According to Dr. Dikshak Chawla, Hyperpigmentation and melasma are common skin conditions that cause dark spots and patches on the face and other areas of the body. They can affect anyone, but are more prevalent in people with darker skin tones and those who are exposed to hormonal changes or sun damage.
Hyperpigmentation and melasma can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and quality of life, but the good news is that there are effective ways to treat and prevent them.
In this blog post, we will explain what hyperpigmentation and melasma are, what causes them, and what are the best treatments available at the Arka skin clinic by Dr. Dikshak Chawla.
What are hyperpigmentation and melasma?
Hyperpigmentation is a general term that refers to any condition that causes excess pigment production in the skin, resulting in dark spots or patches. There are different types of hyperpigmentation, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which occurs after an injury or inflammation of the skin, sun spots or age spots, which are caused by chronic sun exposure, and freckles, which are genetic.
Melasma is a specific type of hyperpigmentation that is triggered by hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, birth control pills, or menopause. Melasma usually affects the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and chin, and has a symmetrical pattern. Melasma is more common in women than men, and in people with darker skin types.
What causes hyperpigmentation and melasma?
According to Dr. Dikshak Chawla, The main cause of hyperpigmentation and melasma is the overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives color to our skin, hair, and eyes. Melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes, which are located in the basal layer of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. Melanin protects our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays, but when it is produced in excess, it can accumulate in the skin and cause discoloration.
There are several factors that can trigger or worsen hyperpigmentation and melasma, such as:
UV rays stimulate melanin production and can cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the skin, which can damage the melanocytes and lead to uneven pigment distribution.
Estrogen and progesterone, the female sex hormones, can increase melanin production and sensitivity in the skin, especially during pregnancy, birth control use, or menopause. This can cause melasma or worsen existing hyperpigmentation.
Any injury, infection, or irritation of the skin can cause inflammation, which can stimulate melanin production and cause PIH. This can occur after acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, cuts, or cosmetic procedures.
Some drugs can increase the sensitivity of the skin to sun exposure and cause hyperpigmentation as a side effect.
Some people have a genetic predisposition to hyperpigmentation and melasma, due to variations in the genes that regulate melanin synthesis and distribution.
What are the best treatments for hyperpigmentation and melasma?
The treatment of hyperpigmentation and melasma depends on the type, severity, and cause of the condition, as well as the skin type and goals of the patient. The main objectives of the treatment are to reduce the excess pigment, prevent further pigment production, and protect the skin from sun damage.
At the Arka skin clinic, DR. Dikhshak chawla offers a variety of treatments for hyperpigmentation and melasma, such as:
These are creams, serums, or gels that contain active ingredients that can lighten the dark spots and inhibit melanin production. Some of the most effective ingredients are hydroquinone, azelaic acid, and vitamin C. These products can be used alone or in combination, depending on the individual needs and tolerance of the patient.
These are procedures that involve applying a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the superficial layers of the skin to peel off, revealing a new and more even skin tone. Chemical peels can also stimulate collagen production and improve the texture and appearance of the skin. There are different types and strengths of chemical peels, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid and phenol. The choice of the peel depends on the skin type, condition, and desired results of the patient. Chemical peels can be used to treat mild to severe hyperpigmentation and melasma, and can also be combined with other treatments for optimal results.
This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves creating microscopic punctures in the skin using fine needles, which stimulate the natural healing process and the production of new collagen and elastin. Microneedling can also enhance the penetration and efficacy of topical products, as well as reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and pores. Microneedling can be used to treat mild to moderate hyperpigmentation and melasma, and can also be combined with other treatments for optimal results.
This is a procedure that involves using a device that emits a beam of light that targets the pigment in the skin, causing it to break down and fade away. Laser therapy can also stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells and improve the texture and appearance of the skin. There are different types and wavelengths of lasers, such as Q-switched, picosecond, fractional, and intense pulsed light (IPL). The choice of the laser depends on the skin type, condition, and desired results of the patient. Laser therapy can be used to treat moderate to severe hyperpigmentation and melasma, and can also be combined with other treatments for optimal results.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation and melasma?
According to Dr. Dikshak Chawla, The best way to prevent hyperpigmentation and melasma is to protect your skin from sun exposure and avoid any triggers that can cause or worsen the condition. Some of the preventive measures that you can take are :
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, regardless of the weather or season. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you sweat or swim. Choose a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type and that contains ingredients that can block visible light, such as iron oxide or zinc oxide. You can also use makeup products that contain sunscreen and pigment-blocking ingredients.
- Wear protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves, when you go outside, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible, and seek shade when you can. Remember that sun rays can penetrate through windows and clouds, so you still need to protect your skin indoors and on cloudy days.
- Avoid hormonal medications that can trigger or worsen melasma, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, unless they are medically necessary. Consult with your doctor about alternative options or ways to minimize the risk of melasma.
- Avoid skin inflammation that can cause or worsen hyperpigmentation, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, or cosmetic procedures. Treat any skin condition promptly and gently, and avoid picking, scratching, or squeezing your skin. Consult with your dermatologist before undergoing any cosmetic procedure that can affect your skin, such as waxing, laser hair removal, or microdermabrasion.
- Avoid medications that can increase your skin sensitivity to sun exposure and cause hyperpigmentation, such as antibiotics, antimalarials, anticonvulsants, or chemotherapy. Consult with your doctor about alternative options or ways to minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle that can support your skin health and prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, such as eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and managing stress.
According to Dr. Dikshak Chawla, Hyperpigmentation and melasma are common and challenging skin conditions that can affect your appearance and confidence. However, with proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, you can achieve a more even and radiant skin tone.
At the Arka skin clinic, Dr. Dikshak Chawla is committed to providing you with the best and most personalized care for your skin. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you with your hyperpigmentation and melasma. We look forward to hearing from you!