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Melasma - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Melasma in Urdu

  • یہ جلد کی رنگت تبدیل ہونے کی بیماری ہے جو کہ سورج کی روشنی کا سامنا کرنے کے باعث سامنے آتی ہے۔ میلازما سے زیادہ تر ماتھے، گال، ہونثوں کا اوپری حصہ اور ٹھوڑی کی جلد متاثر ہوتی ہے۔ لیکن یہ سورج کا سامنا کرنے والے دیگر اعضا پر بھی اثر انداز ہو سکتا ہے۔ یہ جلد پر گہری رنگت کے دھبوں کی صورت میں ظاہر ہوسکتی ہے جو الگ الگ بھی ہو سکتے یا بہت سے دھبے مل کر ایک بڑا دھبہ بنا سکتے ہیں۔ ماہرین میلازما کو سورج کی روشنی اور جسم میں ہونے والی ہارمونل تبدیلیوں کا خمیازہ گردانتے ہیں۔ حمل کے دوران یا ہارمون ریپلیسمنٹ تھراپی کی وجہ سے میلازما کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔ اگرچہ یہ بیماری کسی تکلیف کا باعث نہیں بنتی لیکن کاسمیٹک مسائل نمودار ہو سکتے ہیں۔ اس کے علاج کے لیے خاص قسم کی کریموں کا استعمال کروایا جاتا ہے جس کے ساتھ ساتھ سورج کی روشنی سے بچنا انتہائی اہم ہے۔ 

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Summary about Melasma in English

Melasma is a skin condition characterized by patches of light to dark brown or blue-gray skin discoloration. It is also known as chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy," The flat patches or freckle-like spots in melasma often target areas like the face - cheeks, upper lip, forehead - and forearms. Hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy and the winter season, trigger the dermatological condition. The treatment options available for melasma include medication or dermatological procedures.

What are the types of Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition distinguished by three types. The depth of pigment, coloration, and response to treatment defines each of these.

  • Epidermal Melasma: It is characterized by a well-defined border and dark brown color. Epidermal melasma is easily discernible under black light. This type often responds positively to treatment as it resides in the uppermost skin layer.
  • Dermal Melasma: This type presents a light brown or bluish coloration with a less defined border. Located deeper within the skin, it is indistinguishable under black light and responds less favorably to treatment.
  • Mixed Melasma: The most prevalent form, Mixed Melasma, combines features of both epidermal and dermal types. It exhibits brown and bluish patches and displays a mixed pattern under black light. It shows a partial response to treatment.

What are the causes of Melasma?

There are no definite causes of melasma. However, the risk factors associated with the condition include;

  • Sun Exposure: UV radiation can increase the chances of getting melasma.
  • Skin Color: Melasma mostly affects those with light brown skin, especially in sun-intense areas.
  • Gender: Females are 9 times more likely to develop this skin condition than males.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause melasma in 15%-50% of expecting mothers.
  • Genetics: Melasma is more common among people with a family history of the disease.

A few of the common triggers of the disease are;

  • Hormone therapy or birth control pills.
  • Irritating skin care products.
  • Certain medications, including anti-seizure drugs, sun-sensitizing medicines like retinoids, some hypertension drugs, and certain antibiotics.

What are the symptoms of Melasma?

Melasma is characterized by freckle-like spots in various shades of brown, sometimes exhibiting a bluish tint. Occasionally, these patches may become red or inflamed. The brownish-colored patches usually appear on;

  • Cheeks
  • Forehead
  • Neck
  • Chin

How to diagnose Melasma?

When diagnosing melasma, the following approaches are used;

  • Patient History: The dermatologist conducts a detailed review of the patient's medical and lifestyle history. Factors like sun exposure, hormonal changes (like those caused by pregnancy or oral contraceptives), and melasma family history are considered.
  • Visual Examination: Initial diagnosis of melasma usually involves a thorough visual examination of the affected areas. The skin specialist checks for the characteristic dark, discolored patches typical of melasma.
  • Wood's Lamp Examination: A special ultraviolet light is used by a dermatologist to examine the skin. This helps the doctor rule out other skin conditions and determine the depth of pigmentation.
  • Skin Biopsy: In rare cases, a skin biopsy is performed to confirm the melasma diagnosis. During the procedure, a small piece of the affected skin is removed and examined under a microscope.

What is the treatment for Melasma?

Melasma treatment options vary based on the individual characteristics of the patient and their condition. A few of the treatment options are;

  • Topical Treatments: Depending on the severity of the condition, topical lightening creams, such as those containing hydroquinone, azelaic acid, or kojic acid, are prescribed.
  • Dermatological Procedures: Various dermatological procedures can be considered if topical treatments fail to show desired results. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy can help treat more resistant or deeper pigmentation. 
  • Sun Protection: Since ultraviolet radiation intensifies melasma, rigorous sun protection is a key part of treatment. This includes regular application of a high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing sun-protective clothing, and avoiding sun exposure during peak intensity hours.

How to prevent Melasma?

Melasma can affect any individual at any change. A few preventive measures can help avoid the condition or decrease its severity. They are;

  • Wear Protective Gear: Complement your sunscreen use with wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Clothing with integrated SPF protection can provide another defense against the sun.
  • Monitor Hormonal Triggers: Those susceptible to melasma should consider discussing their use of hormone-altering medications like birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy with healthcare providers.
  • Opt for Gentle Skin Care Products: Stick to gentle skin care products. Avoid those causing stinging or burning sensations as they may exacerbate melasma.
  • Avoid Skip Waxing: Waxing can trigger skin inflammation, potentially aggravating melasma. Therefore, avoid waxing parts of the body affected by this condition.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Incorporate a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, ensure adequate hydration, and get sufficient sleep.

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