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A common skin condition, which causes the discoloration of your skin in patches across the face, melasma is more of a social embarrassment and cause for distress rather than being a serious condition. Although it affects men as well, studies have shown that over 90 percent of patients are women. It is also known as the mask of pregnancy as many pregnant women develop this skin condition.
Causes of Melasma - Primary causes of melasma have been attributed to various hormonal changes within the body. Let's look at some of the factors that may cause this disorder:
1. Pregnancy: This is often attributed as the leading cause of melasma, the primary cause has often been attributed to hormonal changes that a woman may experience due to pregnancy.
2. Treatments that may change hormonal balance: Women on contraceptive pills or who have implants such as intrauterine devices may also develop this disorder. This is due to the balance of estrogen and progesterone being changed within the body.
3. Sun exposure: Continued sun exposure may also lead to melasma. This is due to the activation of melanocytes within the body which start producing more melanin.
4. Stress: Long periods of stress on the body can also trigger hormonal changes and cause melasma.
5. Thyroid problems: If someone suffers from Hypothyroidism or low levels of the thyroid hormone, it can trigger other hormonal changes and also cause this skin disorder.
It has also been noticed that people with generally a darker skin tone tend to get melasma and it is less common in people with fairer skin.
Certain characteristics of Melasma - Melasma develops in certain patterns which can be easily diagnosed either as spots on the skin similar to freckles or brown patches of skin that grow bigger. Some of these patterns are:
1. Malar pattern: This grows on the nose and cheeks
2. Mandibular pattern: Starts growing around the jaw line
3. Brachial melasma: This grows on the upper arms and shoulders
4. Lateral cheek pattern: Grows on the cheek on both sides of the face
5. Centrofacial pattern: Nose, upper lips, forehead and cheeks
Treatment of Melasma
Most women who develop melasma during pregnancy report that it goes away after childbirth. However certain forms of melasma may appear in non-pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Treating the underlying hormonal changes usually resolves the problem. However certain other methods may be required to resolve the issues such as skin creams, chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.
You may have preferences when it comes to which skin care products you want to use on your skin, but the actual nourishment is received from within. Hence it is very important to eat healthy food in order to keep your skin healthy. Although it is not possible to maintain the 'healthy' food notion every day, here are some food items which you must eat regularly to maintain healthy skin:
1. Olive oil:
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use in your everyday meals. This is because almost 75% of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids. It also contains antioxidant polyphenols which help to keep the skin healthy. Olive oil also plays a major role in controlling signs of aging. If you consume olive oil regularly for at least a few weeks, you will suffer from 31% less signs of aging.
When consumed with olive oils for a few weeks, tomatoes provide almost 33% more protection against suffering from sunburns. This is because tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which helps in improving the natural SPF of the skin.
3. Dark Chocolate:
In spite of the common belief that it is a weight gaining food, dark chocolate is actually very beneficial to the skin. It contains a compound called "cocoa flavanols" which hydrate skin and also improve blood circulation in the body.
4. Green Tea:
Green tea has an antioxidant called EGCG which improves blood circulation and oxygen flow in the body, while delivering vital nutrients to the skin which is required for its health. Green tea makes the skin more elastic and smooth, softer and supple. It also reduces sun damage by a quarter.
Water is very important for the skin to remain hydrated. Drinking enough water everyday makes the skin appear plumper and less wrinkled.
Regular consumption of coffee reduces the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 11%. If you drink 6 cups of coffee every day, it reduces the risk by 30%, but it causes other health problems; hence is not advised.
Carrots contain "carotenoid" which gives a natural glow to the skin. Carotenoid provides more yellow tones to skin giving it a healthier look.
Pomegranate has the most antioxidant content amongst fruits. It has an inflammation fighting antioxidant which helps in fighting aging signs.
9. Sunflower seeds:
Sunflower seeds are full of Vitamin E which makes the skin supple and helps to protect the skin from the Sun.
This red root is loaded with Vitamin A, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin E. It has skin clearing properties, and is essential for healthy skin and epidermal healing. It acts as an all-round body cleanser. It also helps eliminate toxins and lowers cholesterol level. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
All of us desire to possess a healthy and glowing skin but factors like unhealthy lifestyle practices, inadequate sleep, extreme stress, anxiety and poor dietary choices tend to damage the health of your skin, giving it a dull and tired appearance.
The following are some tips that will enable you to revitalize your skin:
- Quit smoking and alcohol intake: Smoking reduces blood circulation to the interior of your skin layers, which makes your skin look dull and tired. Alcohol tends to reduce blood circulation, nutrients and quantity of oxygen supply to your skin. Hence, it is essential to limit the usage of both alcohol and tobacco.
- Drink lots water: Water is essential for the smooth functioning of your system. It is extremely important to hydrate your cells, to enable effective elimination of toxins from your system. An adequately hydrated body will add a healthy glow to your skin as well.
- Eat a balanced diet: A diet that is rich in carbohydrates and fats tend to cause more wrinkles. Green leafy vegetables and fresh seasonal fruits have antioxidants and essential vitamins, while food like fish, tofu, white meat, beans, lentils are rich in protein, all of which tend to make your skin appear younger. A balanced diet that incorporates essential nutrients is good for your skin cells and its rejuvenation. Eat mixed nuts to increase the elasticity of your skin; most nuts contain fatty acids that enable your skin to repair and rejuvenate itself.
- Use sunscreen: Almost ninety percent of the wrinkles occur due to extreme sun exposure. It is advisable to use effective sunscreen and sun protection techniques to prevent sun damage. It not only protects your skin from harmful UV rays of the sun but also protects it from sun burn and sun tans.
- Remove your make up prior to sleep: When you go to bed without removing your make-up, the accumulated dirt and sweat tend to clog your skin pores. It is extremely necessary to remove your make up prior to sleep to lessen the risk of pimple and formation of rash on skin.
- Go to bed early: Inadequate sleep tends to lower your blood circulation, which is responsible for making you look washed out and pale. Proper sleep not only gives your body the required rest but also enables your skin to rejuvenate itself through involuntary renewal process. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
Examination of a sample of skin (removed/extracted from the body) under a microscope is known as skin biopsy. It helps in diagnosing skin infections, conditions like psoriasis and diseases like skin cancer.
There are some things you need to know before getting a skin biopsy
How to prepare for this procedure?
You need to inform the doctor about several things like-
1. If you have any allergies
2. If you are or might be pregnant
3. If you are suffering from any kind of bleeding problems and taking medicines like Aspirin or warfarin
4. If you are on any kind of anti-inflammatory medication like prednisone
How does it feel?
When the skin sample is removed, it is done under the influence of anesthesia. Therefore, no such pain is felt at all. The only time a little sting is felt, is when the local anesthesia is injected.
What are the risks associated with skin biopsy?
There are no life threatening risks associated with a skin biopsy. But sometimes, a skin biopsy can cause skin infection or may result in persistent bleeding or even a scar may develop.
Post procedure care tips
After a skin biopsy, you will be instructed by your doctor on how to take care of the area of the skin where the procedure is done. Some of these instructions include
1. The biopsy site must be kept clean and dry
2. It would take 3-14 days for the removal of the stitch from the site
3. In case of pain, excessive bleeding, swelling, redness or fever, inform your doctor
The results of such biopsy tests take 3-10 days to get available. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.