Melasma: what is it, causes and treatment (creams and other options)
Melasma, also known as cloth, is a skin condition characterized by the appearance of dark spots on the face, mainly on the nose, cheeks, forehead, chin and lips, and in less common cases it can appear on the arms or on el cuello.
This condition is more frequent in women, mainly during embarrassment due to hormonal changes, called chloasma. In addition, dark spots can appear due to the use of contraceptives, genetic predisposition and, mainly, frequent or prolonged exposure to ultraviolet or visible light, in the case of computers and cell phones, for example.
The treatment can be carried out through the use of creams that lighten the skin, such as hydroquinone or tretinoin, or through aesthetic procedures such as laser, peeling chemical or microneedle con; however, the spots may not disappear completely or reappear in cases where sunscreen is not used daily.
The cause of the appearance of melasma is not, however, very clear, however, suelen spots appear more frequently in people who remain exposed for a long time to the sun what they constantly use the computer or cellular phones.
In the case of women, melasma may arise as a consequence of the embarrassment, the use of contraceptive pills, for example. In the case of men, it could be related to the reduction of testosterone in the blood, which normally decreases with the age.
How to identify melasma
Melasma is characterized by the appearance of small dark spots on the skin, generally on the forehead, nose and cheeks, for example; however, they can also appear in other regions exposed to the sun, such as los brazos or el cuello, and in the producen dolor, ardor ni comezón.
Generally speaking, the spots have an irregular shape and the appearance varies according to the exposure to risk factors, such as the sun or the frequent use of the computer, for example.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment of melasma varies according to the type, place of the affected body and the depth of the stain, which can be superficial or epidermal, deep or dermal, or mixed, therefore, it is important to talk to a dermatologist to decide which ones to choose. the ideal treatment:
1. Lightening creams
The creams that lighten the spots are very effective, despite being part of a long-term treatment, they have long-lasting results, being able to be used in any part of the body:
- hydroquinonecontains a brightening active ingredient and must be used from 1 to 2 times a day, but for a limited time, due to its irritating effects on the skin, such as peeling and comezón;
- retinoids, like tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene used in the form of cream or gel, they are useful to reduce skin darkening;
- topical corticosteroid, in ointments, it can be used for a short period of time to reduce skin inflammation that can cause blemishes;
- azelaic acidalso has an effect on the control of the amount of melanin and the darkening of the skin;
- Other acids such as kojic, glycolic and salicylic acids, They are present in cosmetic treatments and are more effective when combined with other acids to help clarify and renew the skin.
The treatment time varies according to the product used and the depth of the affected skin, and the results can start to be seen after 2 to 4 weeks of treatment, which can last up to about 6 months.
2. Aesthetic treatments
These types of treatment must be carried out by qualified professionals, guided by a dermatologist, who promote the elimination of the superficial layer of the skin and provide faster results, including:
- Peeling chemical, it is carried out with acids, such as glycolic, at stronger concentrations than those used in creams, to remove a layer of the skin. It could be mild for superficial melasma or more intense for deep melasma. Know the necessary care to carry out a peeling chemical.
- microdermabrasionknown as facial renewal, is a professional exfoliation technique that removes the superficial layers of the skin for a renewed appearance;
- microneedles, it is a technique that perforates the skin with microneedles to stimulate the production of collagen and the circulation of blood in the skin, which can be useful to reduce some spots on the skin, in addition to reducing wrinkles and sagging of the face;
- intense pulsed light, It is not an initial option, but it is used in some cases where it does not improve with other treatments and can even worsen the stains on the skin if it is used incorrectly.
Generally, several sessions are necessary to obtain the desired result, which varies according to the intensity and depth of melasma.
3. Laser treatment
The laser is a good option for the treatment of blemishes, as it releases a wave of heat on the skin, which destroys the melanin pigment, and it is indicated in cases of deep melasma which does not improve with the treatment with creams or cosmetics .
Weekly sessions are held and the amount also varies depending on the severity and depth of the stain. Asimism, this treatment must always be guided by a qualified dermatologist, due to the risk of burns on the skin.
The use of some supplements can be useful during the treatment of melasma, as they replace some deficiencies in vitamins and minerals important for skin health, which may be lacking in food.
Some options include tranexamic acid, which inhibits substances that cause skin darkening, as well as antioxidants such as vitamin C, lutein, collagen, carotenoids, flavonoids, selenium and minerals, which help in skin recovery, in addition to preventing wrinkles and sagging.
Sunscreen is the most important treatment for melasma, as no one else will be effective without skin protection against sun rays. Sunscreen must be used with a minimum factor of 15 SPF, every day, even when it is cloudy or the person stays in closed places.
It is also important to avoid sun exposure during the treatment of stains, and if you are in sunny environments, it is important to apply sunscreen every 2 hours.
Find out which is the best sunscreen for your skin and how to use it.
How to treat melasma in embarassment
To treat melasma during embarazo, also known as chloasma, you should use sunscreen and natural moisturizers daily. Preferably the products must be hypoallergenic and oil free, so that they don’t dejen la piel grasosa and so avoid the emergence of spinillas, also common in the embarazo.
The use of whitening creams or aesthetic treatments with chemical products, acids or laser are contraindicated in embarazo. In very necessary cases, azelaic acid and salicylic acid in low doses do not present risks during this period; however, it is recommended that any treatment be postponed until the end of the embarazo y la lactancia.
Asimism, due to the hormonal alterations of the embarrassment, the treatment of spots on the skin becomes difficult, and it is also very probable that the spots on the skin improve naturally towards the end of pregnancy.
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