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Understanding Melasma

Understanding Melasma

October 13, 2021

Have you noticed some discolouration on your face? It may be Melasma, a skin issue that most often affects women, but men can experience it too, where you will present with brown or brownish-grey patches on your face.

There are some common factors for the development of Melasma, they include: 

  • Family history — 60% report affected family members
  • Sun exposure — ultraviolet and visible light promote melanin production.
  • Hormones — pregnancy and the use of oestrogen/progesterone-containing oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, implants, and hormone replacement therapy. 
  • Some medications may cause a phototoxic reaction to trigger Melasma. 

Can it be treated? 

Melasma can fade on its own. This usually happens when a trigger, such as a pregnancy or birth control pills, causes the Melasma. When a woman delivers her baby or stops taking the birth control pills, Melasma can fade.

However, some people have Melasma for years or even a lifetime. If the Melasma does not go away or a woman wants to keep taking birth control pills, melasma treatments are available. These can include:

  • Hydroquinone: This medication is a common first treatment for Melasma. It is applied to the skin and works to even out your skin tone. Hydroquinone is no longer available without a prescription. If hydroquinone is a good fit for you, your dermatologist can prescribe it. 
  • Tretinoin and corticosteroids: To enhance skin lightening, your dermatologist may prescribe a second medicine. This medicine may be tretinoin or a corticosteroid. Sometimes a medicine contains three medicines (hydroquinone, tretinoin, and a corticosteroid) in one cream. 
  • Other topical medicines: Your dermatologist may prescribe azelaic acid or kojic acid to help reduce Melasma.

Procedures: If medicine you apply to your skin does not get rid of your Melasma, a procedure may succeed; this can be discussed in detail with your dermatologist to see what is right for you. 

Our Consultant Dermatologist Dr Victoria Scott-Lang is highly experienced in the treatment of Melasma; if you would like to discuss more, please get in touch to make an appointment. 

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