Melasma is a skin disorder that causes dark, uneven patches to form on the face and other parts of the body. While there is no definitive cure for melasma, it can be effectively managed through sun protection measures and professional dermatological care.
The first step to treating melasma is avoiding any factors that might exacerbate it, such as sunlight or hormonal changes during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills. By avoiding these triggers, your melasma may gradually fade away on its own.
After treatment, to avoid melasma from returning, use sunscreen daily and wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors. Limit time spent outside in the sun to brief bursts of activity and always reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Additionally, be mindful of the products you use on your skin and select ones that don’t irritate it. Certain makeups, hair dyes and shampoos, tanning beds, LED lights from TVs, computers and cell phones can all exacerbate or worsen melasma’s appearance.
Melasma can be treated with various medications such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid and retinoid creams. These creams help to inhibit pigment production in the skin, reduce inflammation and stimulate new cell growth.
Another option is a chemical peel, which uses an agent to gently scrape away the top layer of skin and reveal discolored patches. According to Dr. Maiman, most peels are safe for all skin tones and can help clear up pigment associated with melasma; she usually recommends the Jessner peel to her patients.
Other options include topical creams and ointments that can inhibit melanin production and encourage new skin growth. These products may contain azelaic acid, cysteamine, kojic acid, niacinamide or tranexamic acid.
Retinoid creams can also be used to increase your skin’s turnover rate, helping it push damaged cells to the surface and exfoliate them away. This leaves skin looking more even-toned and refreshed, according to Dr. Green.
It’s essential to note that a combination of these treatments usually works best. To maximize their efficacy, make sure you see your doctor regularly and adhere strictly to their recommendations.
Women should take a birth control pill that does not contain hormones, as these can aggravate or worsen melasma if taken. Therefore, consult your doctor before beginning this type of medication.
Melasma can be treated effectively with a combination of medications that inhibit pigment production, promote new skin growth and reduce inflammation. These treatments are usually prescribed by your dermatologist and applied topically to affected areas.
There are oral medications that can inhibit melanin production. Tranexamic acid and oral azelaic acid, taken in low doses over a short period of time, are two examples.