Melasma 101

Melasma is a skin condition that many have seen or experienced, though few have ever heard its name. Seen most often in pregnant women and often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma is a condition that causes dark blotches to appear on the skin. It can affect anyone, but is most common in women and is thought to be brought about by surges in certain hormones. Melasma is mostly a cosmetic issue, and how much treatment it requires depends upon how much the individual wants to avoid the dark patches.

The most difficult part of melasma is that there is not a cure available. The dark spots on the skin can only be treated temporarily to varying degrees, depending on certain factors. There are two types of melasma: epidermal and dermal. Epidermal melasma appears in the top and middle layers of the skin and is generally lighter. Dermal melasma is a deep pigmentation of the skin, and is more difficult to conceal or treat. The longer a patch goes untreated, the darker, larger, and deeper in the skin it will become. For this reason, it’s best to keep an eye out for melasma and to begin treating it early. Melasma is also worsened by exposure to sunlight, so it’s best to use strong, broad-spectrum sunscreens with additives like titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide.

The patches can be difficult to cover with makeup, and will only get more difficult over time. The patches spread wider and grow deeper as time goes on, meaning that makeup only works so well for so long. On top of this, the patches appear asymmetrically on the face, making concealment even more difficult. Patches can appear in different places, and depending on your race and whether you’re a man or woman you may be predisposed to melasma patches in certain areas.

At SkinRenew we know that many, many women are affected by melasma. Seeking treatment is the best thing to do if you want to avoid darker patches later on in life. We have a variety of treatments available to aid in lightening melasma and making it more easily concealable with makeup. Both chemical peels and microdermabrasion can be effective ways to lighten the patches. Skin care products that contain hydroquinone are used to bleach, hydrate, and exfoliate pigments that have been pushed up to the top layer of the skin. SkinRenew also uses products from ZO Skin Health to effectively combat melasma. Laser treatments are also available and can be quite effective. Ongoing treatments include combatting free radicals with liquid antioxidants, normalizing hormones so that further pigmentation is avoided, and daily use of strong sunscreens.

Dealing with melasma is about continually protecting and maintaining your skin. We understand that dark blotches on the skin can be embarrassing and can make you feel self-conscious—we have firsthand experience. Combat melasma early and visit us to find out more about which treatments are right for you.

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