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What is Melasma? Let’s Shed Light on it and Discover the Solution

Jan 15/ 2022 / By Harry / in Articles

What is Melasma? Let’s Shed Light on it and Discover the Solution

Melasma, derived from the Greek word melas, meaning black, is a common skin disease associated with facial skin. It is a skin disease that people often pay attention to, due to the psychological impacts that melasma is associated with. But do not worry, because melasma is a common skin disease. It affects approximately 50 to 75 percent of expectant mothers.

Melasma often affects the cheeks, the upper lips, the chin, and the forehead. You can spot melasma by brown or blue-gray patches or freckle-like spots on your skin. The skin disease is often called the “mask of pregnancy” because melasma can be caused by the steep rise in estrogen and progesterone levels, which happens mostly during pregnancy. This can stimulate excess production of melanin, which is also known as hyperpigmentation.

The lesions caused by melasma can range in color from light brown to dark brown and black. There are also a few patterns of melasma that appear. These clinical patterns are centrofacial, malar, and mandibular. The centrofacial pattern is the most common, which involves the cheeks, nose, forehead, upper lip, and chin. The malar pattern involves the cheeks and nose, while the mandibular pattern involves the ramus of the mandible, hence the name. Melasma can also be categorized by the depth of the pigment. The three types of melasma are epidermal, dermal, and mixed melasma. Epidermal melasma has a dark brown color, a well-defined border, and appears obvious under black light. Dermal melasma has a light brown or blueish color, a blurry border, and does not appear under black light. The last type, mixed melasma, which is the most common, has both blueish and brown patches and shows a mixed pattern under black light. Epidermal melasma sometimes responds well to treatment, while dermal melasma does not. Mixed melasma often shows some response to treatment.

Melasma is often associated with major emotional and psychological effects because it causes some disfigurement of the face. Currently, there is no ultimate medication for the disease, but various kinds of medication with different levels of effectiveness have been developed. Nonetheless, the disease often occurs more than once. The most favored method of medication is by topical agents, either used alone or combined with other medications. The most effective method of treatment for melasma is currently a combination of hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroid. Other than that, chemical peels and devices using light and laser can also be used, although they may have mixed results. The disease can reoccur with exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet rays. Because of that, people who suffer from melasma should plan a long-term treatment for the disease.

Hydroquinone, also known as dihydroxybenzene, is used to treat melasma. It contains hydroxyphenyl, with similar structures to precursors of melanin. Hydroquinone can be used to treat melasma because it can inhibit melanin production. It is one of the most frequently used agents for depigmentation all over the world and is part of the gold standard for the treatment of melasma, especially epidermal melasma. Melasma treatment typically uses hydroquinone at 2 to 5% concentration, which you can use by rubbing it evenly to the skin parts that suffer from hyperpigmentation every 12 hours. It is recommended to use the medication once in the morning and once in the evening.

Although you can use hydroquinone to treat melasma, you should be careful in using it. Do not use the medication on the areas around your eyes, and in your nose and mouth. Do not use hydroquinone on wounded, dry, and irritated skin. Regardless, hydroquinone is a simple, effective, and remarkable treatment for melasma.