According to theAmerican Academy of Dermatology Association, melasma is a common skin problem that is distinguished by gray-brown patches, usually on the face. It commonly appears on cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It can appear in high sun exposure body areas as well.
Let's face it melasma is pesky and seems to creep up overnight as it reveals itself in brown patches and in various shapes and sizes. While its effects are more apparent in medium skin tones, it's important to note that even light and dark skin tones are susceptible as well.
So what causes melasma?
The typical instigators are:
Genetic predisposition - affects, mostly, people of colour who have active pigment-producing cells naturally in their skin
Hormones (pregnancy, contraceptives and IUDs) - Estrogen is primarily the cause of hormonal melasma and it is due to the fact that pigment cells have estrogen receptors attached to them and so they can be easily activated into overproduction in the skin
Ultraviolet radiation exposure - visible light exposure can change the structure of the epidermal layer that contains melanin cells. The chemical change that it triggers can cause the excess production of pigment leading to darker blotches in the skin.
So what can you do about melasma?
Most clinical skin care treatments are targeted towards the cells that deposit the colour or the existing melanin that is already found in the skin. The most common method of treating melasma is through laser therapy, typically through IPL or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy. You can view a list of our treatments forphotodamage here.
Still, in-clinic solutions can only go so far and may not inhibit future melanin overproduction or a full reversal of the pigment deposit. Patient maintenance at home is key to ensuring the treatment is effective and long-lasting.
Here are some over the counter medical-grade products that help offset photodamage, treat pigmentation spots, and provide the first line of defence for future melanin activation.
There are many products available to treat melasma. Depending on the condition of your skin, however, not all products may be suitable for you. In order to best serve your particular needs, we always recommend a consultation with a skin care advisor or professional. Book one here! Products that help treat pigmentation spots: