What You Need to Know About Melasma

You have been requesting information about melasma, and we are listening! It’s a common, though frustrating, condition and we want you to have all of the information you need for your skin to look it’s best.

Melasma is a condition where excess pigmentation develops as a result of numerous factors, namely hormones and sun exposure. These hyperpigmented (excessively pigmented) patches form most commonly in women on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip.

Sun exposure can be minimal and still contribute to the development to melasma if you are prone to it. Taking oral contraceptive pills (birth control) and being pregnant are two factors that can influence the development of melasma.

So, how to treat melasma? Far and away the most important step is sun avoidance and sun protection. Wear a hat to avoid sun exposure on the area, and apply a broad spectrum mineral SPF 30+ (containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) every two hours. We find that brush on sunscreen is a great tool for reapplication.

It’s important to visit a Dermatology provider to determine the other best steps for treating your melasma. The best treatment plan varies for each person, and an exam and discussion will help us to determine how to best improve the appearance of your skin.

Ingredients like hydroquinone (which blocks the formation of hyperpigmentation), azeleic acid (an ingredient used to treat rosacea that gently lightens pigmentation as an added bonus), and tretinoin (which stimulates the production of healthy skin cells) can be prescribed to lighten areas of melasma. We also recommend antioxidant serums specially formulated for lightening and brightening (like SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense and SkinMedica Lytera 2.0) to even out your skin tone.

In office treatments, such as chemical peels and laser treatments, can be very helpful in treating melasma. Especially if topical medications and products haven’t helped much. Some treatments are better suited for certain skin types, so this is another topic to discuss with your Derm provider.

If you have melasma, we recommend first upping your sun protection and sun avoidance game. Then schedule an appointment with your Dermatology provider (we love treating melasma, for all of you Minneapolis gals!) to discuss the very best treatment regimen for you.

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