Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Devanshi Singh (Beauty Expert) on 25th Feb 2021
What is Melasma and how to treat it?
We all are aware of the simple fact that not all of us have perfect skin. Some of us have loose, baggy skin, whereas some of us have discolored skin. Thus, in case you are also one of such people who do not have perfect skin and have discolored, dark patches, then you have landed on the perfect page.
This article is all you need to know about your dark, discolored skin condition, referred to as melasma. We have covered it all, from its definition to its symptoms, cures, and expert advice. Thus, to know everything, do read the article below.
What is Melasma?
Melasma (or as we often term it as chloasma) is nothing but a skin condition where the affected person develops dark, discolored (more likely blue, black, or grey) patches on their skin.
You might not know this but, melasma is usually referred to as 'Mask of Pregnancy.' The reason is pretty obvious, but still, to clear any confusion, people call it 'mask of pregnancy' when it occurs in pregnant women.
However, do not worry about melasma, as it is usually observed that the skin disorder melasma fades away with time. Moreover, it would help if you knew that they tend to increase during summertime and decrease during the cold season.
How can you know if you have melasma?
In more simple terms, melasma is a common skin disorder of black spots. Thus, if you notice discolored dark patches on your skin (often blue, black, and grey), then there are high chances that you are suffering from melasma. They can either be plain flat patches or freckles-like patches.
If you can somehow not figure out yourself if you have melasma or not, then it is always safe to consult a dermatologist.
How will a dermatologist diagnose your melasma?
A dermat will be easily able to tell you if you have the disorder just by inspecting your skin.
Also, if you go to the dermat, there is a slight possibility that he or she might even use equipment called wood's light to study your skin. They will be doing this to know how deep is the melasma. They can even perform a skin biopsy, a simple process in which they take your skin to confirm melasma disorder and not any other skin disorder.
However no need to worry as in some cases, it even lightens away with time. As a result of melasma's overall reputation, it is considered harmless. However, on the other hand, it tends to make people less confident and self-conscious about themselves.
Where does melasma usually occur on your skin?
As per the studies and researches, mostly 90% of the people who suffer from melasma are women.
Any person likely to have melasma will notice discolored patches on their skin, mostly their face (usually in a symmetrical pattern and in places like your chin, nose, and forehead).
However, it is not like melasma occurs only on your face. It can even occur on your neck and forearms.
If you see such patches developing on your skin, you must seek medical guidance and make sure that it does not worsen.
What causes melasma?
It is believed that the primary reason behind melasma, a peculiar skin condition, is hormonal imbalance, estrogen, and progesterone sensitivity of the person.
However, below is the list of individuals who are more likely to develop melasma.
- Women are more likely to have this skin disorder than men.
- People with dark skin color have a higher chance than fair ones.
- Individuals with a family history of melasma also have high chances of suffering from it.
The researchers and doctors still do not have a definite idea about what causes melasma.
The color-making cells, or as we call it, melanocytes, are behind this disorder. Melasma occurs when the color-making cells produce way too much color.
Besides color-making cells, UV exposure, hormonal imbalance, and even some of your skincare products can cause melasma.
As mentioned above, melasma gets worse in the hot season. The reason behind this is the common fact that in summers, you are exposed to harsh UV rays, which stimulate your melanocytes.
As we all know, most pregnant women end up suffering from melasma because they suffer from loads of hormonal imbalance and medications during their pregnancy, which can surely trigger melasma.
How do the experts treat melasma?
There are two things possible if you suffer from melasma. Either they will fade away with time from your skin, or you will have to take your dermatologist's help to treat it.
If the first thing happens, then I must say you are lucky as hell.
But if not, you will have to take help from the experts.
The experts will guide you correctly about which melasma treatment could be apt for you.
The first and foremost way is using hydroquinone.
Ig, the patient, regularly applies the hydroquinone on their marks, then it will help to a great extent in lightening their scars.
As hydroquinone is a necessary treatment for melasma, you can easily buy it in the product form from any pharmacy. And the best thing is sometimes you do not even need a doctor's prescription for buying it.
You can buy hydroquinone in all forms (lotions, creams, and even gels).
Another way to lighten away your marks is to use tretinoin and corticosteroids. This is something that your dermat will only be able to prescribe you. Moreover, you are advised to get a product with all three, hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids, in some cases.
Sometimes, dermatitis even prescribes azelaic acid or kojic acid to help their patients lighten their patches.
However, if the regular application of creams does not help your patches and marks, the experts may suggest you undergo the same procedures. These procedures consist of several things like:
- chemical peel
- laser treatment
- A light-based process
What can you do on your part for melasma?
The first and foremost thing you can do is get comfortable with the fact that melasma is just a skin condition and should not affect your confidence in any way possible.
You are beautiful in every possible way, no matter your skin color or how many dark-colored patches you have on your skin.
No patches or marks should be able to make you feel conscious and less confident.
Own your skin like a pro!
If you do this, then the journey to fight melasma will become way easier for you.
Some crucial tips and tricks you can follow to fight your melasma make it less noticeable:
- Always use an SPF (30 or above) to protect yourself from the harsh UV rays.
- Attempt to cover your face with a scarf or oversized sunglasses to save yourself from the sun. The harsh UV rays or sun rays can trigger your color-making cells and make your skin condition even worse.
- You must also avoid waxing over the parts of your body infected with melasma, as it may worsen the condition by causing skin inflammation. Moreover, it would help if you were careful while choosing your skincare products to avoid worsening your melasma.