I have been told I have melasma. Can this be treated cosmetically?

These dark patches are on my forehand, left cheek and upper lip. My upper lip is the worst and can look like i have drunk a dark drink and forgot to wipe my mouth!
Asked by BellaTanning

4 answers

Top answer
This is caused by your skin overproducing melanin (the chemical in your body that helps your body tan)
SPF is a very strong guard against aggravating this problem, make sure you buy a good quality face moisturizer with at least spf 20 and use it even in the winter sun. Brightening products will usually help with this, there are lots of essential oils and other ingredients in these products that will reduce pigmentation and slow down the production of melanin if you dont want to go with invasive treatments and peels.
This website is a very good source of information for you on this subject and gives some good suggestions of products you can buy.
Try and find something that helps keep this condition under control for you on a daily basis rather then going for treatments. A good massage treatment will also help as it increases the circulation, if you can go for prescription facials, but if you cant look up some good massage techniques online and do it yourself.
Hope it helps ! Nikki
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Hi Bella, you could try a laser such as Pixel - best to go to a reputable skin clinic that will analyse your skin thoroughly and recommend the beat treatment for you.
Melasma is very common. Often caused through hormones in pregnancy or by use of oral contraceptives. It can be calmed and treated by using topical creams containing hydroquinone. The Obagi system have a couple of excellent ranges of skin care products which are used to treat melasma and skin pigmentation. The results are excellent. More information is on the obagi link on the web site below.


Thanks for the reply. It did start when I was pregnant 3 years ago. I try to keep my face out of the sun now and use SPF. I do have the marina coil fitted, as this is a contraceptive could this be contributing to the severity of my melasma?
It's unlikely that the doses of progesterone in your Mirena IUS coil will affect melasma as the dose is a fraction of the amount taken orally in a combined oral contraceptive and your body is not breaking this down systemically unlike oral medication which undergoes liver metabolism breakdown. It is essential to use an SPF to protect the skin and prevent further pigmentation. A level of SP Factor 30-35 what you should look to apply. Essentially the melanocytes containing pigmentation get overstimulated and the hydroquinone helps to desensitise and thin them out. Giving the 'bleaching effect' which is often described.
Soin short - your Mirena should be more that safe with this respect -and a very good contraceptive and menorrhagia treatment.
Your first line of defense is protection to prevent further darkening. You will also need to begin using skin lightening products. Specifically those containing hydroquinone. The higher the concentration, the better. Products containing higher levels of hydroquinone can be obtained thru a physicians office. Some will need to be kept refrigerated or the product will quickly begin to oxidize and will not be effective. You may also wish to begin getting chemical peels or try using products containing retinoids, glycolic acid, kojic acid etc. Your physician may also prescribe Tri-Lima cream
A more aggressive approach might be a Trichloracetic acid peel (TCA) or Phenol peel, both admistered by a physician, for faster results. This of course would depend upon the severity of your hyperpigmentation. Laser surgery or dermabrasion or combination therapies are other options.
Regardless of which approach that either you or your physician decides upon, SPF protection is key to reducing the appearance of melasma or in surpressing it in the future.
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