Dr Ash Dutta talks about Melasma

Melasma is a skin problem which occurs commonly, it most often shows brown-grey patches on the skin. Dr Ash Dutta explains what causes this and what solutions are offered.

Melasma is a condition where the melanin also known as the colour of the skin, is produced in a larger amount than needed by the skin. There are two types of Melasma that a patient can have, these are epidermal and dermal.

Epidermal Melasma is easier to treat as it is closer to the skins surface. The most common ways of treating this is using chemical peels which are composed of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, fruit acids or glycolic acid. Another solution of epidermal Melasma is the use of lasers, such as Fraxel lasers which is a non-invasive laser that uses pinpoint laser beams. Fraxel does not affect the skin all at once unlike most lasers.

Dermal Melasma requires slightly stronger treatment as it is based deeper in the skin, lasers such as Fraxel will not be as affective in comparison to the use of them on epidermal Melasma. A possible treatment of dermal Melasma is the creams available, such as Hydroquinone or Tretinoin. Also, chemicals such as the acids that could be used on epidermal Melasma can be used to not remove but reduce the Melasma.

Melasma can be difficult to treat in ladies as it is oestrogen dependant, this means a lot of the patients who look to have Melasma removed will be female. Also, if Melasma is in areas of a patient’s body that is exposed when on holiday or when the skin is exposed to the sun, the Melasma can get worse.  As the sun has an effect on the amount of Melasma, it means through the winter months you will find less cases of people looking to get treatment for it. Pregnant ladies can also get Melasma as a side effect of the pregnancy, this is called Chloasma.

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