Melasma is a skin hyperpigmentation in patches that occurs on the face due to an excess of estrogen and progesterone in the body. These hormones may be in excess during pregnancy or during hormone treatment or contraceptives. The melasma typically disappears without treatment after giving birth or after disconitinuation of the hormone therapy; however, there are a few treatments that may be applied to reduce the appearance of the melasma. The melasma may be reduced using different solutions including topical ointments, chemical peels, laser treatments or natural remedies. However, the best solution is prevention; stay away from sun, so that the melasma will not form in the first place.
Here are 7 possible ways to lighten melasma:
Hydroquinone, or HQ, is a substance that may be used in different concentrations (2% or 4% but not more) to lighten melasma. The effect of the HQ is the inhibition of typical enzymes that are secreted and help the formation of melanin. Hydroquinone may be found as an over the counter treatment, but may also be recommended by dermatologists.
2. Tretinoin Treatment
The tretinoin treatment may lighten the dark patches, but shouldn’t be used during pregnancy. Tretinoin is an acid that will help the cell regeneration and this will result in the elimination of hyperpigmented patches.
3. Facial Peels
There are a number of facial chemical peels that can be used to reduce the appearance of melasma. The most successful in reducing the dark spots are the peels that contain glycolic acid and alpha hydroxyacids.
4. Fraxel and Smartxide Dot Therapy
The Fraxel treatments employ different types of non ablative lasers and CO2 lasers that will eliminate melasma. Fraxel treats both the superficial and the deeper layers too, without causing skin damage. The Smartxide Dot Therapy is similar to Fraxel and may also be effective in removing melasma.
5. Intense Pulsed Light
The intense pulsed light (IPL) is a treatment that employs xenon flash lights or broad spectrum lights; the treatment has given satisfactory results in reducing the appearance of melasma. The IPL is also used for hair removal purposes, as well as to remove acne, sun spots, liver spots, broken capillaries or birth marks.
6. Fractional Resurfacing
Fractional resurfacing, also known as photorejuvenation, is a procedure that employs light to rejuvenate the skin and correct certain pigmentation defects such as melasma. The procedure works by creating small wounds on the skin, which will result in production of new, fresh skin cells as the skin heals. Fractional resurfacing may also be used to remove wrinkles, stretch marks or age spots.
7. Natural Remedies
There are a few natural remedies that will reduce pigmentation and lighten melasma. Some of the most effective natural remedies include lemon juice, parsley juice, sour cream or other products containing lactic acid. The acid present in these products will reduce the appearance of melasma, but your will need to avoid sun, as the melasma may get darker when the skin is exposed to sun.