As melasma is a completely benign skin disorder with no untoward health consequences, the treatment is only for cosmetic reasons. Many melasma treatment methods are very expensive and there is no guarantee that they will work at all. In fact, some melasma removal treatments can even worsen the condition.
Melasma is fairly harmless although it may be found unattractive and can sometimes effect self esteem. While sometimes Melasma will just disappear with time after the pregnancy or discontuing hormone therapy, however, in some cases it requires the use of a good quality skin brightener. Melasma is widely considered to be a stimulation of melanocytes or pigment-producing cells by the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone to produce more melanin pigments when the skin is exposed to sun.
Melasma is a common skin condition. Causing brown to gray–brown patches, melasma usually appears on the face. The cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip are places where melasma is likely to form. It also can develop on the forearms and neck.
Most melasma occurs in women. Only 10% of those affected are men. People with darker skin tones, including those of Latin, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African descent, tend to have melasma more than others.
Pregnancy, birth control pills, cosmetics, hormone therapy, phototoxic drugs (make the skin more susceptible to light damage), antiseizure medication, and sun exposure often trigger melasma. In fact, melasma is so common during pregnancy that it is often called chloasma, or the "mask of pregnancy". Sun exposure can trigger melasma because the pigment–producing cells in the skin (melanocytes) are stimulated by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. People with skin of color have more active melanocytes than those with light skin, so they produce more pigment. This production increases when stimulated by light exposure or rising hormone levels. In fact, just a small amount of sun exposure is the main reason melasma returns after fading.
Irritating the skin also may trigger melanocytes in dark-skinned people to produce more pigment. This is why using a skin care product that irritates the skin may worsen melasma.
The pathophysiology of melasma is uncertain. In many cases, a direct relationship with female hormonal activity appears to be present because it occurs with pregnancy and with the use of oral contraceptive pills. Other factors implicated in the etiopathogenesis of melasma are photosensitizing medications, mild ovarian or thyroid dysfunction, and certain cosmetics.
The most important factor in the development of melasma is exposure to sunlight. Without the strict avoidance of sunlight, potentially successful melasma treatments are doomed to fail.
Persons of any race can be affected. However, it is much more common in constitutionally darker skin types than in lighter skin types, and it may be more common in light brown skin types, especially Hispanics and Asians, from areas of the world with intense sun exposure.
Melasma is much more common in women than in men. Women are affected in 90% of cases. When men are affected, the clinical and histologic picture is identical.
Melasma is rare before puberty and most commonly occurs in women during their reproductive years.
Over the years, various melasma removal treatments have been developed to treat melasma including:
•Skin lightening agents.
•Sunscreens, especially those which are mineral based, such as zinc and titanium.
•Laser skin rejuvenation
These melasma removal treatments do not necessarily cure the cause of melasma and the effectiveness of each will vary from patient to patient. Even after melasma treatments, skin discoloration may not always disappear completely and each patient may have to try various different melasma treatment options to see a satisfactory result. Some melasma treatments may have to be continually performed to sustain results, such as applying a skin lightening agent on a regular basis, combined with effective sunscreen usage and sun exposure avoidance.
To help prevent melasma from worsening, patients may wear sunscreen which contains a mineral based shield from the sun with an SPF at least 20. Protective clothing and wearing a hat may help to prevent melasma from worsening. Protective facial make-up may also be worn to help even skin tone and block out the sun
Skin Brighteners such as Skinbright have been found to be quite effective in reducing the amount of pigment producing cells and therefore cutting back the amount of melanin production. Since Melasma sufferers will normally use a larger amount of skin brightener when applying we strongly suggest either purchasing a larger bottle or multiple bottles for better value.
Skin Brightener can be expensive when purchased one bottle at a time and chances are one bottle will not show appreciable results.