This challenging skin condition causes dark patches on the skin that can last for years.
Melasma is a common skin condition characterised by brown patches on the face. It affects the face and neck, mainly in darker skinned people. Melasma is a skin condition that causes dark patches on your face, particularly on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. The main symptom is increasing pigmentation around the face, forehead, eyes and the hairline. The skin becomes darker quite easily, creating a look of sun damaged and uneven skin.
As soon as you start seeing these changes, it is highly recommended to change your skincare regime to a specialised skincare targeted to the melasma.
When we consult patients at London Lip Clinic, we often start them with topical treatment, and then more invasive treatments such as medium to deep skin peels are followed later depending on the severity of the changes.
Although you may never get rid of melasma completely, with consistent skin care and understanding of how to deal with the condition can manage the effects more easily. The key here is to visit us regularly, to make sure that the current regimen is working.
Melasma & Pregnancy
Melasma is sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy, because it is sometimes triggered by an increase in hormones in pregnant women. But while the condition may be common among pregnant women, it isn’t limited to them. Melasma can affect women at all stages of life from women who develop melasma in their teens or 20s or 30s until later on in life. Melasma can last around for decades.
A persistent condition
Men & Women with darker skins are more likely to get melasma, probably because their skin naturally has more active pigment-producing cells. Melasma appears when these cells become hyperactive and produce too much pigment in certain areas of the skin. The mechanism is similar to what causes brown age spots and freckles, but melasma patches tend to be larger. It may have a genetic component, as it often runs in families.
Two causes of Melasma
1. Hormones (including hormonal medications).
Fluctuations in certain hormones can cause melasma, which is why it commonly occurs during pregnancy. Melasma may also occur when you either start or stop hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, or when you take hormone replacement therapy.
2. Sun exposure.
The sun is the big culprit in triggering melasma. Underlying factors such as hormonal changes may not manifest until a person goes on vacation to hot countries, or during the summertime when they spends more time in the sun exposing the skin to UV rays. The sun is the major exacerbating factor, whatever the underlying cause. Melasma can be caused or worsened by not only the sun’s rays, but also heat and visible light. This means that even sunscreens that protect against skin cancer aren’t enough to ward off melasma. This makes treating melasma a challenge, particularly in the summer months.
The first step in treating melasma is confirming that the dark patches on the face are indeed melasma, and determining what’s the cause. Treating melasma is unlikely to be effective if the underlying cause isn’t addressed and there are still triggers in place. When you attend the London Lip Clinic for a melasma consultation, we take a thorough medical history to find out what’s causing the melasma. Then adjustments are made.
1. Sun Exposure
The first treatment is to prevent the sun from aggravating the condition. Preventing sun exposure is stronger than any medicine, skincare or treatment we can give you. The most important way to clear up melasma is by using a strict sunscreen regimen. But keep in mind that not all sunscreens are created equal. To prevent against melasma, you need a sunscreen that blocks not only the sun’s rays, but also its light (all the light and different wavelengths) and heat. This is only possible with sunscreens that use physical blockers, such as zinc and titanium dioxide. You can provide added protection to your skin by following up with makeup that contains a second sunscreen to further block out the sun’s rays.
2. Topical treatments
We can recommend skin care treatments to help lighten melasma. Some commonly used options are topical retinols and retinoid treatments, which are applied to the skin to help speed your body’s natural cell turnover process. This may help dark patches clear more quickly than they would on their own. In addition, we may prescribe bleaching agents, such as hydroquinone, which works by blocking melanin production.
3. Chemical Peels
A course of chemical peels can lighten the appearance of dark discoloured skin caused by melasma. The Perfect Peel is the only medical-grade chemical peel that contains glutathione. Glutathione is a very potent peptide that is commonly used as a brightener and is a coenzyme that helps reduce inflammatory reactions in the cells. While glutathione is the main ingredient, the peel also has a blend of other acids, powerful antioxidants, and peptides such as:
- trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- salicylic acid
- retinoic acid
- kojic acid
- vitamin C
TCA and retinoic acid have anti-aging effects to reduce line wrinkles and pigmentation. Other ingredients are mostly for hyperpigmentation or to reduce scarring, while the phenol is in there for a slightly numbing effect.
Microneedling like Dermapen when combined with skin lightening creams and routine sun protection can improve stubborn melasma. Microneedles form direct pores through the top layers of skin to deliver the medication into the dermis, where it can have its maximal effect.
London Lip Clinic is the leading specialist in treating melasma. We have a range of treatments available including chemical peels and injections. Our experienced team are here to help you achieve your desired results. Melasma treatment is available at the London Lip Clinic. Call 0203 239 7041 for free consultation!