Unmasking the causes and treatments of melasma

Melasma is a very common pigmentary disorder that usually affects a woman during the reproductive age, though in some cases it can affect men as well. This disorder mainly causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face, especially on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and above the upper lip. It can also appear on forearms and neck i.e., areas that are often exposed to the sun.


The causes of this skin condition have not been fully understood. But it may be due to the excess production of melanin from the melanocyte cells on the skin. Other than these, the common triggers of Melasma are

Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalance caused during pregnancy or due to the ingestion of birth control and hormone blocker medication.
Sun exposure: Melasma can be caused or worsened by exposure to the harmful sun rays, heat and visible light.
Chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals found in sunscreens, cosmetics and other skincare products results in melasma.
Skin Inflammation: High levels of heat or harsh exfoliation from lasers cause skin inflammation to protect and repair the damaged skin, resulting in increased production of melanin that causes melasma.

Prevention and Treatment

Melasma is caused when our skin goes in protection mode. It does not have any major side effects. The options available for the treatment of Melasma are

Use sunscreen: Use a strict sunscreen regimen. To avoid the occurrence of melasma, use a non-chemical sunblock that is rich in SPF 50 and stay away from highly polluted places.
Vitamins, Hat and Sunglasses: Dab on a few drops of serum that contains vitamins C and E to improve skin health and ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Use a hat and sunglasses to limit sun exposure.
Topical treatments: Your dermatologist may prescribe steroid-free topical treatments and
topical skin lightening agents such as azelaic acid/kojic acid to help lighten melasma.
Medical Procedures: If the lotions and other medications do not work, a dermatologist will recommend procedures such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser treatment, light therapy, etc.


Melasma is common during several trimesters of pregnancy, so there is no need to panic if you see affected dark skin on your face. Melasma and the above-discussed remedies do not cause any harm to the baby.

5 things to try when acne won’t clear

Many people feel that they tried almost every way to get rid of their acne but still see acne scars. To get clear skin, you might probably need to make some changes in your skincare routine. The following tips from dermatologists can help you get started, getting you clear skin.

Give it some time:
Don’t change the acne product for every few days. It may seem useful, but there are chances that it can worsen the condition. Using a different product every few days can irritate your skin, causing breakouts. Give an acne treatment at least 4 weeks of time to work. If you notice improvement, continue the treatment. In case of severe acne, the best option is to visit your dermatologist.

Wash your face only when needed:
Wash your face twice a day and when you are sweaty. Acne-prone skin is sensitive. Don’t wash it more than twice a day as it irritates your skin, worsening your acne. For best results, wash your face when you wake up, when you’re ready to go to bed and when it gets sweaty.

Follow directions:
In acne treatment, how long and how often you follow it can make a huge difference. If your dermatologist creates your treatment plan, follow his/her instruction and use everything that is included in the treatment plan. Following only a part of the acne treatment that your dermatologist prescribed can also be the reason that you still have acne.

Don’t scrub, pick or pop:
Stop scrubbing your face and other acne-prone areas. It can irritate your acne-prone skin, worsening it. Also, resist touching, picking, and popping your acne. It may seem like the fastest way to clear it, but it actually makes things even worse.

Seek your dermatologist’s help:
If you still have acne after trying everything on your own, your dermatologist can help you to get rid of your acne. With advanced acne treatments and your dermatologist’s expertise, every case of acne can be cleared. So, stop worrying and start seeking the help of your dermatologist.


To say it is hard to live with oily skin is a very big understatement. Fresh by the morning and sticky by the evening- Sounds Familiar? You are not alone, tons of people who have oily skin face the same problem. Dealing with your oily skin can be a slippery slope.
There is nothing more annoying than waking up with blemishes on your face. It throws you off the game. Especially the ones that are deep and hurt like hell. Here are a few tips to obtain blemish-free skin.

Exercise: Regular exercise gets the blood flowing in the blood capillaries under your skin. The sweat formed during exercise pushes the excess oil that has built up. This excess oil build-up is one of the primary causes of acne. A good 15 to 20-minute drill will not only keep you fit but also improve your skin health.

Take hot showers: Wash off any salty sweat and dirt that you’ve built up during the day. This gives your skin a breather – the steam from the hot shower helps in opening your pores. It usually takes steam 5 minutes to work its magic. As the pores open and there is no blockage, the skin is healthy and gets a glow.

