Melasma is a common skin condition of adults. It presents as brown or greyish patches of pigmentation, usually on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck. It is more common in women, particularly during pregnancy (when up to 50% of women may be affected), so it is also called as pregnancy mask. Sometimes men may also be affected. The exact cause of melasma is unknown. For some reasons, the skin cells that produce melanin (which colours the skin) make more melanin that they should do, this causes pigmentation on the skin. Several factors can contribute to developing melasma: sun exposure, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, taking contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy etc. Skin affected by melasma darkens more than the surrounding skin when exposed to light. One of the most important things to prevent melasma worsening is protecting the skin from UV radiation.
Acupuncture can be used to treat melasma effectively. In a study, patients in the acupuncture treatment group received acupuncture needling on the Yangming meridians. Patients in the control group received oral administration of vitamin C and 3% hydroquinone topical cream. Hydroquinone is a cream used to lighten dark patches of skin. The acupuncture treatment group achieved a total efficacy rate of 82.22% and the drug control group achieved an efficacy rate of 62.50%. The acupuncture treatment did not have any serious adverse effects.
The effect of facial acupuncture on melasma was also studied. In this study, women suffering with melasma were randomly assigned into: 1) facial acupuncture (n = 20); or 2) facial/body acupuncture (n = 21). Each group was given 2 sessions per week for 8 weeks. Melasma area and darkness of its pigmentation were assessed using digital images.
Results have shown that
95.2% and 90% of participants in facial/body and facial acupuncture, respectively, had decreased melasma areas. 66.7% (facial/body acupuncture) and 80.0% (facial acupuncture) of participants had lighter melasma pigmentation compared to their baselines. The conclusion is that facial acupuncture, with or without body acupuncture, was shown to be effective in decreasing the size of melasma areas.
Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju
Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.
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