Melasma is a tan or dark skin discolouration. It is very common in female patients especially in pregnancy where the face looks dirty. Melasma is though to be caused by a combination of sun exposure and hormone changes and skin irritation. It often presents in pregnancy, in female patients taking the oestrogen contraceptive pill, but any hormones can contribute to it for example the mirena coil, HRT etc.
Treatment is multi-factorial. You need to see a skin specialist or Dermatologist and get a proper diagnosis. The Doctor will go through any medication that you are taking that might be causing/contributing to the melasma. Skin care is very important. Skin affected by Melasma darkens more than the surrounding skin when exposed to light so sun-avoidance and proper skin protection are important. Daily cleansing with a glycolic or salicylic acid cleanser should be used to exfoliate the skin. Topical vitamin C serum should be used daily. This is a very powerful anti-oxidant that will aid a sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays. Phytobotanical gel should be used daily to reduce hyperpigmentation. A broad spectrum sunscreen should be worn every day and re-applied as necessary throughout the day. Topical retinol or retinoids are also recommended for use at night. See www.reformskincare.ie for further information.
Treatments in the Dermatology clinic include medical microneedling, Scarlet RF, skin boost peels and lasers, sometimes in combination. See our treatment section for further information. IPL could make melasma worse and should be avoided. Melasma is not curable but a significant difference can be achieved. Maintenance with skin care will be required. A course of lighter treatments is much safer and just as effective in Melasma.
Aggressive treatments for Melasma are not recommended and it can ultimately make Melasma worse.