Melasma is a prevalent skin problem. Generally, it is prevalent in women but can occur in men as well. Melasma is characterized by the appearance of brown patches or various sizes prominently on areas like cheeks, chin, upper lip, and forehead.

Melasma can Be Triggered By Various Factors. Some Of Them Are:

1. Sunlight :- This is the most common and biggest culprit of this problem. It majorly stimulates the production of melanin in the melanocytes, which are the pigment-producing cells.

2. Hormonal Changes :- These are the most common triggering factors in women. It generally arises either during pregnancy or if someone is on birth control pills or taking hormonal therapy.

3. Cosmetics :- Cosmetic products, if not chosen wisely, can lead to irritation and lead to the aggravation of melasma. Skin type also has a major role to play in aggravation of melasma. It is more likely for melasma to develop in darker skin type than fairer skin type

Types of Melasma:

Melasma can be divided into the following type:

1. Epidermal Melasma :- This is characterized by dark brown patches on the epidermal layer of the skin and can be visibly differentiated from the normal skin. Epidermal melasma responds well to the treatment.

2. Dermal Melasma :- This is a deeper variant and merges very well with the normal skin and generally appears light brown and bluish in color.

3. Mixed Melasma :- As the name suggests, this is a combination of epidermal and dermal melasma. Thus it can be either appear as light brown, dark brown or bluish patches. Sometimes the patches may be a combination of all of them. If treated under expert guidance, there are chances of partial improvement.Treatments:

Always consult your dermatologist before opting for any treatments and get your skin analysis. Also, confirm if the dark skin patches are melasma and also investigate its causes. Make a note that melasma is a very difficult condition to manage and sometimes may be associated with episodes of recurrence. The following precautions can be followed.

1. Sun Protection :- It is a must for anyone and everyone. Always apply sunscreen multiple times a day. Sunscreen can be chosen as per one’s skin type. Always use a sunscreen that is SPF 50+. Physical sunscreen is a good option for those who stay outdoors for a longer time duration. Further sun protection can be taken care of with apt dressing that covers the exposed areas like scarves, sunglasses, hats, etc.

2. Oral Sunscreens :- for additional benefits, oral sunscreens can be taken under the guidance of your dermatologist. Unlike physical sunscreen, they can be taken once in a day and are less time consuming. Polypodium leucotomos, which is a fern extract, is a great oral sunscreen that has both photoreceptive effects and antioxidant properties.

3. Topical Medications :- Certain dermatologists prescribed creams that help in the reduction of melasma patches. Creams that contain ingredients like kojic acid, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid are prescribed to lighten melasma. It is advised to start any such medications under the supervision of your dermatologist, as if not followed correctly over the counter medications have a tendency to do more harm than good.

4. Oral Medications :- Your consulting dermatologist can also prescribe you oral medications that may aid in the treatment of melasma.

5. Chemical Peel :- Chemical peel helps in new skin cell regeneration at a faster rate, thus increasing cellular turnover. It helps by sloughing off the sun-damaged skin cells and replacing them with new skin cells. Peels like glycolic peel, retinol, lactic acid peel, and TCA peel can be done under expert supervision at an interval of 3 to 4 weeks.

6. Microdermabrasion :- It is another option in which fine diamond crystals are vacuumed across the skin under pressure. It works by causing exfoliation and increasing all turnover, which speeds the transit of unwanted pigment out of your skin.

7. Laser Toning :- It can effectively treat stubborn pigmentation issues by giving low energy from the Q-switched laser, which leads to a decrease in melanin production in the superficial layers of the skin. It also helps in stimulating collagen and elastin. Usually, multiple sessions spaced one month apart are required.

8. Meso Facials :- These work by infusing active ingredients that helps in skin lightening and thus reducing the melasma. Active ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, glutathione. It evens out the skin tone and illuminates the complexion. These active ingredients are infused into the skin layers using electroporation, thus helps in the renewal of the epidermal layer of skin by protecting it from free radical damage.

9. Instaglam :- This is a quick fix option that involves a combination of lasers and glow serums that fight pigmentation and helps in reducing the same. Without any downtime, it leaves radiant and even-toned skin.

10. Martini Treatment :- It is an innovative skin rejuvenation system that works by microchanneling and suction component. The fine needles create microchannels for the infusion of serum cocktails.

11. Magic Blend Treatment :- It is one of the most effective and innovative blends of chemicals which work upon all kinds of skin type and pigments. It has a dual action of both corrective and controlling, which helps in achieving short and long term results. It is a dual step procedure in which the first application of this blend is done by the doctor. This aims at degrading the dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Aftercare has to be strictly followed, as suggested by the doctor.

Melasma is a stubborn condition that can take a longer time to resolve and show visible results in spite of following a proper treatment plan and medications as prescribed by your dermatologist. So we advise you to take precautionary actions in order to prevent such a stubborn skin problem and always consult your dermatologist as soon as you start experiencing any of the skin symptoms.