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Worrying About Melasma? Here’s All You Need To Know About The Pigments On Your Face

In Pico Laser, Pigmentation

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Melasma is Common Among Women

If you’re suffering from skin pigmentations like Melasma, especially around the face, you’re not alone. Millions suffer from dark patches around the face. In fact, a study in Singapore suggested that 68.52% of women above age 44 rated pigmentation and dark spots as the No.1 skin concern in Singapore in the year 2019.

Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by the development of brown or grayish patches, usually on the face. These patches can be distressing for individuals, affecting their self-esteem and confidence.

Face pigmentation problems like Melasma are ridiculously more common than you think. For all the worrying women out there, we’ve put together a simple guide with everything you need to know about melasma in Singapore and some of the easy ways to overcome it.

What Causes The Pigmentation in Melasma?

Melasma happens when sections of your skin especially your face seem to appear pigmented or darker than the rest of the surrounding skin. Certain skin conditions and lifestyle factors contribute to the formation of these dark patches. On a cellular level, Melasma is formed by a natural pigment called melanin under the skin, which is produced by melanocyte cells in our skin. 

In reality, everyone has melanocyte cells in their skin and they all produce melanin but that’s not the direct factor. The problem lies in the quantity of melanin produced by these cells and excessive melanin clumps together to form a darkening patch. In simple terms, the more melanin produced in your skin, the more visible or darker your skin Melasma patches appear.

Melasma and Skin Pigmentation

Who Is More Prone To Melasma?

Darker skin tones are often more prone to skin pigmentation because there is melanin produced in their skin. Hence, Melasma are more frequently seen in individuals with darker skin as compared to lighter skin tones. 

But despite this factor being largely dependent on genetics, a person can control how much melanin is produced under their skin through simple lifestyle changes or routines. We’ll delve a bit deeper into that later in the article. 

Not All Face Pigments Are Melasma

The symptoms of skin pigmentation are easily diagnosed through visual examination. Observe for patches around the face which may appear brown, black, grey, red or pink. The patches may be concentrated on one area or may spread out to different skin areas of the face. Some of the early signs begin on the cheeks, forehead, upper lips and nose bridge.

Do bear in mind that skin pigmentations around the skin can resemble other skin conditions so it’s important to examine these symptoms with proper consultations with our in-clinic doctors.

Common Types of Skin Pigmentations

The types of skin pigmentation may vary but the following 3 types are the most common.

Melasma

Believed to be caused by hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy. Common areas affected include the stomach and face.

Sunspots

Sometimes known as liver spots or solar lentigines, sunspots are caused by excessive sun exposure over time. The body produces melanin to defend the skin from UV rays

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This is a common cause when there is an injury or inflammation to the skin such as acne. The pigments may appear like scars or skin trauma. 

What Causes Melasma?

Determining the exact causes of skin pigmentation can be tricky from individual to individual as there are many causes of excessive melanin production, both from internal and external factors.

Excessive Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is often the primary environmental stressor for skin pigmentation issues, especially when you do not frequently use sunscreen. As mentioned earlier in the article, spot spots form as a defence mechanism for your skin against UV rays. This often leads to brownish patches around the skin.

Certain Types of Medicine

Some types of medications may be a contributing factor to Melasma. Examples of these medicines include anti-seizure pills, birth control pills and medicines that increase your sensitivity to light.

Genetics

Melasma can have a genetic component, and a family history of the condition can increase one’s susceptibility. Moreover, individuals with darker skin tones, particularly those of Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent, are more prone to developing melasma. This ethnic predisposition highlights the role of genetics in melasma’s onset.

Pregnancy

Sometimes known as the mask of pregnancy, Melasma is common in expecting mothers usually in the second or third trimester. They are caused primarily by hormonal changes which hikes up melanin production. Skin pigmentation due to pregnancy would usually fade but it’ll take months or even years.

