Melasma Causes & Treatment
What is Melasma
Melasma is a very common patchy brown, tan, or blur-grey facial skin discolouration, usually seen in women in the reproductive years.
It typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20 – 50 years of age. Melasma is primarily caused by external sun exposure , external hormones like birth control pills, and internal hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy. Most people with melasma have a history of daily or intermittent sun exposure, although heat is also suspected to be underlying factor. Melasma is most common among pregnant women, especially those of Latin and Asian descent. People with olive or darker skin, like Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals ,also have higher incidences of melasma.
What Causes Melasma?
The exact cause of melasma remains unknown. Experts believe that the dark patches in melasma could be triggered by several factors, including pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT and Progesterone ) family history of melasma, race, and melasma , especially in individuals in individuals with general disposition to this condition.
When melasma occurs during pregnancy, it is also called chloasma. Pregnant women experience increase in oestrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) levels during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Melanocytes are the cells in the skin that deposit pigment. However, it is thought that pregnancy-related melasma is caused by the presence of increased levels of progesterone and not due to oestrogen and MSH. Studies have shown that postmenopausal women who receive progesterone hormone therapy are more likely to develop melasma.
In addition, products or treatments that irritate the skin may cause an increase in melanin production and accelerate melasma symptoms.
People with a genetic predisposition or known family history of melasma are at an increased risk of developing melasma. Important prevention methods for these individuals include sun avoidance and application of extra sunblock to avoid stimulation pigment production.
Treatment for Melasma
There are two types of patients suffering from Melasma;
1) Women who developed Melasma due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills . For this group of individuals, the melasma will tend to fade after delivery or once they stop taking the pills.
2) Individuals who developed Melasma due to UV rays and other factors that may last them for years or even the rest of the lives.
There are many treatment options that can help to reduce or remove the patches, however not all treatments work for everyone and melasma may tend to come back even after successful treatment. Dr Thean has devoted his years of aesthetics experience in pigmentation. He has designed this treatment to illuminate dark spots with a range of combinations of lasers and that include yellow laser. With this method, majority of visible unwanted skin spots, discoloration or redness ( blood vessels ) , are rooted in a deeper vascular network of veins that extend beyond the treatable depth of traditional lasers can be addressed.Pigmentations come in different levels of severity. We provide bespoke Melasma treatment in Singapore, where Dr Thean will permutate the combination of treatments best to treat the dark spots.
Options to Treat Melasma
Dr Kenneth Thean