Melasma is a skin condition that manifests as spots or patches of pigmentation that is darker than your skin.
The area of pigmentation can vary depending on the individual, and can even be symmetrical sometimes.
While melasma is common (especially amongst medium to darker skin women), there can be ways to treat the condition and lighten the pigmentation. Individuals with more sensitive skin may wish to receive treatments that are specially designed for their skin.
Today, we will provide the causes of Melasma and best treatmnets of melasma for sensitive skin.
1 | Why Does Melasma Occur?
Melasma can be caused by two main reasons: hormones and UV rays.
The imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are linked to melasma.
Women who are pregnant, going through menopause, taking birth control, or have thyroid issues are especially vulnerable to developing melasma.
– UV rays
When your skin is exposed to UV rays, your body naturally produces melanin in order to try and protect your skin from the rays.
This is your body’s own defense mechanism and melanin is shown as pigmentation, such as a tan after a day out in the sun.
However, the distribution of melanin is not always perfectly even and can end up looking clustered or patchy. If these patches of pigmentation happen to occur on your face, they can give your complexion an uneven look.
Melanin is produced by melanocytes. Think of melanocytes as the root cause of pigmentation.
2 | Treatment Options for Sensitive Skin
Melasma treatments (both topical, oral, and lasers) work by targeting pigmentation cells in the skin.
Hydroquinone is a very well-known depigmenting agent and is especially effective at treating superficial pigmentation that sits closer to the skin’s top layer.
Hydroquinone is typically only used as a short-term treatment (3 months at a time, with a 3 months break) and must be prescribed and directed at a professional’s discretion.
Overuse of hydroquinone can even cause your skin to be even darker or even parts of your skin to look lighter than other areas. It’s important to monitor your skin to check for any changes.
If you have sensitive skin, a lower percentage of hydroquinone, and using it every other day is better for your skin.
However, some people can still have irritation with hydroquinone, and you may have to look for alternative methods. The results of hydroquinone depend on the dosage, amount, and frequency of usage, and this may take several weeks to see a difference.
– Tranexamic acid
Tranexamic acid is a brightening complex that works by reducing melanin synthesis, aka intercepting melanin production. It can be used for melasma or hyperpigmentation in general.
Tranexamic acid can be administered orally, topically, or through injection. Results can take a few weeks to show, with the earliest improvements starting at 2 weeks after treatment.
Tranexamic acid is gaining popularity as even a low dose hydroquinone can cause irritation in sensitive skin.
3 | Things you should know about these treatments
– Methods and effectiveness largely depend on the patient
It is important to note that the use of the above treatment methods and their effectiveness largely depend on the patient.
Effects may vary between individuals, or some treatment options may not be suitable for certain people.
A professional must assess whether the patient is eligible for treatment. For example, patients receiving oral treatment plans cannot have certain diseases or blood clotting issues.
– Sun protection is essential
Another important point worth emphasizing is the increased need for sun protection during and after melasma treatment.
Decreased melanin content in the skin means more vulnerability to UV rays and more potential damage during sun exposure. Sun protection and melasma treatments go hand in hand. Remember to apply sunscreen religiously and consistently – don’t let your efforts and progress go to waste!
– Keeping the skin moisturized
Keeping the skin moisturized is also important both during and after treatment.
Tranexamic acid and hydroquinone can cause the skin to be drier. Therefore, you may want to invest in a heavier moisturizer with a more protective skin barrier.
Get Melasma Treatment Without Worrying!
If you are experiencing melasma and have yet to find a solution that works for you – don’t be discouraged! Oftentimes, treatments such as topical solutions can be combined with light laser toning, chemical peels, or other tools. The best way to find the most effective and suitable treatment plan for you is to have a professional assess your skin.
Ovo Medi Spa offers free skin consultations to help you design a bespoke treatment plan depending on your goals, lifestyle, and budget.