Lack of Skin Hydration

If you do not properly hydrate yourself or use skin moisturising products, your skin may go dry leading to itching and rash. In some cases, your blood vessels constrict and this leads to skin shadows around your eyes and nose, leading to duller skin. 

Environmental Pollution

The environment you live in contributes to your skin conditions as pollutants can enter your skin and cause your skin to age. They are known to cause disruption to the skin barrier and worsen existing skin conditions such as acne. 

Other Contributing Factors

Melasma can also be influenced by various other factors. Certain cosmetics and skincare products containing irritating ingredients or fragrances may trigger melasma or worsen existing patches. Some medications, such as antiseizure drugs and specific antibiotics, are known to cause pigmentation issues. Medical conditions like thyroid disorders can also contribute to melasma development.

How Can You Prevent Melasma Or Other Face Pigmentations?

Prevention of Melasma may be a long-term and daily commitment as you’re expected to make changes to your lifestyle. A few simple ways to begin with:

  • Always use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and above when heading out into the open
  • Opt to wear a broad-covered hat that can block out direct sunlight onto your face
  • Avoid picking on areas with skin trauma such as acne or scabs
  • Limit sun exposure during peak sunlight such as 12.00 pm afternoon sun

Is it Important To Treat Melasma?

Skin pigmentations around the skin aren’t usually harmful but it does cause a severe loss in confidence and self-esteem. In our clinics alone, most patients recovering from Melasma have shared a major boost in confidence as more even-toned skin is achieved.

Home Remedies for Melasma

If your Melasma or face pigmentation issues are considered mild, there are some quick remedies you can prepare at home to soothe the symptoms.

  • Lemon Juice & Honey Mask – Natural bleaching agent to diminish pigments
  • Aloe Vera Gel – includes hydrating functions and aloin, a natural skin brightener. 
  • Green tea extract – lightens the effects of pigments when applied to skin

However, if your face patches is rather visible or should you require a more immediate fix to your pigmentation problems. We recommend the Pico Laser treatment – a proven way to quickly and effectively remove stubborn Melasma and other skin pigmentations.

Topical Treatments for Melasma

  • Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a widely used topical treatment for melasma. It inhibits melanin production and can lighten dark patches over time. However, it should be used under dermatologist supervision due to potential side effects.
  • Kojic Acid: Kojic acid is another topical agent that can be effective in treating melasma. Derived from fungi, it works by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for melanin production. Kojic acid can be found in various skincare products.
  • Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that can help improve melasma by exfoliating the skin’s top layer. This can lead to a reduction in pigmentation over time.
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, has shown promise in managing melasma by reducing inflammation and pigment production. It is gentle on the skin and suitable for long-term use.

Why Do We Recommend Pico Lasers to Treat Melasma?

If you survey about treatments for skin pigmentations, chances are you’ll come across laser treatments as one of the top methods. Pico Lasers to be precise, employs picosecond pulses of energy that can target pigmented areas including melasma, freckles and sunspots. The pulses break down excess melanin pigments into smaller particles, which are then naturally removed by the body’s immune system. The result – brighter and even skin tone which some patients report as visible with only 1 session.

Pico Lasers are so effective, they are even introduced to remove tattoos. So you can have confidence that your pigmentation issues are treatable with Pico Lasers.

There are 12 common conditions that Pico Lasers can effectively treat:

  • Melasma
  • Freckles
  • Sunspots
  • Liver Spots
  • Age Spoys (Solar Lentigo)
  • Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation 
  • Hori’s Nevus
  • Tattoos
  • Acne Scars
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Dull Skin
  • Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Your skin concerns shouldn’t persist. Book an appointment with our clinic and our qualified doctors will devise the optimal plan to remove stubborn pigments. 

Book An Appointment

Outlook of Skin Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation isn’t generally harmful or signals serious medical complications but it does cause a loss of confidence especially in women. Skin pigmentations are easily treatable but your focus should also be on the prevention end. Easy steps such as limiting sun exposure or making changes to your lifestyle go a long way to reducing melanin production.

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