Chloasma (melasma) is a condition which refers to a pattern of pigmentation of the face affecting the cheeks and sometimes the nose, forehead and upper lips.
There are different types of chloasma depending on the depth of involvement- superficial (epidermal), deep (dermal) and mixed.
The cause of chloasma remains unknown. However, there are several factors that contribute to the development of chloasma. These include:
Oral contraceptives (especially oestrogen containing pills)
Chloasma is a difficult condition to treat. There are many therapeutic options available. These include :
Chemical peels- glycolic acids/salicylic acids
Photoprotection and photoavoidance is absolutely essential. It is advisable to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. The sunscreen must be evenly applied to all sun exposed areas and must be reapplied depending on the circumstances.
Hydroqinone products are prescribed by a practitioner only. They should be used with extreme caution and should not be used for longer than 3 months. Prolonged use of hydroquinone could cause a peculiar type of pigmentation referred to as ochronosis. This condition occurs as a result of higher concentrations of hydroquinone used in patients. It is imperative that a sunscreen be used with hydroquinone related products.
A chemical peel is a simple and easy procedure to undertake. It involves applying a fruit acid to your skin and neutralising it a short while later with a base. The reaction results in microscopic peeling of the skin. This in turn, leads to smoothness, enhanced clarity, restoration of firmness of the skin and an even skin tone. Chemical peels decreases roughness and scaling of the skin. Regular long term peel programs can delay skin aging, wrinkling, scaling, pigmentation and keratosis pilaris.
There are various peels used depending on the depth of treatment required.
Microdermabrasion is a novel treatment for the lightening of Chloasma. It utilises Aluminium Oxide Crystals which is applied under pressure to the skin. The treatment is combined with lightening agents such as hydroquinone and Kojic acid.