Melasma also called blemishes or chloasma or Pigmentation is a tan or dark facial skin discoloration. It is a dark mask like discoloration that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose; it also called “the mask of pregnancy.”
Although not a dangerous condition, it can be distressing for the sufferer and seriously undermine self-confidence.
Although it can affect anyone, it is common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral contraceptives pills or hormone replacement therapy medications and is particularly common in women between the ages of 20 and 40.
The areas most commonly affected are the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin. Different types of melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation occur depending on the location of the excess melanin, in the epidermis or the dermis.
It is thought to be caused by elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte stimulating hormone (a hormone that causes melanin cells to make more melanin).
Pregnancy induced melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation may or may not resolves after delivery, but may return with subsequent pregnancies or with oral contraceptive pills. But there are cases which do not improve after delivery and become even more worse.
It is a harmless disorder. It is not related to cancer and it does not involve internal organs.
The condition is universal and seen in women of all cultures and ethnicities. However, it is far more common in Orientals, Hispanics, Arabs and North African women. Individuals with fair skin usually have a very lighter shade of melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation which is not always recognized.
Sometimes melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation is mistaken for freckles or age-spots, which are essentially the same thing, however, melasma or chloasma or pigmentation spots can be larger and much darker.
Homoeopathic medicines have shown great results in cases of melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation. They help to get rid of the problem from its root slowly and gradually.
Homoeopathy believes that the use of creams and ointments in skin disorders leads to the suppression (temporary removal) of the main symptoms of the internal disease which is done in the conventional treatment.
In conventional treatment only creams are used to treat the condition and the internal problem is overlooked. The melasma spots may become lighter temporarily but they come back and can be even worse with these creams and lotions.
Homoeopathy concurs that skin disorders are to be treated from within. A well-prescribed medicine not only takes care of hyper pigmentation but also treats as a whole and improves general health as well.
How homoeopathy works:-
It considers melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation as a local expression of a systemic / internal disturbance. It believes that skin disorders are a reflection of an internal imbalance and needs to be treated from within. The medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution, genetic predisposition and so on.
While choosing remedies the cause is evaluated, for example, mental stress, hormonal imbalances, sun exposure, nutritional deficiency, poor immune system and so on.
Homoeopathic treatment, which gets to the root of the problem will reinforce the immune system and gradually restore the pigmented spots to the normal skin color. The medicines restore the hormonal imbalance and control the excessive production of melanin. Homoeopathy will not inhibit the natural process of the skin’s melanin production. It will act on melanocytes to produce less melanin naturally thus strengthening the skin cells to stay healthy and remove excessive melanin in the skin. This improves the quality (texture) of skin, blemishes disappear and further discoloration of skin stops.
The medicines cure melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation from the root cause and assuring the patient of not facing the similar problem in future.
Remedies are natural, gentle, harmless and easy to take, are also regulated by the FDA and prepared according to the Homoeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States.
Anyone can easily get rid of the ugly spots with miraculous homoeopathic treatment.
There are 27 homoeopathy medicines which give great relief in melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus remedies are tailor made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same procedure or drugs although trade name may be different.
Treatment in conventional medicine:-
Skin lightening creams and their side effects : There are many skin lightening agents in the market and the most commonly used is hydroquinone. The patient may suffer with the following mentioned problems :
Phototoxic reactions with secondary post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.
Irreversible exogenous ochronosis (reported even with long-term use of 2% HQ).
Monobenzyl ether of HQ (Benoquin) causes an irreversible localized and generalized vitiligo like leukoderma.
Chemical peels and their side effects : The most commonly used acid compounds to remove melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation include trichloroacetic acid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid and various fruit extracts. Stronger peeling agents tend to have a higher effectiveness rate than lighter strength peeling agents. The patient may suffer with the following mentioned problems :
Burning of the skin.
Worsening the pigmentation.
Laser resurfacing : This treatment do not necessarily cure and may even worsen the condition.
There are many factors that can cause melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation; whether it is a mild or severe form it is usually associated with one or a combination of the below :
Melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation usually affects women; only one in twenty affected individuals are male. It generally starts between the age of 30 and 40. It is more common in people that tan well or have naturally dark skin compared with those who have fair skin.
It affects the forehead, cheeks and upper lips resulting in macules (freckle like spots) and larger patches. Occasionally it spreads to involve the sides of the neck, and a similar condition may affect the shoulders and upper arms. Melasma or chloasma is sometimes separated into epidermal (skin surface), dermal (deeper), mixed and inapparent types.
There are four types of melasma of chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation based on Wood’s (ultraviolet) light examination which shows the depth of the pigmentation :
The most common type shows enhancement of the color contrast between normal and affected skin.
Does not show enhancement of the color contrast between normal and affected skin.
Mixed Epidermal and Dermal:-
Shows enhancement of the color contrast between some of the affected skin but not others.
Seen in very dark-skinned people, affected lesions are not seen under Wood’s light.
How it is Diagnosed:-
Melasma or chloasma or blemishes or pigmentation is usually diagnosed visually or with assistance of a Wood’s lamp (340 – 400 nm wavelengths). Under Wood’s lamp, excess melanin in the epidermis can be distinguished from that of the dermis.
How to Prevent:-
Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, with a broad spectrum that protects the skin from both UVA rays (‘A’ for aging) and UVB rays (‘B’ for burn).
Discontinue any make-ups, facial cleansers or creams that irritate the skin.
Avoid oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) as far as possible.
Avoid stress. Exercise and meditation helps fighting stress.
Have balanced diet to avoid nutritional deficiencies.