more likely to have melasma than men. It is very common during pregnancy and post delivery. A lot of people refer it to be pregnancy masks since the hormone trigger melasma. Let us go through the step by step process to figure out how to detect and treat melasma:
Steps to detect and treat melasma
- Mirror is your friend: the earliest signs of having acne or aging are spotted by the mirror. When you think something is probably wrong with you skin, it is detected by the mirror. Befriend your mirror and look closely. If there are unlikely patches forming on your skin you need to detect them soon. They might be slightly irritating when exposed under the sun. It also gets difficult to cover up with makeup.
- Diagnosis: since most women have melasma after hormonal changes in pregnancy, the pregnancy mask is one unfortunate part about delivering a baby. The combination of estrogen or birth control pills along with sun exposure triggers this condition. Once it starts it tends to reoccur. Sometimes the minimal amount of sun exposure worsens the condition. Melasma can be deeply pigmented or be on the surface. Thus, the faster you detect, the faster you can treat.
- Cosmetic treatment: treatments have to consider both the aspects, removing hormonal problems that trigger this and creams to remove the existing pigment.The first and foremost step is to avoid sun exposure for one year. This reduces the hormones which trigger your condition. Pregnancy ends but birth controlling pills might continue, which is why your condition could continue too. Thus, even if you’re hormonal triggers are on and you have slightest bit of sun exposure, you can have the patches back or have them increased. You can treat your skin with skin lighteners, prescribed skin bleaches from the chemist’s store. You can opt for retinoid creams and good quality sunscreens which will not only protect but prevent the patches to occur. The easiest way is to visit a dermatologist who would tell you what stage your Melasma is in. A doctor will give you medicated creams and gels which is better than the regular cosmetic that you would choose.
- Laser treatment: you can opt for laser treatments which will help you treat within a few sessions. You have to first look for a good quality dermatologist who will treat you. Try to get to the most reputed ones or ask anybody for reviews. You should simply not rely on somebody and definitely not compromise on the cost. Laser treatments are done by proper machines which will run through your skin and treat your condition. When you go through the first sitting, you will see significant difference. This might take you about 2 to 3 sessions more and then you will obtain clear skin. There are some pros and cons to follow this method which is why it is not
always preferred. It is apt for people who are willing to spend a good amount on cash and who need speedy recovery. When you go in for a laser treatment you have to make sure that you are ready for the process. Then you have to see if it suits you budget. You also have to be assured if you skin is strong enough to bare the treatment. After you have fulfilled all the criteria, you need to know what you should do if the patches return. Permanent treatments are usually just added with the word permanent, this is why you need to follow some preventive measures so that they don’t reoccur any time soon.
1. Every Day Protection of the Sun: For the melasma this is very much needed and should be started early and during the treatment and also after curing melasma so that no further appearance occurs. Melanocytes get activated by exposure to UV radiation or to even visible lights and can result to melanin deposit on your skin. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen for protection from the sun which has a SPF of 30 or greater and can cover both UVB and UVA, it has to be used daily the whole year and should be applied every 2 hours when exposed to sun. This is necessary for all skin types patients even the darker skin ones. Since all the UV rays cannot be blocked by sunscreen so you can go through the day by just applying it in the morning. Exposure to the sun needs to be limited and also patients need to wear a hat while going out. Those who are unwilling to follow this should stay at home only as protection from sun exposure is important in this case.
2. Prescription retinoid creams like Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Refissa, Renova, Differin, and Tazorac: Topical retinoid such as tretinoin is often combined to Topical HQ for your skin to be exfoliated and to be properly penetrated by the ingredient. These needs to be used very cautiously as it can lead to irritation and pigment is increased by irritation. By titrating the dosage, changing the dosage to alternate days, and with a moisturizer base diluting the tretinoin you can reduce retinoid irritation. Creams or micro sponge formulations than gels can be easily tolerable. At night dry you face before putting it on and use it daily. Damp face can lead to irritation as you absorb more. Apply an oil free moisturizer before the retinoid in case of irritation.
3. Over the counter or natural skin lighteners: Natural ski lighteners are aloesin, arbutin, azelaic acid, bearberry extract, Dimethylmethoxy Chroman Palmitate(Chromabright), ferulic acid, Kojic acid, lactic acid, licorice root, lignin peroxides, mulberry bark extract, N-acetyl glucosamine, niacinamide, soy protein, various peptides, and vitamin C especially magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or L-ascorbic acid. Inhibition of tyrosinase producing pigment, dispersing pigment and exfoliating pigment are some of the actions by these lighteners. You can use it over extended periods of time and for speeding up the process you can use other lightening ingredients with it.
4. There is a favorite combination of every dermatologist and skin care company. Aloesin, licorice root, bearberry, niacinamide, the form of active vitamin C magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, (Melfade-J) and Dimethylmethoxy Chroman Palmitate (Chromabright) is contained by our Antioxidant skin lightener. For the exfoliation of abnormal pigment we use it with glycolic and salicylic acids, fruit acids, aloesin containing Correcting serums and papaya containing Antioxidant Enzyme Peel.