“The complete guide to treating Melasma: Conventional and natural options.”
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a common skin condition that is characterized by dark, irregularly shaped patches on the face. The patches typically appear on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and upper lip and can also affect the neck and arms in some cases.
Melasma is more common in women than men and is most often seen in individuals with darker skin tones. It is often triggered by hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or while taking hormonal medications like birth control pills. Sun exposure is also a known factor in the development of Melasma.
While Melasma is not a dangerous condition, however, it can be distressing for those who experience it, as it can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem and quality of life.
What Causes Melasma?
The exact causes of Melasma are not fully understood, but there are several factors that are thought to play a role in its development.
- Sun exposure: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a significant contributing factor to the development of Melasma. UV radiation can trigger the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, leading to the formation of dark patches on the skin.
- Hormonal changes: Melasma is more common in women than men and is often associated with hormonal changes such as those that occur during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills. Hormonal fluctuations can trigger the production of melanin and contribute to the development of Melasma.
- Genetics: Genetic factors play a significant role in the development of Melasma. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of Melasma are more likely to develop the condition themselves. This suggests that a genetic predisposition to Melasma may be inherited from parents or other family members. Additionally, people with darker skin types, such as African, Asian, or Hispanic descent, are more prone to developing Melasma. This is because their skin produces more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, and genetic factors also influence melanin production. People with darker skin types are also more likely to experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is the darkening of the skin that can occur after an injury or inflammation, such as acne or eczema.
- Certain medications: Certain medications, such as some antibiotics and anti-seizure medications, can increase the risk of developing Melasma in some people.
- Stress: Stress can cause Melasma, When a person experiences stress, their body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can stimulate the production of melanin, which is the pigment that gives color to the skin. The overproduction of melanin in certain areas of the skin can lead to the development of hyperpigmentation, including Melasma.
While the exact causes of Melasma are not fully understood, avoiding excessive sun exposure and using sunscreen can help prevent its development or worsening.
Why is Melasma on the rise?
In recent years, the incidence of Melasma has increased, and several possible factors may be contributing to this trend.
- Increased sun exposure: With increased time spent outdoors, more people are being exposed to UV radiation from the sun, which can trigger melanin production and lead to Melasma’s development.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as air pollution, can cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which may trigger the development of Melasma.
- Changes in hormonal contraception: The use of hormonal contraception has become more widespread, and some forms of birth control may increase the risk of developing Melasma.
- Increased use of certain medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics and anti-seizure medications, can increase the risk of developing Melasma in some people. With the increasing use of these medications, there may be an associated increase in the incidence of Melasma.
- Lifestyle changes: Modern lifestyle factors, such as increased stress levels, poor sleep habits, and a diet high in sugar and processed foods, may also contribute to the rise in melasma cases.
- Increased awareness and diagnosis: More cases may be diagnosed and reported with improved diagnostic tools and greater awareness of Melasma.
While it is unclear whether the incidence of Melasma is actually increasing, it is crucial to take steps to prevent its development or worsening. This includes limiting sun exposure, using sunscreen, and consulting a healthcare provider if you are concerned about skin discoloration or have been diagnosed with Melasma.
Conventional treatment of Melasma
There is no known cure for Melasma in conventional/allopathic medicine, but several treatment options can help improve the skin’s appearance and reduce the visibility of dark patches.
Some of these options include:
- Topical medications: Certain topical medications, such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids, can effectively reduce the appearance of Melasma. These medications work by inhibiting melanin production, which can help lighten dark patches.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels use a chemical solution to exfoliate the skin and remove the top layer of damaged skin cells. This can help reduce the appearance of dark patches and promote the growth of new, healthy skin growth.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy uses intense pulsed light (IPL) or other types of lasers to target and break down pigmented cells in the skin. This can help reduce the appearance of Melasma and promote the growth of new, healthy skin growth.
- Sun protection: Sun protection is essential to managing Melasma, as exposure to UV radiation can worsen the condition. This includes using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sun exposure during peak hours.
The above-mentioned conventional treatment options are available for managing Melasma, but some may have potential side effects.
