Melasma is a darkening and discoloring skin changes of the face associated with hormonal changes and worsens with heat and sun exposure.  It occurs most commonly on the forehead, nose, cheeks, upper lip and chin.  The pigment produced is often darker brow or gray in color.  It is more common in women and often starts with a pregnancy or use of hormones (birth control or hormone replacement therapy).  It typically worsens in the summer and improves in the winter time.  The good news is that it simply causes a cosmetic concern that is bothersome but not dangerous.

Prevention and Treatment

1. Avoid certain cosmetics that contain Retin-A, retinol or hydroquinone.  These agents are often marketed as skin lighteners and actually can make the skin more susceptible to sun damage and permanent discoloration.  Hydroquinone is actually banned in Europe due to it being potentially cancer causing.  It is found in drug store skin care and more expensive lines like Obagi.  Just read your labels to make sure your skin is safe.  A safer option would be a product with Retinol alternative like that found in Eminence bright skin line.

2.  Sun Avoidance: Use sunscreen with SPF 30 everyday and reapply every 2 hours when outside for long periods of time.  A good one to start with is Eminence Tropical Vanilla Day Cream.

3.  Avoid Heat:  Heat can also trigger it so avoid super hot showers, steam rooms and blow dryers. Instead use cooler temps in the shower and avoid putting your face near your blow dryer.

4.  Balance Hormones.  High levels of estrogen that occur naturally during pregnancy or those added by use of birth control or hormone replacement therapy can be a risk.  Evaluation of hormones using proper testing and can be a first step in treating the source of the skin changes.  Other symptoms of hormone imbalance can be PMS, breast tenderness, heavy or irregular cycles.  Simple Naturopathic treatments are often successful and result in partial reversal of the melasma.

5.  Aesthetic Treatments.  Under the guidance of a licensed aesthetician, treatments like micro needling, natural chemical peels and dermplaning can treat the superficial and deep discoloration.  Melasma requires maintenance treatments every 3 months to ensure a healthy glow.

Desert Wellness Center provides a comprehensive treatment approach to skin health.  Call today to find out more 480-361-5188.