Melasma is facial discoloration with dark patches appearing on the skin due to excessive production of melanin. Melanin is a natural substance responsible for the colour of our skin, hair and eyes. Melasma is also called Chloasma faciei, the mask of pregnancy usually found in pregnant women especially those on oral contraceptives and hormonal treatments. This is usually found in adults and the name is acquired from the Greek word melas meaning black. The condition is more noticeable in summer and in people with dark skin living in sunny climates. It is not an infection and it is not contagious.
Some contributing factors to melasma are:
- Hormonal drugs
- Oral contraceptives
- Excessive exposure to sunshine
Melasma is diagnosed visually and recognised by its unique pigmentation and distribution on the face. A small facial sample may be taken and examined under the microscope to accurately confirm the diagnosis.
There are several topical treatments for melasma. De-pigmenting agents such as hydroquinone (HQ) are available. HQ is a topical chemical that can arrest the enzyme Tyrosinase responsible for the production of melanin. Besides this, Tretinoin acid is known to increase keratinocytes but cannot be used in pregnancy and azelaic acid decreases the activity of melanocytes. Where all these treatments are tedious and can be very gradual with or without resultant effects, New Look Skin Clinic conducts effective microdermabrasion, chemical peeling and laser resurfacing to counter melasma.
- Microdermabrasion uses a high speed hand-held device which blasts abrasive crystals on the skin removing the top layer of the skin. It is considered as the most expedient methods of treatment of melasma as against invasive surgery.
- Chemical Peels: New Look Skin Clinic specializes in facial skin treatments with Agera Peels, Glycolic Peels, Salicylic acid Peels and TCA Peels. All of them are potent and effective treatments and are known to produce dramatic results.
- Laser resurfacing – Intense Pulse light (IPL) and Fraxel laser are the two types of lasers used in the treatment of melasma. IPL targets the brown pigment of the skin and uses the process of photothermolysis. The pigment is heated up and broken down and flaked off due to the heat. Fraxel is FDA approved and this laser causes minute injuries to the deeper layers of the skin surface prompting the pigment to climb to the surface and fall off.