Sun exposure can cause the skin to develop multiple conditions. Melasma is one of them. It appears as brown or grey patches on the face. Common facial areas that are affected include the forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip, and the chin. Some may also experience it on other parts of their body that are frequently exposed to the sun.
As our environment worsens and the sun become harsher, it has become even more important to learn about proper sun protection. Melasma can be prevented if proper care against the sun is taken. Instead of waiting for melasma to develop and investing in treatments later, it is best to invest in quality sunscreens and take measures to avoid exposure. This includes wearing wide-brimmed hats and clothes that provide extra coverage during sunny days.
However, treatment is possible if you do develop Melasma. You can easily detect it yourself given the appearance of the brown and grey patches. You can also consult a dermatologist to make sure you have Melasma. It is not painful but can damage the appearance of the face.
Scientific Cause of Melasma
It is difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of this skin condition. But experts explain that it occurs when the skin’s color-producing cells, or melanocytes, begin to produce more color than necessary.
Melasma Risks and Triggers
- More women are at risk of developing Melasma than men
- People with darker skin tones are vulnerable
- The risk is higher if a blood relative has had Melasma
Apart from sun exposure, Melasma can be triggered by a hormonal change and skin care products. Hormonal changes make Melasma a greater risk for women. It can occur during the months of pregnancy or when women use birth control pills.
Treatments for Melasma
For some people, Melasma may go away without any treatment. Many people start using sunscreen and avoid going out during harsh sunny days once they develop Melasma which allows the skin to heal on its own.
If you have Melasma that is not healing, it is a good idea to consult a dermatologist. They often prescribe creams that contain hydroquinone (HQ), azelaic acid, retinoic acid, kojic acid, and non-phenolic bleaching agents. These creams may contain one or more of these agents. For very severe cases, the doctor will recommend using creams with higher HQ and may combine it with other ingredients as well.
After a Melasma treatment, people often complain of skin irritation but it is not a permanent issue. On the other hand, using HQ in very high concentration can cause the skin to discolor. HQ should be stopped using once you start showing signs of discoloration.
It is also possible that once you have Melasma, it may occur again; even after treatment. The main reason is being exposed to sun frequently. Therefore, it is important to invest in sun protection for your skin in order to reduce your vulnerability to this condition.
If you have Melasma that is not healing, consult one of our experts at BH Skin.