Melasma is a common skin condition that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin.
It can also appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, like the neck and forearms. Men and women of all ages and races can get melasma. See how doctors deal with difficult cases of melasma on this page: https://onefaceclinic.com/melasma-treatment-singapore-dr-david-ng-c-h-shares-how-he-tackled-3-tough-cases/.
Now, there are three types of melasma:
- Epidermal: This is the most common type. It affects the top layer of skin called the epidermis. The patches look duller than your normal skin color. They’re also more defined, with well-defined borders.
- Dermal: This type goes deeper into your skin than epidermal melasma. It affects the layer below the epidermis called the dermis. The patches often look thinner and have diffuse borders, which mean they’re not as well defined.
- Mixed Melasma: This occurs when both the epidermis and dermis are affected.
Symptoms of melasma include:
- Skin discoloration
- Dark patches on the face
- Patches on the forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip, and chin
- Patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray discoloration
- Irregular borders
What are the Causes of Melasma
The exact cause of melasma is unknown. However, there are certain factors that may contribute to the development of this condition, such as:
- Hormonal changes: Melasma is often associated with hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or taking birth control pills. That best explains why melasma is sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.”
- Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can trigger or worsen melasma. This is why the condition is often worse in the summer and improves in the winter.
- Genetic predisposition: A genetic predisposition may be an important influence in the development of melasma. Studies suggest that females are more likely to develop melasma than males.
How is Melasma Treated?
While melasma is benign and usually doesn’t require treatment, some people may want to treat it for cosmetic reasons. Treatment options include:
- Topical creams: These are applied to the skin and can help lighten the dark patches. These creams can contain steroids, retinoids, glycolic acid, or hydroquinone. They work by lightening the skin and reducing inflammation. Topical creams are usually applied once or twice a day for several weeks or months. Some people may experience side effects from topical creams, such as dryness, redness, and irritation. If you have any concerns about using a topical cream for melasma, talk to your doctor or dermatologist.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels can be used to treat melasma. They work by removing the top layer of skin, which contains the pigmented cells that cause the discoloration. Medium peels penetrate deeper into the skin and are used to treat moderate melasma. Deep peels are the most invasive and are used to treat severe melasma. Chemical peels can be done at a dermatologist’s office or a spa. The type of peel and the number of treatments needed will depend on the severity of the melasma. Side effects of chemical peels include redness, swelling, blistering, and crusting of the skin. These side effects are usually temporary and will resolve within a few days to weeks. More serious side effects, such as infection and scarring, are rare but possible. Anyone considering a chemical peel should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a medical treatment that uses focused light to treat various conditions. Laser therapy can also be used to treat melasma. The light from the laser destroys the melanin, or pigment, in the skin. This can help lighten the affected areas and improve the appearance of melasma. Laser therapy can also help stimulate collagen production and improve the skin’s overall texture. A course of laser therapy treatments is typically required for best results. However, there is a risk of side effects with laser therapy, including temporary redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin. More severe side effects, such as infection and scarring, are rare but possible. Anyone considering laser therapy should consult with a board-certified dermatologist to see if it is right for them.
Do Lasers make Melasma Worse Though?
Lasers are sometimes used to treat melasma. But there’s some concern that the heat from lasers may actually make the condition worse, and that’s why most people ask; do lasers really make melasma worse?
Now, the use of lasers to treat melasma comes with a certain amount of risk. While the laser may remove the existing melasma, it can also cause further damage to the skin.
This damage can lead to other blemishes and skin issues in the future. For this reason, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits of laser treatment before deciding whether or not to undergo the procedure.
One should also be sure to consult with a qualified dermatologist to ensure that the treatment will be safe and effective. A board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon will be keen to assess your individual case and offer you the best possible treatment plan.
How to Reduce the Risk of Laser Treatment Causing Further Pigmentation Problems
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of laser treatment making your melasma worse. They include;
- Making sure that you only receive laser treatments from a qualified and experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
- Be sure to follow all aftercare instructions carefully to minimize the risk of infection or other complications.
- Be sure to use sunscreen religiously after your laser treatment to protect your skin from further damage.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your laser treatment is safe and effective. And if you do experience any problems after your treatment, be sure to consult with your dermatologist right away.
Even though there is a risk of laser therapy making your melasma worse, this risk can be minimized by working with a qualified and experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon. That said, don’t just take our word for it: be sure to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to get the best possible treatment plan for your individual needs.
We offer a variety of laser treatments that can be customized to your specific needs. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you achieve clear and beautiful skin, contact us today to book a consultation.