There is a growing demand for treatment for Melasma, which generally occurs in people with a darker skin pigment. Women are more prone to these types of discolored skin patches than men. The condition often appears during pregnancy, or for those experiencing the menopause. It has also been linked to hormone replacement therapy and oral contraception drugs.
Melasma is described as an irregular patch of skin that stands out because it appears darker than the rest of the skin. The irregular patch is usually mirrored on both sides of the face, or can sometimes but rarely occur on the forearms. The condition is not considered to be a health risk, but many people find the patches unsightly and seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
You can take sensible steps to prevent Melasma, and some more serious skin conditions. Protecting exposed parts of your body, especially your face from the suns rays is essential. If you intend to go out in strong sunlight, you should use a sunscreen and be sure to top it up regularly during the day. After swimming always apply more sunscreen once you have dried yourself.
Over the counter treatments include bleaching creams. However, they need to be used daily over an extended period of time to effectively calm down the appearance of melasma patches. It is unlikely that the patches can be removed permanently with over the counter creams, but there should be no harmful side effects.
You can obtain a prescription for a stronger bleaching agent which cannot be sold over the counter. The stronger creams are usually more effective for most people. However, success may come with some risk of side effects and unwanted reactions to the ingredients of the cream. Some reports of skin becoming very red, dry and peeling have been noted.
Your medical practitioner can offer surface peel treatments to remove melasma and other skin blemishes. Peels consist of a variety of chemicals, which are applied to the affected area. Depending on the nature of the chemicals used, the peel will work only on the outer layer of the skin. This treatment is quick, and does not require any recovery time. However, the procedure may have to be repeated over several months to achieve the desired look.
Medical professionals can also do deep peel treatments. This procedure is usually successful, but does require a few weeks for all signs of the treatment to be eliminated. The chemicals penetrate deep into the skin and can cause side effects, such as scarring and inflammation which will take time to subside. Depending on how successful the procedure is, it may have to be repeated intervals to achieve permanent removal.
Laser treatment for melasma, is possibly the best long term option, as it may be several years before the procedure may have to be repeated. The procedure itself may cause some discomfort both during and afterwards. Adequate care has to be taken to protect the skin from sun light to gain the long term benefits. The final option is the intense pulsed light treatment, which can last for up to a year. These are the most expensive treatment options.
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