What is melasma?
Melasma is a skin condition where uneven brownish patches develop on the skin. It is common in individuals with Asian skin. These patches are darker than our skin tone and typically affect the cheeks, forehead and nasal bridge. They appear blotchy and the discoloration may go away in a few months or remain even after topical treatments.
Melasma is a common skin disorder in Singapore. It is caused by an overproduction of melanin when our skin interacts with UV light from the sun.Most individuals who experience melasma are women between the ages of 20-50, though women over the age of 40 are more prone to developing melasma.While melasma is a benign condition, it can affect one’s self-esteem if improvements are not seen after one has taken efforts to reduce the pigmentation.
Some causes of melasma in Singapore may include:
Various forms of pigmentation include: Freckles, Melasma, Hori’s Naevus, Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
Not wearing the right sunscreen
Irritation from skincare products
Thyroid disease that causes hormonal changes
What are symptoms of melasma?
You may be suffering from melasma if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Brown patches on both sides of the face
- Increased number of blood vessels in the face
- Worsening of pigmentation over time
Is melasma painful?
Melasma does not cause any pain as it is a benign skin disorder. It does not itch, burn or cause any kind of discomfort apart from noticeable brown patches appearing on the face.Unlike melanoma, a type of skin cancer that occurs when melanocytes grow out of control, melasma is not malignant. It is important to seek advice from a professional to evaluate the symptoms you are experiencing.
Who is at risk of suffering from melasma in Singapore?
Melasma is more common in women than in men in Singapore. This is because hormonal changes tend to trigger melasma to occur.
Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, certain medications and thyroid disease are just some factors that lead to hormonal fluctuations.
In these cases, melasma can occur due to elevated hormone levels that cause more melanin-producing skin cells.
Dark skin individuals
Women with medium to dark skin tones are also susceptible to melasma. They tend to produce more melanocytes (melanin-producing skin cells), leading to extra sensitivity to external factors such as sunlight or UVA rays.
Sun loving individuals
Often, existing melasma is worsened by exposure to the sun. In tropical climates like Singapore, the risk of overexposure to the sun is much higher especially when being outdoors.When the right sunscreen is not being used, the skin is also triggered to produce more melanin. This is what leads to brown patches on areas of the face such as the cheeks, forehead and nasal bridge.
How is melasma in Singapore diagnosed?
Melasma is diagnosed through a physical examination.At The Artisan Clinic, our doctor will first evaluate your medical history and/or lifestyle to help determine the cause of your melasma. It is important to receive the right diagnosis before treatment can begin.A Wood’s lamp examination may be performed during consultation to determine the depth of melasma in the skin. During this procedure, the lamp is held around 10-30cm away from your face to check for any pigmentary disorders using special ultraviolet light rays.
Treating melasma in Singapore — The Artisan Difference
It is important to seek out treatment that not only ensures full removal of uneven skin patches but also allows for a very low chance of recurrence for your melasma.
At The Artisan Clinic, we are proud to be one of the first few clinics in Asia to treat melasma and other pigmentary conditions with PicoSure Pro. PicoSure Pro is the first FDA-approved picosecond laser cleared to treat conditions like melasma, Hori’s Macules and Nevus of Ota with significantly less pain and downtime.
Each session lasts only about 10 minutes and many patients will see significant improvements in discoloration after just 1 or 2 sessions.
Unfortunately, melasma is a chronic skin disorder that doesn’t have an immediate solution to make the patches disappear.
This is because it is triggered by causes that may or may not be immediately discovered during a check-up. Also, it may recur if the right treatment plan is not administered.
However, the right doctor can help you work towards improving the appearance of your skin.
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About our founder
Founder / Medical Director of The Artisan Clinic
Ellanse Asia Advisory Board Member.
Winner of Ellanse / Silhouette Soft Combination Therapy Before After Competition in Barcelona 2018.
Accredited trainer for Dysport , Radiesse, Belotero.
International Trainer / Speaker for CynoSure Medical Devices, Ellanse , Silhouette Soft , Teoxane , Mint Lift.
International Speaker for Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress, Aesthetic Multi-Specialty, Euromedicom conferences.
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