Treatments | Melasma
What is melasma?
Melasma, also known as chloasma, is an acquired pigmentation triggered by sun exposure. It presents as symmetric hyper-pigmented patches mainly localized on the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip, but it may occur in other sun-exposed areas.
What causes melasma?
The cause of melasma is still unknown. It does have a direct relationship with female hormonal activity such as pregnancy and the contraceptive pill.
Melasma is much more common in women but can also affect men. All skin types can be affected but, it is more common in darker skin types (Asians and Hispanics).
A key factor for the development of melasma is sun exposure. During the initial phases of the disorder, the pigmentation appears immediately after sun exposure and tends to completely disappear when the sun is avoided.
After subsequent periods of sun exposure, the pigmentation becomes darker and does not disappear spontaneously any longer just by avoiding the sun.
How can melasma be treated?
Melasma is traditionally a difficult condition to treat. Recently there has been an exciting new development in the treatment of this condition. We now use injections of a small quantity of tranexamic acid which is delivering great results without any side effects.
Other options exist, including depigmenting creams, if used under strict medical guidance and in conjunction with other treatments such as chemical peels, which can improve the condition.
Chemical peels can be safely performed on patients with melasma with good results.
Any patients with melasma need to completely avoid sunlight. If they decide to treat the condition, they must use total sunblock and wear sunhats and glasses.