Although we tend to believe that melasma is more prevalent during the summer months when our melanin production is stimulated by sun exposure, symptoms are known to persist during the cold months too. In fact, truth be told, winter time is exactly when you should be upping your melasma treatment game so as to get it under control for the rest of the year.
The term ‘melasma’ refers to symmetric blotchy hyperpigmented patches on the face (but it can appear on other parts of the body too). Although it’s often referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ because it can be triggered by an increase in hormones in pregnant women, melasma actually has many causes, meaning men can also suffer from it. Moreover, although it tends to be more common in darker skins, lighter skin tones have been known to suffer from it too. In other words, we are all potentially at risk of developing melasma.
Common melasma causes and triggers:
– HORMONAL: Estrogen (oestrogen)-related imbalances either due to pregnancy or anticontraceptives.
– GENETICS: If there’s a history of melasma in your family, you’re more likely to have a predisposition to developing it at some point in your life.
– SUN EXPOSURE: Melasma is thought to be triggered by UV rays and the amount of sun exposure can also influence the intensity of the hyperpigmentation.
Other possible factors:
– STRESS: Recent studies have shown a direct link between long periods of stress and the appearance of melasma.
– THYROID problems.
– Use of allergenic or poor-quality SKINCARE products.
– Some MEDICINES can make skin more susceptible to developing melasma.
Melasma treatments to use with caution:
Hydroquinone and kojic acid are very effective at treatment this skin condition, but both have side effects that include irritation, dermatitis, and in more extreme cases, facial discoloration!
Chemical peels using glycolic acid, salicylic acid and mandelic acid normally achieve good results, but we always recommend using them under the supervision of a specialist.
Where laser treatment is concerned, it is important that the equipment and the lamp are new, otherwise this method may aggravate the existing skin condition.
Wear high quality SPF all year round. (Poorly formulated products can irritate your skin.)
Makeup can be a godsend to hide melasma, but just pay attention to the pigments used as some have been known to cause skin inflammation.
What we recommend:
Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum: An ultra-light, hydrating organic formula which naturally brightens your complexion. Its powerful herbs work to reduce the intensity of dark spots and scars, provide more radiant skin tone, and illuminate and correct uneven complexions. It can be used during the day and it’s also suitable for use during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
The London Mask: Prepared by hand so your skin gets all the wonderful properties of clay without the unpleasant side effects like dryness or taut skin. It provides skin with a light yet effective exfoliation that reduces the intensity of dark spots with regular use.