Melasma is a skin condition, common in adults. It is a patch of pigmentation (usually on the face) that is brown in colour. It is more common in women and, even more so, in pregnant women. Melasma is more frequently seen during the summer when the skin has been exposed to the sun and is likely to tan, and it tends to fade during the colder months. Melasma is not contagious and is not cancerous.
Unlike normal pigmentation caused by the sun or sunbeds, Melasma is typically seen on the face. It is characterised by a similar butterfly pattern on the cheeks, a darker upper lip that looks like facial hair from a distance and is sometimes found in an irregular pattern on the forehead. Sufferers can have one or all of these characteristics. In our Clinic, we use a special camera that will highlight these characteristics and will confirm whether the pigmentation is Melasma or just sun damage.
The cause of melasma is believed to be hormone-related and mainly affects females, it can occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and lots of other times when hormone changes occur in the body. These instances can be hormone medication, IVF treatments and birth control pills. Abnormal production of the pigment is created in the dermis (the inner layer of skin) and the Epidermis (the outer layer of skin) causing irregular patches of pigmentation.
The other name for melasma is Cholasma or commonly known as the mask of pregnancy. With this experience in mind and an understanding of how resistant the condition is to treatment, we have, we have found that the best treatment to help with the appearance of Melasma is the Obagi Nu-Derm.
This prescription-only skin treatment regime has been formulated to synergistically work on all the layers of the skin that are affected. It calms the overproduction of pigment and corrects and transforms the skin.
The treatment can take up to 26 weeks, and positive changes can be seen at 6+ weeks in the majority of cases. The regime continues after the initial treatment in a modified form to maintain the outcome achieved; this includes a sunscreen that must be used and repeatedly applied throughout the day.
If you would like to discuss Melasma Treatment, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team who will happily arrange a consultation for you. You start your journey with a consultation and test patch. During your consultation, we will suggest a treatment plan to help you achieve your goal and, following your test patch, you can start treatment as soon as 24 hours later.
This is a difficult condition to treat as – unlike a suntan which will affect the upper layers of the skin and will fade with time – Melasma can affect the epidermis (top layer of the skin) as well as the dermis (deeper layer of the skin).
There is also an inflammatory aspect to this skin condition which causes redness. This redness can, in turn, make the pigmentation look darker.
Over the years, lasers, peels and topical prescription products have been used to treat melasma. These treatments require compliance, and in some cases, they either don’t work or have made the condition worse. One of the best treatments on the market today is Obagi nu-derm.
Obagi Nu-Derm is a complete skin care system specially formulated to help correct hyperpigmentation, such as sunspots, pigmentation treatment and melasma, as well as improve the appearance of ageing skin. At The Skin to Love Clinic you will be under the care of one of our aesthetic practitioners for this treatment.
Yes. This is the only way we treat melasma at The Skin to Love Clinic. Dermal melasma will materialise in dark patches of skin or skin irritation. These discoloured patches of fair skin are a form of epidermal melasma. Melasma appears as one of the more common skin disorders in pregnant women. Facial melasma diagnosed, even on the upper lip, by a registered dermatologist is easily treatable.
No, Melasma is not contagious and is not a form of skin cancer.
The Symptoms of melasma include discolouration. Melasma causes patches of discolouration. The patches are darker than your usual skin colour. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to the sun can also develop melasma.
In short, melasma is due to hormones. You may have heard it being called the ‘mask of pregnancy’ because it often appears during this time, in fact up to 50% of women may be affected during pregnancy, however, there are other contributing factors and men can also suffer from this skin condition.
The exact cause of melasma isn’t known but there are several factors that are known to help it develop. These include hormonal birth control pills, hormone replacement drugs, pregnancy, medical issues that impact your hormones such as thyroid issues and some medications, such as those taken by epileptics.
Melasma is a darkening effect of the facial skin, resulting in brown patches most commonly found on the forehead, cheeks, nose and lip. Sun exposure can trigger melasma because the pigment cells that contain kojic acid and azelaic acid in the skin are responsible for producing colour in the skin and are stimulated by UV rays from the sun.
We advise using these sun safety tips protect your skin, using SPF 50 which comes with the kit, with regular application throughout the day and suggest using a hat to further reduce the risk of damage. Although patients do not need to totally avoid sun exposure, the skin is more sensitive during treatment and requires more protection than usual.
Sun protection is vital, so continue using a high-factor daily SPF following the completion of your Obagi course to help to maintain your results; new hyperpigmentation may be stimulated post-treatment if the skin is exposed to UV rays from not investing in sun protection.
Melasma is a very stubborn form of hyperpigmentation or discoloured patches of skin, these dark patches are arguably the world’s most annoying skin issue. Not only is melasma triggered by a bunch of different things but once you get it, it doesn’t just magically go away on its own, even if you throw a bunch of brightening ingredients or skin-lightening creams at it.
Melasma is also temperamental, so if you use too-harsh products or the wrong treatments to try and fade it, you can actually end up making your melasma worse. Melasma happens when melanocytes—the cells that produce melanin in your skin—become overactive and produce an excessive amount of pigment-producing cells.
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