Exposure to ultraviolet rays is inevitable in Summer season.
The most sun-exposed areas of our body, is the face, the ears, the “V” of the neck and the back of the hands.
The body’s reaction to UV exposure is the increase production of melanin that leads to tanning visible after two or three days.
Many people after excessive sun exposure develop a symmetrical, blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation that Dermatologists called Melasma.
Melasma can occur in pregnant women (called “mask of pregnancy”), in patients presenting thyroid disorders, or those taking oral contraceptives, estrogen, progestin or medicines for heart disease.
The depth of the melasma pigment is determined with a Wood’s lamp (a special lamp that emits UVA) that helps us not only for its classification but also for the treatment options.
Melasma is classified into three types:
- Epidermal (skin surface), that presents well-defined border, dark brown colour, appears more obvious under black light and responds well to treatment.
- Dermal (deeper) that presents ill-defined border, light brown or bluish in colour. Also it is unchanged under black light and responds poorly to treatment.
- Mixed type that presents combination of bluish, light and dark brown patches, mixed pattern seen under black light and partial improvement with treatment.
What are the treatment options?
- Peels are a well-known modality of treatment for melasma (glycolic acid, TCA, Jessner solution, salicylic acid, kochiko acid).
- Cryotherapy, is another treatment option for those with Fitzpatrick’s skin phototypes I and II that present lentigo.
- Mesotherapy or Microneedling or these treatments combined with lightening serum and vitamin C for better absorbtion.
- FRACTIONAL LASER and Q-switch LASER.
- The best treatment is prevention. Avoid sun exposure and use sunscreens with high sun protection factors offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays.