What to do when you have Melasma?

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a type of skin condition that mainly affects women and makes dark patches on the skin that primarily affect the facial area of the skin. Melasma occurs when your system produces too much melanin, creating dark patches. 

What are the causes of Melasma?

Hormones are the big trigger that causes melasma to form in the skin. Many women develop “the mask of pregnancy” during pregnancy which is melasma that can disappear after birth. Other hormonal triggers are oral contraceptives, menopause, and hormone therapies. If you are pregnant or on hormone medications and go out in the sun, especially without sunscreen, it can be easy to develop melasma. Heat can aggravate your melasma, making it more noticeable after exercise or on a hot day. 

How do I know if it’s melasma or hyperpigmentation?

It can be hard to see the difference between these two, but a few ways to distinguish the difference are: to pay attention to how it started. Suppose you were a sun worshipper and have gradually developed dark patches then; in that case, it’s probably hyperpigmentation, but if you are in the category of pregnancy or hormonal changes and certain situations aggravate it, like being in the heat, then it’s most likely melasma. Melasma is considered a form of hyperpigmentation, but hyperpigmentation is not always melasma. 

How to treat melasma?

Remember, it will likely take a mix of treatments and products to lighten melasma and prevent more from developing. 

The essential product to help to prevent melasma from worsening or developing is sunscreen applied liberally. Once melasma develops, it can be stubborn and hard to eliminate. Vitamin C is excellent for your morning skincare routine and retinol at night. At-home peels are gentle on the skin and a perfect option to help your melasma. One thing to be careful with is if your skin is sensitive, start slow with your active ingredient skincare because irritating your skin can create inflammation and make your melasma worse. 

How do skincare products work to treat your melasma?

Sunscreen is a critical factor in preventing melasma or treating it. Your best bet is a physical/mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Stay away from chemical sunscreen with melasma, as chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays that convert the rays into heat energy and release them. Heat triggers melasma, so physical sunscreen is a better option as it blocks the sun’s UV rays. 

Vitamin C helps to inhibit melanin from developing. It offers additional protection with sunscreen against ultraviolet rays and environmental damage. Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine provides even further protection than sunscreen alone. 

Retinol is an excellent addition to your night skincare routine for melasma the way it increases the rate at which the cells turn over, leaving a brighter, more even skin tone. It’s important to ease into using retinol, especially if you have more sensitive skin. Start using your retinol once a week for the first week and then twice weekly for about two weeks. If you don’t see any irritation, move it up to three times a week, making sure to check in with your skincare provider with questions. Some people can use it every other night, and others can use it every night. 

Microneedling is an excellent choice for stubborn melasma that won’t go away. Microneedling is an office procedure where tiny microscopic injuries are made in the skin, which forces it to heal itself and create new fresh skin. 

At-home peels are a gentle weekly maintenance skincare treatment to add to your routine. The at-home peels are safe, gentle and don’t require any downtime. 

 Final thoughts

Melasma can take time to fade, so it’s crucial to continue your daily maintenance of skin care products to treat and prevent it from returning. Glymed Plus offers professional pharmaceutical-grade products to help treat melasma. 

Have questions? I’m here to help! 

Teresa

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