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Hyperpigmentation and Melasma – Causes & Treatment
Both hyperpigmentation and melasma are skin pigmentation diseases that usually affect our face. Both are similar but very different. Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation. So both are two sides of the same coin. To clear the differences, let’s understand them separately.
Darkening of certain areas due to excess production of melanin (responsible for skin color) is called hyperpigmentation. There are many types: freckles, sun spots, liver spots, pregnancy masks, etc.
There are many causes and the condition where hyperpigmentation appears due to inflammation and acne is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Some of the reasons include:
Excessive exposure to sunlight
Medicines such as anti-seizure drugs and antibiotics
The good news is that this disease is treatable. There are many methods to get rid of skin pigmentation.
Topical agents – Using topical agents like kojic, azelaic or mandelic acids can help a lot because they use alpha hydroxy acids that rejuvenate the skin.
Laser Peel – CO2 and fractional lasers are used to resurface the skin on scars.
Sunscreen – As a simple solution, sunscreen should be worn to prevent further pigmentation. It should be broad spectrum (which blocks UVB and UVA).
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – A non-surgical treatment that uses specific light wavelengths to target darker skin.
Skin Lightening Creams – These creams are a combination of soy milk, calcium, hydroquinone, cucumber and azelaic acid that reduce melanin production.
Natural Ways – Applying products like lemon juice, aloe vera, chopped cucumber, turmeric and raw potato on the darkened area will definitely benefit you.
Melasma is another type of facial pigmentation that occurs mostly in women. Also called the mask of pregnancy, it is characterized by brown spots, dark lesions that appear symmetrically. They can also appear on the forehead and upper lip.
One of the facts about Melasma is that there is no known exact cause. Triggering hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, birth control pills, and medications are the most well-known predictors. A pregnant woman experiences this which makes her more susceptible to women (more than 90% of female cases).
Other common causes include:
UV light exposure
May be genetic
Cosmetics irritate the skin
stress (some level)
Unfortunately, there is no cure for melasma and treatment is more difficult than hyperpigmentation. If induced during pregnancy, no treatment is required. Black spots disappear automatically.
Other treatments include:
Hydroquinone Cream – As per doctor’s advice you should use some creams containing hydroquinone which lightens the skin which helps to fade the scars.
Relaxation – Lower stress levels and activities like yoga, meditation and walking can significantly reduce melasma.
Topical Steroids – Go for medications containing things like kojic acid, paper mulberry, bark extract, lactic acid, bearberry, etc., which apply chemicals to the skin.
Chemical Peel – A procedure in which a solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layer of skin.
Fraxel – People who have scars and wrinkles can get this treatment. It is effective in treating superficial melasma.
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