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How Black Light Can Help Melasma Treatment

How Black Light Can Help Melasma Treatment

26 July

You may think melasma is easy to detect. After all, you can clearly see when there is skin discoloration and then treat it appropriately. The problem comes, however, when melasma is less visible. Even if there are no visible signs of skin discoloration, the problem may be there underneath the surface, worsening without treatment until the dark patches suddenly appear to mar an otherwise clear complexion.

Early detection can help improve melasma treatment, and researchers believe they now have the key: black light. Some had already suggested black light could help dermatologists diagnose melasma depth, but researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have discovered the technology can help diagnose melasma that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.

For their study, the researchers quantitatively measured amounts of melasma detected using natural light and using black light, then compared the two. They discovered that the black light did, in fact, detect melasma that was invisible in natural light. It seems that black light could be a valuable tool in detecting the skin condition early, treating melasma before it worsens and becomes a visible problem.

Black lights help by highlighting changes in color or fluorescence in the skin, making otherwise invisible dark patches appear visible, shining under the light. Even in patients who did not have visible melasma, the black lights in the study showed when the dark pigmentation was present within the skin, and likely to worsen and become visible without treatment.

According to the researchers, early detection is critical so patients can receive treatment before their condition worsens and becomes an embarrassment. Without knowing they have melasma, patients may continue to expose themselves to ultraviolet radiation, worsening the damage. Knowing early that a patient has melasma can help dermatologists recommend treatments to reduce the dark pigmentation before it even becomes visible, making black light a valuable tool for dermatologists.

Melasma can cause brown to gray-brown patches to appear on the skin, commonly on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin, usually symmetrical, but it can also occur on other areas of the body exposed to the sun. The skin condition is much more common in women than men, at a ratio of about nine to one, and often occurs in pregnant women, called chloasma or "the mask of pregnancy" in these cases. Although the condition is not medically harmful, it can make patients feel self-conscious about their appearance with their uneven skin tone.

Although the causes of melasma are not completely clear, estrogen and progesterone levels can affect the condition, with contraceptive pills, hormone therapy, and pregnancy all potential triggers. Those with dark skin are more prone to melasma than those with fair skin, and stress and thyroid disease may also be triggers. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause melasma to appear as it affects melanocytes, triggering excess pigment production.

Sometimes melasma will go away on its own, especially if it was triggered by pregnancy or birth control pills, but various treatments can also help. Doctors will recommend always wearing an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen while outside, wearing wide-brimmed hats and other protective clothing, and minimizing sun exposure, reducing the chance the UV radiation will trigger the hyperpigmentation. Beyond this, doctors may recommend skin creams that can help brighten skin, with ingredients such as hydroquinone or arbutin. Topical steroids may also help lighten skin, and treatments like microdermabrasion or chemical peels can help exfoliate the damaged skin cells to reveal lighter and brighter skin beneath.

With earlier detection, dermatologists can recommend treatments earlier, along with advising their patients that time in the sun could cause discolored patches to appear soon. They could target black light examinations to those with a known family history of or genetic predisposition to melasma, and pregnant women, ensuring those at risk find out early if they do have melasma developing. It seems that black lights have just become an important tool at the disposal of dermatologists.

Along with a wide selection of dermal fillers, other medical devices, and chemical peels, Medical Spa RX provides spas with medical-grade skin creams, sunblocks, exfoliating products, and much more for clients to take care of their own skin at home. Visit today to buy ZO Ossential Brightalive non-retinol skin brightener or other skin care products for resale in your spa or clinic.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be considered as medical advice. We, do not agree, endorse, or approve opinions expressed by authors of our medical community. Articles are not reviewed for accuracy by You should always consult your doctor when seeking medical advice.

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