Melasma can be a really cumbersome condition – it is known by every affected individual, especially if the lesion doesn’t respond well to treatment. Accordingly, many ask: “What actually is melasma?”, “How can it be treated?”, “How to get rid of it for good?”. In this article, we will present the answers to these vexing questions in hope to dispel all your doubts.
What is melasma?
Dermatologically speaking, melasma is a chronic, macular skin condition that results in hyperpigmentation of various kinds. A macule is a lesion at the level of the skin – it cannot be felt by palpation. The only way to differentiate it with the healthy skin is by observation – a macule possesses a distinct colour or hue.
Melasma mostly is a singular, well-demarcated macule but can sometimes consist of multiple, symmetrical spots. Usually it is brownish, nonetheless its colour can vary. Most of the times it affects the skin of the face including the forehead, cheeks, periocular region or the area above the upper lip.
What does cause melasma?
The exact cause of melasma has not been discovered yet, although certain phenomena have been noted in its course. For sure, melasma is the ultimate result of the increased activity of melanocytes. Simultaneously, these cells produce the excess of skin pigment, melanin, directly causing hyperpigmentation. It is what precisely triggers this process that still is not commonly known. It has been speculated that melasma is caused by the increase of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) levels, accompanied by higher levels of estrogens and progesterone. This theory explains some of the condition’s risk factors.
Sometimes melasma occurs more often in particular groups of people or when accompanied by certain factors. It has been proven that this lesion is more common amongst women, people of colour, pregnant women (when estrogen and progesterone levels are naturally higher) as well as with use of drugs/cosmetics that increase photosensitivity like fenytoine. A genetic predisposition also is to be considered. Very rarely melasma can occur within the scope of a diagnosed ovarian tumor (chloasma hormonale).
How to diagnose melasma?
Most frequently, as previously mentioned, melasma is diagnosed basing on the doctor’s observation. Its results are correlated with the accompanying risk factors. Occasionally, in less certain cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to be 100% sure.
How to treat melasma?
It is not uncommon for melasma to disappear on its own, possibly after the elimination of a risk factor. For example, it should fade within a year after giving birth. Moreover, in more chronic cases, its intensity usually decreases during winter months.
Nonetheless, sometimes melasma can be really resistant to treatment. Either way, particular habits and therapy options can be implemented to make it disappear sooner/to minimize its appearance.
What is tyrosinase inhibitors therapy?
Tyrosinase inhibitors therapy is implemented in the most resistant cases. Usually a 2-4% hydroquinone cream or lotion is prescribed for a few months. Nonetheless, it may result in skin irritation, contact dermatitis and ochronosis (bluish grey skin discoloration), especially if used unproperly.
Tyrosinase is one of the enzymes involved in melanogenesis – the synthesis of melanin, the skin pigment.
What is azelaic acid?
Azelaic acid has been proven effective against hyperpigmentation. Usually a cream, lotion or gel is prescribed to be applied twice a day long term. It is also a safe option for pregnant patients.
MCCM Azelaic Acid is available for purchase from our store.
Other melanogenesis inhibitors
Melanogenesis is not a simple process hence can be tamed not only at the level of tyrosinase. Other melanogenesis inhibitors including Kojic Acid are used as therapy for melasma. In this particular case, the ingredient binds copper which is required by L-DOPA, a cofactor of tyrosinase.
Kojic Acid can be found in MCCM Whitening Peel. The product is even more effective in the fight against melasma as it contains other powerful active ingredients: Arbutin, Citric Acid, Lacid Acid and Salicylic Acid. Together, they present whitening activities as well as promote the formation of new, healthy skin. They do so by stimulating a proper skin cell turnover and disposing of dead, old cells at the skin’s surface.
Already mentioned in the previously, chemical peels can be really helpful in melasma. Not only do they promote the formation of the new skin but they also brighten it, presenting lightening effects. Moreover, they prevent the formation of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Another effective peel is MCCM Glutathione Peeling. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant which naturally can be found in the human body. Simultaneously, it shows great results in whitening treatments when applied onto the skin. Ultimately, it also brings out the skin’s radiant glow.
High SPF all year round is a must in melasma. Not only does the treatment make the skin more sensitive to the sun but the sun itself can also contribute to the formation of so-called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. At the same time, sun rays can only exacerbate the hyperpigmentation that is already there. Check the full range of MCCM sunscreens at our store.
For ultimate, complex skin care in melasma, check out MCCM Melano Out System Pack. It has been specially designed to reduce and eliminate spots of melanic origin. It consists of Degreasing Solution, Pre-treatment Solution, MelanoOut Mask, MelanoOut Cream and Hydraface Cream.