DEFINITION: Melasma is a type of pigmentation appearing as brownish patches on the forehead, cheeks under the bridge of the nose, near the jaws usually in a butterfly shape. It is a condition of the skin where the pigment, melanin is unevenly distributed in the skin.
CAUSES: Anyone from teenage to oldage can get pigmentation, melasma or chloasma. The main cause in women is harmonal imbalance and aggravates due to even little sun-exposure.
Many women get pigmentation marks in pregnancy, called mask of pregnancy; these fade away slowly. It may also occur when a woman is on birth control pills or after HRT.
Men may also suffer with this problem due to hereditary reasons or diabetes and it triggers with stress and overexposure in sun.
1. First and foremost consult a doctor for the exact cause of melasma before going for any remedy.
2. Application of creams with Hydroquinone and Tretonoin. They contain bleaching agents which reduce the production of melanin, responsible for the brown colour of the skin. The results may start coming after 3-4 weeks. These can be irritable to the skin and can have adverse effects with the slightest increase in concentration.
3. Laser treatment in removing brown pigment, melasma.
4. Use sun screen lotions daily.
All Skin lightners like vinegar, lime, papaya(unripe) are useful remedies in the treatment of melasma. Although these things are very good for the entire face, but apply them only on the affected parts as a treatment. If any sort of irritation occurs by applying any of the products, discontinue its usage:
1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and clean the pigmented parts of the face. Vinegar has acetic acid which helps to burn old skin cells and form new light ones. Apple cider vinegar can be used.
2. An excellent remedy : Mix equal parts of vinegar and onion juice and apply with a cotton ball twice daily. Wash after some time, say 20 minutes,
3. Application of papaya juice or 'papaya + yoghurt' a wonderful remedy. This is an exfoliant too. Here also unripe papaya is used. Grate a piece of papaya, squeeze out the juice and mix with curd. Apply and wash with warm water after sometime. It will not be tedious if made into a habit.
4. Lemon slice(contains citric acid which lightens skin) can also be rubbed on the area twice daily.
5. Similarly, juice of mint leaves/onion juice/piece of raw papaya/aloe vera gel (massaged gently in circular motion for 15 minutes and left overnight)/turmeric+milk/milk+oatmeal(uncooked)/almond and honey paste /whichever suits your time and skin, can be massaged gently over the patches and washed after 20 minutes.
Stick to one or two remedies that suit the skin and be regular. Make it into a habit until the pigmentation disappears.
6. Kapalbhati pranayam is a great yogic breathing exercise which helps to fade away melasma completely. High BP and heart patients must do it slowly, otherwise there is no harm at all. Learn properly from an expert.
Protection from sun is extremely important. You will have to apply a sunscreen daily.
Drink plenty of water to flush off toxins.
Wash your face with mild soap and let dry it on its own.
Diet can also effect melasma. Consult your doctor about the intake of calcium/iron. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will improve the skin overall.
Start the home remedies now and they will really work. The pigmentation is quite stubborn, so it takes time. Remember ROME was not built in a day.