Melasma, what does this word mean? It is a skin condition,where some blue or brownish patches appear on it. It is often called the mask of pregnancy(very common among pregnant women).
Melasma happens because of over-production of cells that make the color of the skin.
Usually, it is harmless and very common among people from the age of 20-40 years. It is possible to treat melasma (in most cases, it fades away in a few months).
Melasma is not a new skin concern. In fact, it dates back to the time of Hyppocrates(almost around 360 BC).
Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that melasma cannot be cured. But like any other chronic disease, it can definitely be kept under control. We should remember that reduction is more feasible than cure!
- Melasma : what does it mean?
- Causes of melasma
- How do we treat it?
How can we keep melasma under control? But first let's take a look at the meaning of melasma.
Melasma: Does it ring a bell?
As we know, melasma is a skin condition that creates blue or brownish flakes, or sometimes patch-like structures on our skin.
Did you know that it is one of the common skin care concerns that occurs largely in women than in men?Approximately 90 percent of women are prone to experience this between the ages of 20-40 years.
In technical terms, it can be defined as an acquired pigmentation disorder that is responsible for symmetric patches or flakes on the cheeks and other parts of theface!
It mostly affects the cheeks, forehead and chin. The most common pattern of melasma is called centrofacial pattern(patches on the forehead, inner cheeks, upper lip and center of chin).
There are other patterns of melasma, which include mandibular and malar patterns(mainly affects the chin and under the eyes).
Melanin is the cause for discoloration of the skin.
For normal skin types, melanin is only found in the outermost layer of the skin(epidermis). In the case of melasma skin concern,the melanin seeps further into the next layer, called the dermis. If the melanin is only present only in the outer layer, it maymight be possible to remove it easily. However, once melanin is present in the next layer, it becomes difficult to treat or remove the patch.
But what causes it?
Although the development of melasma is still not fully understood, there are some factors that could be the reason behind these colorful patches on the skin.
We only want to obtain good genes from our parents, right? But reality is different! Along with the good ones, bad ones also find their way to us. Growth factors and proteins have found a role in melasma (they are found to be down-regulated in the skin).
We are always advised to go out and soak under the sun for some Vitamin D. But no one emphasizes the fact that, as much as the sun is good for replenishing our vitamin content, it can also be dangerous to our skin. We all know how harmful the rays of the sun can be. The ultraviolet rays of the sun (UV rays) stimulate new blood vessels that can increase melanin production on the skin. This can be avoided by applying a sunscreen (preferably with blue light).
The basement membrane is located between the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and dermis (the inner layer). It prevents melanin from entering the dermis. Once this is compromised, melanin enters the dermis, causing melasma 101. This can of course be prevented by applying sunscreen and also adding Vitamin A foods to our diet.
Hormones of course!
Hormones as we know have a huge influence on our skin texture. Imbalance of hormones causes acne, breakouts and, even worse, melasma. It is very common during birth control time and pregnancy, when these hormones trigger melanin production. 10-25% of the women who consume contraceptive pills, often tend to see visible patches on their skin which is nothing but melasma. All thanks to hormonal imbalance. Now coming to thyroid issues, patients with this disorder are four times more prone to the risk of melasma than a person without this disorder. Researchers have found a strong connection between hyperthyroidism and melasma.
Balancing hormones can be a key treatment for melasma. It can be as simple as exercising or walking or even following a healthy diet to keep the hormones in check! A lot of people have noticed visible changes (positive) once they put their health on track.
After seeing the causes, the article would be incomplete without talking about how to treat it.
Realize the reality of ‘no cure’
Prepare your mind to understand that there's actually no cure for melasma. But the good news? With a diligent skin regiment, it can be kept under control. . This requires a lot of patience.
It takes time
When you start a skin regimen, wait for at least 6 months to see the changes on your skin.
Consistency is the key
Being persistent and consistent is the go-to mantra for reducing the effects of common skin concerns. Also remember that the results may be unpredictable, but there is no harm in giving a try to take care of your skin.
Attack That Dark Patch With These Treatments
First level treatment - reduce exposure to the sun and its UV rays by regular application of sunscreens. A good physical sunscreen is recommended (to be reapplied every two hours).
Second level treatment- different skin concerns require different treatments. Melasma 101 has three levels of treatment, the second being a skincare routine to reduce existing blemishes and prevent further ones.
Third level treatment - Once your skin is ready with some basic skincare, you can move on to chemical peels that lighten the skin pigment. Microneedling is also a good alternative.
Melasama is indeed a complex skin condition that needs careful monitoring. Everything starts with a basic skin care routine as approved by your dermatologist. Always try to use products that are proven to fight your skin concerns.
Let's have a look at the skintelligent way of treating melasma!
Skin Brightening Face Cleanser Proven To Even Out With Kakadu Plum & Licorice Root
‘Cleanse gently yet thoroughly’ is the motto of this cleanser. Cleansers are a must in skin care regimens, especially if you have sensitive and pigmented skin.
- Kakadu plum, rich in Vitamin C and boosts skin brightening
- Licorice Root is proven to reverse hyperpigmentation.
To prevent recurrence:
- Lactic acid, a natural AHA that helps skin elasticity and lightens dark spots
- Arginine PCA is a natural amino acid which captures skin moisture and keeps it hydrated all day long.
Deep Hydration Serum For Dry Skin With Licorice Root & Turmeric
Would you believe if I told you, your skin can stay hydrated for up to eight hours without reapplying? If not, check this serum for yourself!
- Lactic Acid helps your skin to stay elastic, smooth and more flexible
- Sodium hyaluronate has the magical duality to moisturize skin and reduce inflammation.
To prevent recurrence:
- Squalene reduces the appearance of fine lines
- Turmeric acts as a powerful antioxidant to eliminate free radicals