Melasma is a skin disorder characterized by discoloration to the skin on the face, usually presenting as a patchy brown, tan or blue-gray color, most often on the bridge of the nose, along the cheekbones, upper lip and jawline. It can also develop on other parts of the body, such as the breast bone, décolletage and the arms.
The condition is more likely to occur in women of reproductive age and is mainly experienced by those with olive and darker skin. Men can also suffer from the disorder but such cases are extremely rare.
The cause of melasma is still uncertain but it is believed to be triggered by excessive sun exposure, the hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, certain hormone treatments and the use of birth control pills. In cases when melasma develops as a result of pregnancy, the condition may improve after childbirth and once normal hormonal balance is regained; melasma that develops after hormone treatment and use of birth control pills can also improve once treatment finishes or the use of birth control pills is stopped.
Melasma can be prevented or the visible effects minimized by avoiding exposure of the face to the sun, particularly in peak sunlight hours, and by using products with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and covering up with long-sleeved clothing, hats and sunglasses to minimize potential sun damage.
What does the treatment of Melasma involve?
The most common treatment for Melasma the twice-daily application of topical creams containing a minimum of 2% hydroquinone. The treatment continues until the abnormal pigmentation is neutralized and skin colour is back to normal.
Will I feel any pain during Melasma treatment?
Topical treatment for melasma. In rare cases irritation may develop, in which case the treatment would need to be discontinued temporarily or another topical formulation used instead. Your dermatologist would be able to advise in the unlikely event of this occurring.
How long does it take to treat Melasma?
The duration of treatment will vary from patient to patient, depending upon the severity of the condition, the size and location of the areas to be treated and other related factors. Your dermatologist will be able to give more precise feedback once you have been examined during your initial consultation.
How long do the results of Melasma treatment last?
There is no permanent cure for melasma but treatment is generally very effective in reducing the appearance of the condition. How long the results last will vary from patient to patient and depends upon a range of factors. Your dermatologist will be able to advise as to how long you can expect the results to last in line with your individual case. In any case, avoiding exposure to the sun, use of SPF products and covering up when outside will help to avoid the condition worsening, as well as the likelihood of recurrence following successful treatment.
How much does treatment for Melasma cost?
Treatment costs will vary depending on the size of the area or areas to be treated and the severity of the condition. For an accurate cost assessment, you will need to book an initial consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists.
GP with extensive experience in skin care, cosmetology, and general medicine; Dr Purva is a strong advocate for being beautiful – in and out
Non-executive Chairman of Cocoona, plastic surgeon par excellence – one of the best; sculptor, author, trainer of doctors; celebrated body contouring & breast surgeon
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