What is melasma ?

Melasma is a skin discoloration that occurs mainly in the area of ​​facial skin. Melasma occurs exclusively in adults and most commonly in women during pregnancy. The areas of the face that are most often affected by melasma are the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and cheeks of the nose.

Melasma occurs more often in women with dark skin, especially in the summer months due to sunlight.Irrational exposure to sunlight, hormonal disorders as well as taking medications such as contraceptives can contribute to the appearance of melasma.

Treatment of melasma is done with various methods such as skin scraping, chemical peeling, laser therapy.


What are the causes of skin discolorations ?


The exact cause remains unknown. We know that they are due to hereditary predisposition, -usually without protection- chronic exposure to sunlight, but also due to medications (contraceptives, isotretinoin, cortisone, antiepileptics, antibiotics or photosensitizers). More typical are pregnancy freckles (melasma) due to female hormones produced during pregnancy or given exogenously. Genetic predisposition is also important. People whose parents have had melasma are more likely to develop the same disease. Over time, they usually increase in size, but also in number and worsenfrom the sun.



How can we prevent discoloration ?

 The use of some cosmetics that contain e.g. salicylic acid or other photosensitive substances in parallel with exposure to ultraviolet radiation, natural (sun) or artificial (solarium, fluorescent lamps -new technology-) should be avoided. Also any inflammation, burn, skin injury or acne that is not treated in the right time and at a proper manner, can lead to discoloration. Knowing, however, that the most important cause of melasma is the sun, leads us to the need for continuous use of sunscreens not only during summer but also in winter.


How are discolorations treated ?

 There are several types of hyperpigmentation. The dermatologist after examining the patient will make the correct assessment of the type and especially the depth of the spots.

The deeper the freckles, the more persistent their treatment must be. Thus, discolorations found on the surface of the skin (epidermis) are treated with a combination of bleaches and exfoliating agents (chemical peels). Devices that scrape the skin (microcrystals) also offer great help. Modern fractional laser therapies provide a solution in several cases. Suitable for sun (aging) spots that appear on the face and back of the hands mainly. After treatment the damage becomes darker due to the absorption by the cells of energy which leads to their destruction. This lasts 5-7 days and gives way to a slightly reddish image that slowly fades. Depending on the skin type, treatments are individualized, so that we can achieve the best possible result. However,successful treatment of spots / discolorations / freckles does not prevent the creation of new ones in every case.


How long do the treatments last ?

 Depending on the method chosen to treat the discolorations,these should not exceed 3 months,so as not to cause deteriorationof freckles. The most appropriate time is considered to be that betweenautumn and early spring, when then the sunlight weakens.


What should the patient watch out for after the end of the treatments ?

 It is important to understand that, the correct use of sunscreento protect the skinhelps us, notjust against the reappearance freckles, but also against photoaging and skin cancer.So the most important preparationthat must be applied is a sunscreenwith a high protection index, all year round. This should beapplied correctly with renewal every two to four hours. The dermatologist will also suggesta mild whitening cream or topical preparation to prevent the appearance of youthdiscoloration andperhaps some repetitive sessions with peelings ormicrocrystals or laser therapies to maintain the result, except for thesummer or if there is coexisting exposure to ultraviolet radiation.