melasma is an acquired hyperpigmentation of the skin that affects people of different ages and ethnicities. It affects women more than men and is common during pregnancy. It affects both epidermal (light patches) and dermal (dark patches) types. It can cause psychological distress.
There are several modalities that are used to treat melasma. Some of them are chemical peels, light therapy, and lasers. Chemical peels remove the outer layer of the skin. Others are topical treatments, such as topical retinoids. They can help to lighten the dark patches of melasma. Some patients will also need to have surgery to remove the affected areas.
Other skin disorders may also cause symptoms similar to melasma. In addition, women who are taking oral contraceptives or have a family history of melasma often develop dark patches. In addition to triggering melasma, these factors can also increase its severity. Therefore, it is important to identify these factors and avoid them. If you are considering having melasma treated, talk with your doctor to learn more about your options. There are resources available for people who have melasma, and there are also support groups that can be helpful.
Epidermal melasma can take a long time to resolve. It usually appears slowly and usually improves during the winter months. However, if it is left untreated, it may continue to reoccur. You should also be aware that using sunscreen can help you to protect your skin from sun damage. A broad-brimmed hat can also help shade your face and head from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Topical retinoids are often used to treat melasma. They are applied to the melasma patches at night. You should start with a small amount and gradually increase the amount of medication to avoid irritant dermatitis. Hydroquinone is also used to treat melasma. You should start with a small amount of hydroquinone and titrate it up to minimize irritant dermatitis.
In addition to using sunscreen, melasma patients should avoid excessive sun exposure. Sunscreens should contain zinc oxide. You should also avoid tanning beds. If you are outdoors for prolonged periods of time, be sure to wear broad-brimmed hats with brims to shade your face and head from UV rays. The best protection from UV rays is using sunscreen with a high sun protection factor. It may be helpful to apply cosmetics to camouflage the appearance of your skin.
If you are diagnosed with melasma, you should avoid sun exposure and other aggravating factors. Your doctor may recommend that you have a skin biopsy to determine whether you have melasma or another skin disorder. The biopsy can also help to rule out other differential diagnoses. You should also discuss the use of cosmetics with your doctor.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are also methods used to treat melasma. These techniques remove the outer layers of skin, which can lighten the dark patches of melasma. You may also want to talk to your doctor about chemical peels. The procedure can also help to lighten the dark patches of chloasma. A chemical peel can be done by a dermatologist using glycolic acid.
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