Don’t pop your pimples: Popping a pimple might provide temporary relief, but it creates more trouble than you imagine. By popping your pimple, you not only introduce more bacteria into your skin. But also run the risk of damaging your facial capillaries and create deep acne scars. So, have your pimples removed professionally to avoid further damage.

Yogurt Mask: Yogurt contains high amounts of lactic acid that act as an exfoliant. It prevents further acne breakouts that might easily leave scars and blemishes behind. This mask can be made using two tablespoons of plain yogurt, a pinch of turmeric and half a spoon of gram flour. Apply the mask overnight 2-3 times a week to avoid blemishes.

Baking Soda mixture: Blemishes are mostly caused due to change in pH and inflammation of the skin. Baking soda neutralizes the pH levels of the skin and scrubs away the dead cells. This mixture can be prepared easily using one teaspoon of baking soda and olive oil as the base. After multiple scrubs, the dead skin in the blemish area will be cleared out.

Bottom line:

Pollution is increasing every day, causing the formation of dead cells which leads to blemishes. But by following these simple tips, you can keep your skin blemish free and healthy.

How to choose moisturizer for acne-prone skin

Acne is a self-diagnosable skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells causing blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. These usually appear in the face and forehead region and sometime on the chest and shoulders too. This can be avoided by simply maintaining the moisture levels of your face.

Moisturizing creams are cosmetic preparations used for protection, lubrication and moisturization of the skin. These functions are generally performed by a substance called sebum. All the moisturizing creams contain an ingredient called White Petrolatum which plays a major part in maintaining the moisture levels in the skin.

Every skin type needs moisturizing and oily, acne-prone skin is never an exception. Oily and acne-prone skin needs moisturizing to keep the skin barrier intact and avoid stickiness.

Choosing the perfect moisturizer for an oil-free and acne-prone skin can be very tricky. So, here are a few tips you can consider while choosing moisturizer for acne-prone skin.

Types of moisturizers

Based on skin types, moisturizers are majorly divided into
– Lightweight
– Fragrance-free
– Soothing

People with acne-prone and oily skin are advised to use lightweight moisturizers. Lightweight moisturizers are oil-free and manufactured in a non-comedogenic way especially for users who have acne-prone skin.

Since they do not contain oil and comedogenic material, these moisturizers don’t block hair follicles, and with your skin moisturized, there is no possibility of oil formation.

Lightweight moisturizers usually contain high amounts of SPF 15 and, as prior mentioned, are oil-free and non-comedogenic. These moisturizers help maintain skin barrier and the SPF 15 provides protection against the sun.

The moisturizer must be applied gently on your face using your fingers all over your face and let it set. Cosmetics in the product helps your skin maintain its integrity.

Bottom Line
Acne is commonly caused due to oil blockage. Moisturizers are used to prevent the formation of these blockages.

Why do you need moisturizer when you have acne?

Many suggest that everyone who has acne should opt for moisturizer as treating acne dries up the skin. When your skin becomes dry, your body produces more oil. It clogs your pores, leading to more breakouts. The right moisturizer prevents your skin from becoming dry and irritated.

Moisturizer becomes essential if you’re using one of the following acne treatments as they tend to dry and irritate the skin:
– Benzoyl peroxide
– Salicylic acid
– Adapalene, tazarotene, or tretinoin
– Isotretinoin (treatment for severe acne)

If you have acne, you may see great improvement in your skin once you begin to use moisturizer. If you have oily skin that gives you lots of whiteheads and blackheads, you also may need moisturizer. But not everybody with acne-prone skin needs the same moisturizer in the same amounts all the time. Choose the right moisturizer that goes well with your acne treatment plan as recommended by your dermatologist.

To prevent moisturizer from causing breakouts, look for one that is:
– Oil-free
– Non-comedogenic
The one with these descriptions won’t clog pores, preventing acne.

Apply moisturizer whenever your skin feels dry. Dermatologists recommend using it every single day, especially when your skin feels dry.

If you still feel skeptical about using moisturizer, consult your dermatologist and tell him to create an acne treatment plan including moisturizer that suits your skin type.