Though it may seem terrifying, Melasma is a common and solely cosmetic skin disorder which causes dark, unusual patches around the face & neck.
Melasma is often brought about from a mix of lengthy sun damage and female hormone fluctuations, which is why it is also recognized as “chloasma faciel,” or the “face of pregnancy.” With the 2 components simultaneously, melanin-generating cells (which are the cause of skin color) enter overdrive, causing skin to look darker than it should in areas.
Alongside pregnancy and genetic factors, Melasma may very well be brought on by contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, skin puffiness, hair waxing, thyroid problems, and high stress levels. Additionally, a number of prescribed medications like tetracycline or quinine can create melanin production.
The recommended way to prevent Melasma, or keep it from getting worse, is to protect the dermis from the sun. Keep out of the sun as much as possible, and if you must stay outdoors long, wear protective clothing and a hat, and be sure to use sunscreen daily to prevent UV radiation. For additional protection, find a sunscreen that has physical blockers such as zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide, with an SPF of no less than 25.
For most pregnant women, Melasma can vanish on its own after giving birth. Sometimes it can persist for several weeks, or even years, before disappearing.
Although there isn’t a true cure for Melasma, there are many ways to reduce the appearance of it by lightening the dark patches with time.
One of the most requested techniques is choosing a hydroquinone-based chemical peel, which, after treatment, can go deep into the layers of the skin to lessen dark pigment and prevent it from forming further.
Superficial peels containing alpha hydroxyacids or glycolic acid can also help, albeit with several more treatments than a hydroquinone chemical peel would need. The up side is that superficial peels have a much easier recovery time. Both of these treatments are available over the counter.
Treatments using a Fraxel laser or intense pulsed light therapy are a more dramatic and expensive choice, but may provide better results at times. Make sure to consult a qualified and licensed clinic for your laser treatment.