Melasma is the formation of large, dark blotches of pigment that are caused by hormone surges or medications. They’re commonly caused by pregnancy or contraceptives. The patches are often symmetrical around the mouth and on cheeks.
What Not to Do if You Have Melasma
Trying to get your melasma patches to fade? Here’s what will sabotage your efforts:
- The sun. Melasma is often exacerbated by slight to moderate sun exposure. Skin irritation and heat can also make it worse.
- Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid. These are inflammatory and very drying.
- Essential oils. These also cause dehydration.
- Skin bleaching and all skin lighteners. These often cause more pigment confusion than they’re worth.
- Astringents, scrubs, chemical peels, and lasers. These aggravate this condition, especially on darker skin.
These old protocols cause dehydration, irritation, and the destruction of the natural acid mantle, which will exacerbate melasma and cause rebound hyperpigmentation.
How to Treat Melasma
Instead, establish a skincare routine that provides a baseline for skin health: hydration, dermal nutrients, antioxidants & barrier restoration. You also want to balance your hormones as much as possible and explore liver health.
Once this is in place, the evening use of a potent vitamin C product, minimal enzyme exfoliation, and diligent sunscreen application will go far.
Hydration and restored skin barrier, along with topical dermal nutrients (which speeds up the new skin cells being made) will push the old pigment away faster over time. Protecting the upcoming, new skin cells with antioxidants and overall equanimity allows our skin to expedite a resurfacing process unencumbered by additional traumatic events like lasers, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, all of which would distract our skin from this aim.
Establish this supportive holistic care routine, and then wait it out. Trying to fix your melasma overnight will backfire.
These are the same protocols for hyperpigmentation. The “waiting it out part” is key for both but it’s extra important with melasma because it’s even more reactive to sun, astringents, trauma, and inflammation. The more you can do to soothe, hydrate, and protect your skin, the sooner the patches will fade. Wisely go slow to go fast.