Here are some examples:
- Topical medications: Topical medications, such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids, are commonly used to treat Melasma. However, they may cause skin irritation, redness, and peeling, primarily if used in high concentrations or for prolonged periods.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin to exfoliate the top layers and reduce the appearance of Melasma. While they are generally safe, they can cause skin irritation, redness, and peeling, as well as potential scarring and hyperpigmentation if not performed correctly.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a popular treatment option for Melasma that uses laser energy to target and break up melanin in the skin. However, it can cause skin irritation, redness, and swelling and may also lead to hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation in some cases.
- Oral medications: Oral medications, such as tranexamic acid and oral contraceptives, may also be used to treat Melasma. However, they can have potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues, headaches, and blood clots.
It is essential to discuss the potential side effects of any treatment option with a healthcare professional before undergoing treatment for Melasma. They can help weigh the benefits and risks and determine the best course of action based on the individual’s unique needs and medical history.
Natural treatments of Melasma
Natural remedies can help improve the skin’s appearance and reduce the visibility of dark patches.
It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare provider before trying any new treatment.
Some natural remedies for Melasma include:
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Applying aloe vera gel to the skin may reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of dark patches.
- Licorice extract: Licorice extract has been shown to have skin-lightening properties and may help reduce Melasma’s appearance. Applying a cream or serum containing licorice extract may help improve the skin’s appearance.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the skin from damage and promote the growth of new, healthy skin growth. Applying a serum or cream containing vitamin C may help improve Melasma’s appearance.
- Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenols that have been shown to have skin-protective properties. Drinking green tea or applying a green tea extract to the skin may help to reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of dark patches.
My passion lies in treating skin problems using natural methods. If you are interested in gaining more detailed insights, you can refer to my book that covers the holistic and natural approach to healing hyperpigmentation.
Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine that uses highly diluted substances to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Homeopathy can be helpful in addressing chronic skin issues such as Melasma, Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne, and Rosacea.
Homeopathic remedies are selected based on the individual’s unique symptoms and overall health, and may be prescribed in conjunction with lifestyle and dietary changes to support overall skin health.
However, some homeopathic remedies that may be recommended for hyperpigmentation include:
- Sepia – this remedy is often recommended for hyperpigmentation that occurs due to hormonal imbalances, such as during pregnancy or menopause.
- Sulfur – this remedy is often recommended for hyperpigmentation that occurs due to inflammation or skin irritation.
- Thuja – this remedy is often recommended for hyperpigmentation that occurs due to exposure to environmental toxins or chemicals.
- Ignatia – this remedy is often recommended for individuals who are highly emotional and sensitive to stress.
Yoga for Melasma
It can be a helpful complementary therapy for managing stress, which is a known contributing factor to the development of Melasma.
Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, may help to manage stress levels and potentially reduce the severity of Melasma.
Here are some yoga poses that may be helpful:
- Child’s pose (Balasana): This pose is a gentle forward bend that can help release back and neck tension, promoting relaxation.
- Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This pose is an inversion that can help reduce stress and anxiety while promoting blood flow to the face and scalp.
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): This pose can help improve circulation, potentially promoting skin health and reducing Melasma’s appearance.
- Legs-up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani): This pose is a gentle inversion that can help reduce stress, promoting circulation and reducing inflammation.
It’s essential to consult with a qualified yoga instructor and to inform your healthcare provider of any complementary therapies you are using, including yoga. Additionally, while yoga may help manage stress levels, it is unlikely to cure Melasma completely.
If you found this blog helpful and informative, please show your support by liking and subscribing to stay updated on future content.
Additionally, if you know someone who could benefit from the information shared here, please feel free to share it with them.
In addition, if you’re dealing with skin conditions like Melasma, it’s important to use non-toxic and natural products. That’s why Naturo Essentials body and hair wash was developed – it’s formulated to be gentle on the skin while providing nourishment and cleansing without any harmful chemicals, fragrances, or colors. It’s available for purchase on Amazon Australia.
Finally, if you’re struggling with Melasma, keep hope – a holistic approach to treatment can make a big difference.
The creator of this blog, Dr. Pallavi, has developed a natural skin program specifically designed to help those with Melasma, so book now to take the first step toward natural healing and a brighter future for your skin.