What is Melasma?

Author: FITivate | Published date: July 23, 2021 | Category: Medical
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Melasma is a common pigmentary problem affecting Asian skin

  • Brownish patches over the forehead, temples, nasal bridge, upper lips and jawline.

Melasma Causes

  • Causes genetics, hormonal and UV exposure.
  • Worsening or appearance of melasma is often reported after pregnancy, hormonal pills/ oral contraceptive pills, sun exposure.

Melasma Treatment Options

1. Topical Applications

  • Sun Block : Advisable to apply on a regular basis, it might not treat or cure the condition but DOES help to prevent it from worsening
  • COMBINATION CREAM (hydroquinone, steroid & tretinoin) OR CYSTEAMINE. Help to lighten melasma and maintain it in that state (to be administered by doctor)

2. Procedure

  • LASER : Nd:yag lasers, pico lasers, yellow lasers, fractional lasers have all been used to treat melasma. Doctor's consultation required as lasers can cause worsening of condition if not adminstered appropriately.
  • INTENSE PULSE LIGHT (IPL): Does a good job in brightening the face and help reduce superficial pigmentation such as epidermal melasma. Care needed as IPL associated burns are a concern if not adminstered correctly.
  • CHEMICAL PEEL: Chemically exfoliate superficial pigmentations. Relatively unpredictable with higher chance of complications. 

3. Oral Medications

  • TRANEXEMIC ACID: Can lighten Melasma significantly. But with it's side effects, a detailed doctor consultation would be required.

Melasma pigment issues has to be treated over a long period. The most effective treatment plan is one that combines all modality : topical, oral and procedures.

Maintenance is absolutely necessary and the melasma may recur when treatment has been ceased.

By : Dr Chen Yiming

Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)



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