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Melasma: Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Title: Melasma: Symptoms, causes and treatment


1
Melasma
2
Melasma
  • Melasma is a skin condition that is associated
    with female hormones, and overexposure to sun
    rays. It is also known as chloasma, or the mask
    of pregnancy. Areas such as forehead, cheekbones
    and the upper lip are prone to developing
    melasma. However, it can also affect the chin,
    nose, sides of the neck and lower cheeks. It is
    an acquired condition, characterized by
    development of brown patches on the skin of the
    face and the neck. This condition is more common
    in women, than men. It generally occurs during
    the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Young
    women with brownish skin tones are more
    susceptible to this disorder. Although it is not
    a hazardous disease, it affects the appearance of
    a person, particularly making women, overtly
    self-conscious.

3
What are the causes of Melasma?
  • Melasma is caused by a combination of hormonal,
    genetic and sun-related factors. It is usually
    associated with the female hormones. Research
    indicates that melasma is caused due to the
    over-production of melanocytes. Melanocytes are
    skin cells that secrete melanin a pigment
    responsible for lending colour to our skin. It is
    more commonly seen in young women taking
    contraceptive pills and also during pregnancy.
  • Melasma is also found to be associated
    with hormonal imbalance, menopauseand ovarian
    disorders. It may be triggered by a medication
    known as phenytoin or tetracycline.
  • A prolonged exposure to sun is also responsible
    for developing melasma.
  • Another cause of melasma could be the use of
    certain beauty products that may further
    stimulate the production of melanocytes.

4
Symptoms
  • Melasma causes irregular, brown or greyish-brown
    patches on the skin of the face and the neck. The
    brown-coloured patches are seen on the forehead,
    nose, cheeks, and the upper lip. They result from
    the increased amounts of skin pigment, called
    melanin. In some rare cases, there may be skin
    discoloration on both arms. There may be
    epidermal melasma (increased pigment in the
    epidermis) or dermal melasma (increased pigment
    present deeply in the dermis), or a combination
    of both.

5
Treatments
  • Melasma is generally related to pregnancy, and
    fades gradually after delivery. Similarly, the
    pigmentation gradually disappears when you
    discontinue the oral contraceptives. Darkening is
    likely to recur with reintroduction of
    contraceptive pills or subsequent pregnancy. 
  • As the exposure to sunrays is one of the most
    prominent causes of melasma, use of sunscreens or
    sunblocks is an important treatment option.
  • You should avoid exposure to ultraviolet light of
    the sun or tanning booths as much as possible.
  • Depigmenting agents, bleaching creams, or vitamin
    A derivatives are also prescribed to reduce
    the skin pigmentation.

6
Treatments
Continue
  • Hydroquinone is the most commonly used agent. It
    can also be combined with some other agents such
    as glycolic acid to enhance its effect. Its
    effect is quite slow and occurs after several
    months.
  • Besides the creams, other techniques such as
    microdermabrasion, chemical peel and laser
    treatment are also used to treat melasma. A
    chemical peeling with tri-chloro-acetic (TCA)
    acid or glycolic acid could give rapid results.

7
Natural Remedies for Melasma
  • Lemon juice is known to help treat melasma. It
    works well for the discoloured skin patches. All
    you need to do is to squeeze a few drops of lemon
    juice in a bowl, and apply the same to the
    affected area. Leave the smear for 15 to 20
    minutes and rinse hereafter. You may also choose
    to add cucumber juice to the lemon drops and
    apply the concoction all over the face. Leave the
    application overnight and rinse it off next
    morning. The effectiveness is proven, only when
    you continue with this regimen 3 to 4 times a
    week.  Potato juice is also a resourceful agent
    used for lightening the pigmented skin patches.
    You may apply the juice and wash it off when you
    experience a skin stretch. 

8
Natural Remedies for Melasma
Continue
  • Considering the treatment options offered, you
    must bear in mind that the treatment for melasma
    is slow, and takes several months for the desired
    results. The effectiveness of treatment depends
    upon the depth of pigmentation and differs from
    person to person. A skin pigmentation lightening
    lotion may work very well for an acquaintance,
    however, may not prove to be as effective, in
    your case or vice versa.

9
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