What is THAT on my skin?! Day 3: Melasma.

Millions of Americans have been dealing with unwanted dark patches on their faces for many years. The dark patches you are seeing are called Melasma.

Melasma is a tan to brown skin discoloration that causes irregular dark patches of skin, primarily affecting the face, although other areas of the body can be involved. 

While anyone can get melasma, it is more common in women, and it is thought to be caused by sun exposure, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, and skin irritation.

Treating unwanted pigment is a long term endeavor and while unwanted pigment seems to worsen in the sunny summer months, year round protection is key. Goals of treatment are to limit ultraviolet radiation and to use topical products that prevent melanin production and transfer.

Some tricks of the trade:

  • Protection from UV exposure is key! A broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher, containing mineral ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, should be applied every day and every 80 minutes if enjoying yourself outdoors
  • Mineral-based sunscreen’s are preferable over chemical sunscreens because UVA, UVB and visible lights are all capable of stimulating pigment production
  • A daily topical Vitamin C should also be used each morning to decrease inflammation and further protect the pigment cells from becoming activated from UV light
  • Oral daily antioxidants such as Polypodium leucotomas can also be helpful to decrease the inflammatory effects of UV exposure
  • Hats, sunglasses, umbrellas and other photo protective gear should be used when enjoying the outdoors
  • Lasers and lights and peels may be helpful for the management, not cure, of Melasma

For the record, you are BEAUTIFUL and we are simply looking out for the health of your skin!

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