Understanding melasma: Discovering the causes, prevention strategies, and effective treatment options

May 30, 2023 05:06 PM IST

Melasma, a complex skin condition, poses challenges for many. Explore its causes, prevention, and treatment options, with insights provided by a dermatologist.

Melasma, the enigmatic skin condition, casts its shadow on countless individuals, challenging their confidence and leaving them yearning for a solution. Those elusive dark patches on the face can feel like an unwelcome visitor, but understanding the causes and exploring effective treatment options can help illuminate the path to brighter, more radiant skin. Join us as we empower you with the insights and tools necessary to conquer melasma and restore your skin's natural glow. It's time to bid farewell to those unwanted dark patches and embrace the beauty that lies within because radiant skin is within your reach. (Also read: 5 things you need to know if you have melasma )

Melasma, a prevalent skin condition, manifests as dark patches on the face and can significantly impact one's self-esteem.(Freepik )
Melasma, a prevalent skin condition, manifests as dark patches on the face and can significantly impact one's self-esteem.(Freepik )

Dr. Sonia Tekchandani, Celebrity Dermatologist and Founder of Tender Skin International, shares with HT Lifestyle, the intricacies of melasma, its underlying factors and effective treatment approaches.

What is melasma?

Dr. Sonia explained, "Melasma is a skin condition that causes dark patches to appear on the face, most commonly on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. The patches may be symmetrical or uneven and are usually more pronounced in areas that are exposed to the sun. Melasma is more common in women than men, and it is often associated with pregnancy or the use of birth control pills."

What causes melasma?

Dr. Sonia revealed that the exact cause of melasma is not known, but several factors can contribute to its development. These factors include:

1. Sun exposure

Sun exposure is the most common cause of melasma. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can trigger the overproduction of melanin, causing dark patches or spots to form on the skin. It is crucial to wear sunscreen with a high SPF, even on cloudy days, to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

2. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills, can cause melasma. This is because these changes can stimulate the production of melanin, causing dark patches or spots to form on the skin. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills should take extra precautions to protect their skin from the sun.

3. Genetics

Genetics can also play a role in the development of melasma. If your parents or other family members have melasma, you may be more likely to develop it as well. However, just because you have a family history of melasma does not mean that you will develop it too.

4. Skin type

Melasma is more common in people with darker skin tones, as they naturally produce more melanin than people with lighter skin.

How is melasma treated?

Dr. Sonia told that while melasma cannot be cured, there are treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of patches on the skin. These include:

  • Sun protection: Wearing sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure can help prevent melasma from getting worse.
  • Chemical peels: Chemical peels can help reduce the appearance of melasma by removing the top layer of skin, which contains the patches.
  • Laser therapy: Laser therapy can be used to target and destroy the cells that produce melanin, reducing the appearance of melasma.

Can it be prevented?

Melasma can be prevented by taking small steps and making minor changes to lifestyle. Here are some tips suggested by Dr. Sonia.

1. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days.

2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face from the sun.

3. Avoid going outside during peak sun hours.

4. Use gentle skincare products that do not irritate your skin.

5. Avoid waxing or threading your face, as this can irritate your skin.

"While it is not a serious medical condition, melasma can significantly impact one's self-esteem and quality of life. Fortunately, with the right treatment and management, most people can reduce the appearance of their melasma and prevent it from worsening. It's essential to seek professional advice from a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause of your melasma and the most effective treatment options for your specific skin type," concludes Dr. Sonia Tekchandani.

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