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Magic of Hands by Dr. Ravi Mahajan Amandeep Hospital
Magic of Hands by Dr. Ravi Mahajan Amandeep Hospital
Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal

Melasma

What causes melasma?

Melasma is a common skin disorder. Though it can affect anyone, women with darker skin tones (especially Hispanic, Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern) are at greatest risk. Melasma can be associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is especially common in pregnant women, women who are taking oral contraceptives, and women taking hormone replacement therapy during menopause. The use of cosmetics is associated with melasma but the relationship between the two is not understood. Sun exposure is strongly associated with melasma.

What are the symptoms of melasma?

Melasma has no associated symptoms.

What does melasma look like?

Melasma causes irregular tan, brown, or even blue/black patches on parts of the face including cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, jaw line, and upper lip. It is most often symmetrical (matching on both sides of the face).

How is the diagnosis of melasma made?

Your physician can usually diagnose melasma based upon the appearance of your skin. Your physician may want to examine your skin with a Wood’s lamp  or dermoscope to help guide treatment.

What treatment options are available?

The best treatment for melasma is prevention. The key to preventing melasma is sun avoidance and daily sunscreen use. However, for most of us, it is too late for prevention, and there are a number of treatment options available.

Do over the counter lightening creams work for Melasma?

Over-the-counter creams contain 2% hydroquinone, a bleaching agent. These are mild creams that are well tolerated by most people and may gradually lighten Melasma over a couple of months.  In some cases though, these milder creams may not be very effective.  Prescription strength creams containing 4% – 6% hydroquinone are more effective but can have more side effects (redness, peeling, drying).

What SPF is recommended for Melasma?

For those with Melasma, daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or more is recommended. The sunscreen should contain physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to filter out both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Can Melasma be cured?

It’s a chronic condition that develops slowly and can be difficult to treat.  The gradual disappearance of dark patches is based on creating the right treatment combination for each individual and consistant protection from further exposure to the sun. Prevention is the best cure!

Whether Melasma is going to spread all over the face?

 Mostly it is confined to initial areas of involvement; however the intensity of color may vary. In some cases it can spread to other areas of face.

My Melasma returned – what happened?

If your condition is not responding to treatment, or you had a treatment that worked for a while, but now the condition has returned , it’s possible that you are not adeulately protecting your skin from continued exposure to the sun.  Wear protective clothing, including a hat, and apply a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide every time you go outdoors to prevent the return, or persistence, of Melasma.

What are  chemical peels?

Your physician can administer a peel using a variety of different chemicals to remove age spots, melasma, freckles, wrinkles, and fine lines. Chemical peels may smooth and firm the skin and may lighten dark areas gradually. The superficial peels, such as a glycolic acid peel can be done during your lunch hour, and there is no recovery time. Deeper peels are more effective but require longer recovery. See more details under discussion chemical peels.

What are the risks?

Different kinds of peels carry different risks. Superficial peels are usually quite safe. However, you may need a series of superficial peels (done approximately once a month) before you´ll notice improvement. Costs can add up if you choose a series of peels. The risks and benefits vary depending on the kind of peel and need to be discussed in detail with your physicia

What is laser surfacing for melasma?

Laser resurfacing is an in-office treatment where age spots, melasma, wrinkles, and fine lines are “burned” off with a laser. Laser resurfacing can remove most age spots, melasma, and wrinkles, often in just one treatment. Some lasers, such as the CO2 laser are considered the gold standard in terms of facial rejuvenation. With good sun protection, the effects can last up to five years. See more details under discussion of lasers.

What are the risks of laser resurfacing?

Lasers actually remove the outer portion of the skin- called the epidermis. Because of this, you may experience some pain as well as redness and peeling. You may even form scabs in the days after the procedure. Expect recovery time of at least a week. Laser therapy is also expensive.

What is Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) ?

IPL is one of the newer forms of facial rejuvenation. Unlike lasers, which use intense, focused light, IPL is intense broadband light. Although IPL delivers energy to both the superficial and deep layers of the skin, the epidermis is spared from damage. Thus, there is virtually no recovery time.  IPL can smooth the skin and fade age spots, freckles, melasma, and even broken blood vessels. Improvements usually last for about a year with good sun protection.

What are the risks of IPL?

IPL is safer than laser therapy because IPL does not damage the epidermis. There may be some pain during the procedure but no recovery time. Unlike laser therapy, however, you may need multiple treatments (average is 4-6, at three weeks intervals) to get the full benefit. The cost is variable, but is usually more expensive than peels and less expensive than lasers. The risks and benefits of IPL therapy need to be discussed in detail with your physician.

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