Melasma is a skin condition, common in adults. It is a patch of pigmentation (usually on the face) which 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 which looks like facial hair from a distance and sometimes an irregular pattern on the forehead.
Sufferers can have one or all of these characteristics. In the Clinic, we use a special camera that will highlight these characteristics and will confirm whether the pigmentation is Melasma and not just sun damage.
The cause of melasma is believed to be hormone-related and mainly affect females, it can occur at puberty, pregnancy, menopause and lots of other times hormones changes occur in the body these can be hormone medication, IVF treatments and the birth control pill. Abnormal production of the pigment is created in the dermis( inner layer of skin) and the Epidermis (outer layer of skin) causing irregular patches of pigmentation. The other names for melasma is Cholasma or commonly known as the mask of pregnancy.
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.
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 takes 26 weeks, and positive changes can be seen at 6+ weeks in the majority of cases. The regime continues after the 26 weeks in a modified form to maintain the outcome achieved; this includes a sunscreen that must be used and repeatedly applied throughout the day.