Ever noticed dark areas of skin on your face? Then you’ve probably been hit by melasma – a common skin condition in adults (Melas: Greek work for black.). Don’t worry, it’s not an infection, it’s not contagious and it’s not cancerous.
So, what exactly is it and what can be done to get rid of it? Lovoir tells all!
- Handy Tips For: Acne & Breakouts
- Handy Tips For: Dry Skin
- Handy Tips For: Dull Skin (Part 1)
- Handy Tips For: Dull Skin (Part 2)
- Handy Tips For: Facial Redness & Rosacea
- Handy Tips For: Melasma
- Handy Tips For: Pigmentation & Dark Spots
- Handy Tips For: Sensitive Skin
- Handy Tips For: Stretch Marks
- Handy Tips For: Wrinkles & Anti-Aging (Part 1)
- Handy Tips For: Wrinkles & Anti-Aging (Part 2)
What is Melasma?
Also known as hyperpigmentation, the chronic skin condition is most common in women – particularly during pregnancy or other hormone-related changes, such as taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, thyroid problems or long periods of stress, although men can be affected too.
It also rears its head most frequently in dark skin, as well as in people who work around heat for large lengths of time, such as chefs. Certain medications may also carry it as a potential side effect.
What is the difference between melasma and chloasma?
Melasma and chloasma are one and the same, just different terms for the same pigmentation disorder.
They are also commonly called the “mask of pregnancy” as it is known to affect up to 70% of pregnant women – although most of the time, temporarily.
Types of Melasma
- Epidermal. Well-defined border, dark brown in colour, responds well to treatment.
- Dermal. Ill-defined border, light brown or blueish in colour, responds poorly to treatment.
- Mixed. The most common type, this presents as a combination of dark, light and blueish patches and responds partially well to treatment.
What Causes Melasma On Face?
The exact cause is not known, but it is widely believed to be the result of melanocytes in the skin (pigment-producing cells) producing too much pigment (melanin). Unsurprisingly, therefore, too much exposure to UV light from the sun or sunbeds can either trigger the chronic skin condition or make it worse.
Whilst it carries no other symptoms, most people with it are upset by its appearance. Finding ways to deal with it, therefore, is invaluable, which is where we step in!
Is Melasma Contagious?
Some good news for everyone: Melasma is NOT contagious!
It is a harmless skin condition – NOT an infection and definitely NOT an indicator of allergies or skin cancer.
That said, health is not an issue, thankfully! The only concern people with melasma need to focus on is correcting or minimizing the appearance of those dark spots. Here are some tips and treatments to help you out!
Best Melasma Tips: How To Help Melasma On Face
- If your melasma has occurred during pregnancy (known as chloasma), don’t do anything! This is because a. It may well go away after delivery and b. Melasma creams, such as hydroquinone and retinoid, should be avoided during this time as they could harm the foetus.
- Try to avoid known triggers, such as birth control pills – non-hormonal solutions may be a better idea. Get used to cold showers too, as hot water can also activate the production of melanin.
- Avoid the sun as much as is physically possible and use sunscreen daily (SPF 30 minimum), reapplying every two hours. Some sunscreens even contain melasma-fighting ingredients, such as hydroquinone, so it’s definitely worth doing your research before buying! (Spoiler alert: We sell a range right here!) When you do find yourself in the sun for prolonged periods of time, always wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Skin irritants can make it worse, so always choose gentle products that don’t sting or burn.
- Invest in a cosmetic camouflage makeup.
- The longer you suffer with it, the harder it is to budge, as – believe it or not – cells have a good memory! Therefore, book yourself in for a treatment as soon as possible!
Best Melasma Treatments: How To Reverse Melasma
Skincare products and professional treatments are your best bet in reversing melasma and lightening those dark spots significantly!
If you don’t know where to start, feel free to give us a call or visit our day spa and talk to one of the skin experts. We’ll take a look at your skin and gladly recommend some of our facial treatments or skincare products!
1. Skin lightening creams for melasma
Hydroquinone prevents pigment cells in the skin from producing melanin and, as such, is commonly used to treat the condition. Retinoid creams – commonly used to treat acne – as well as certain steroids, can also cause positive results in treating it. However, these topical creams may cause irritation so should only be used for a few weeks at a time. They are also best prescribed by a doctor, to minimise the risks of unwanted side effects.
2. Skincare products for melasma
Here at Lovoir, we offer professional strength skincare to effectively prevent and reverse the over production of melanin. Give us a call or visit our salon and we’ll gladly recommend some products for you to try out!
3. Chemical peels for melasma
By removing the outer layer of the skin that contains the unwanted pigment, chemical peels can greatly improve a variety of skin concerns. However, they should only be conducted by an experienced practitioner (like us!), otherwise they can make the situation worse or cause scarring.
What peels are best for melasma? Different types and strength are available, depending on your skin type, and we’d be delighted to talk through your options with you. Read our complete guide on chemical peels here.
4. Microdermabrasion for melasma
Another exfoliation technique that uses a diamond head machine to rid your skin of dead, undesirable matter. Read our complete guide on microdermabrasion here.
5. Microneedling for melasma
This is a highly effective treatment utilising your skin’s natural healing response to make significant changes in the skin’s tone, colour and texture. Read our complete guide on microneedling here.
6. Dermaplaning for melasma
While dermaplaning is mostly known for removing dry, dead skin and vellus hair (popularly called peach fuzz!), this manual form of exfoliation also happens to get rid of surface-level dark spots in the process!
Keep in mind though, it only helps pigmentation on the top-most surface of the skin. So it’s best to do this in tandem with more advanced treatments that target deeper layers – like the ones we just mentioned!
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