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According to expert dermatologists, melasma is a result of overexposure to the sun or changes to the hormones progesterone and estrogen in females. According to the statistics provided by the National Institute of Health, about 9 out of 10 people have melasma at the ages of 20 to 50 years and 6 million Asian women suffer from permanent melasma. While sun exposure and hormonal changes are the two major causes of melasma, there are other contributing factors, such as genetics, skin pigmentation, etc. For example, those who work in hot temperatures - such as cooks or delivery workers - are prone to skin irritation and overproduction of skin pigments.

They also said: “Most women came to me seeking a cure for melasma. Although this condition is not dangerous, it takes a toll on one’s appearance, and hence, preventing them from reaching their full potential in their daily lives.”

What is the best treatment for melasma?

Melasma can gradually fade on its own, especially when the cause is pregnancy or the use of birth control pills. When these are over, melasma will disappear as well. Nevertheless, as it has a negative impact on one’s look, many people can’t stand waiting for melasma to fade away and decide to take matters into their own hands. Treatment options may include:

1. Hydroquinone

This is an active ingredient found in certain skin creams. Hydroquinone can come in the form of a gel or a liquid and works wonders for skin whitening. Hydroquinone can also be found in supplements or OTC products. However, to get hydroquinone at a higher dose, you’ll need to ask your dermatologist for a prescription.

2. Tretinoin and corticosteroids

These medications help whiten the skin when added to products containing hydroquinone. Cosmetics with all the three ingredients (namely tretinoin, corticosteroids, and hydroquinone) are often referred to as “triple anti-melasma creams” by dermatologists.

3. Other topical products

These work to “fight the dark skin pigments” and lighten the skin tone. These creams can contain azelaic acid or kojic acid.

4. Professional cosmetic procedures

Thea's expert suggests that when topical medications have failed to help, one should opt for micro needling or other procedures to remove melasma. These procedures peel the topmost skin layer to eliminate dead skin cells and cells with melasma.

Almost all the treatment options above can yield good results with the help of a dermatologist. They added: “Some people may have melasma that’s hard to get rid of, resulting in topical treatments taking months to produce the desired results. However, melasma treatment technology usually delivers satisfactory outcomes for patients.

Optimal prevention of melasma

Optimal prevention of melasma

According to experts, there is no permanent solution to melasma. He/she believes that it’s best to maintain melasma treatment to prevent it from recurring. Having serious preventative measures is also important as they may help you avoid getting melasma in the first place. Those include:

Use sunscreen every day. Sunlight is one of the major causes of melasma. That is why applying sunscreen daily is an important way to protect your skin. You should choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat when going out. A wide-brimmed hat helps shield sunlight which can cause damage to your skin. Hat or no hat, avoid going out on scorching hot days and try to stay under the shades whenever possible.

Take care of skin with gentle products as those with strong bleaching effects can result in burning and irritation, or even make melasma worse.

The bitter truth is, in many cases, having a good skincare routine and effective melasma prevention strategies doesn’t guarantee melasma-free skin. This is because hormonal changes and aging can cause skin discoloration and fluctuations in skin pigments. Most of it has to do with the natural course of time. Therefore, if you have melasma, contact THEA’s experts immediately to get the best treatment on time.