If you thought your teenage acne was stubborn and just wouldn’t go away, you’d be surprised to know that there is something even tricker and difficult to deal with; melasma. It’s a type of hyperpigmentation that typically appears as brown or grey patches on the forehead, cheeks, nose and above the lips.
Not only is it notoriously difficult to deal with, its exact causes are unknown, making it less responsive to common hyperpigmentation treatments. It can affect anyone under the sun (pun intended, which you’ll understand as you’ll continue reading), and can flare up even after years of being dormant, without any obvious cause or trigger.
So what exactly is it, what are some factors that have been known to contribute to its appearance, and what are some ways to better manage it. We’ll be covering all this and much more in the upcoming paragraphs, so stick around until the very end!
What exactly is melasma?
Melasma, also known as chloasma, is a kind of hyperpigmentation that mostly appears on the face. It is more common in women (90% of the cases are women), and sometimes occurs during pregnancy and as such is also called the ‘mask of pregnancy’.
A distinctive feature of this kind of pigmentation is that it appears in a symmetrical manner on both sides of the face with patches of skin being darker than the person’s actual skin complexion. It is more common in people of dusky and dark skin tones such as those from the Subcontinent and African countries.
While the condition is not harmful or painful in any way, it can be aesthetically displeasing to look at and can take a huge toll on a person’s confidence and self worth.
What causes melasma?
According to Dr. Simran Sethi, MD and founder of RenewMDBeauty & Wellness, the culprit behind melasma are hyperfunctional melanocytes which deposit excessive amounts of melanin pigment in the superficial skin layer called the epidermis as well as the deepest skin layer called the dermis.
While the actual causes of melasma are unknown, sun exposure is a recurring factor, contributing to an increased incidence of the condition. The harmful UV rays disrupt the levels of melanin in the skin causing the dark patches to appear on the skin.
Other causes include a disbalance of hormones in the body. Pregnancy, menopause and even taking birth control pills can disrupt hormones resulting in the appearance of melasma.
How to deal with melasma?
Being extremely sensitive to the triggers mentioned above, melasma is largely difficult to deal with and can be a result of any or several triggers all at once. It can also trick you into thinking that it’s going away by fading out significantly but then comes back in full force unannounced, leaving you feeling defeated and miserable.
For lasting results one needs to follow several steps consistently and religiously. Amongst the few things that seem to work in keeping melasma under control include sun protection, exfoliating regularly and having a nourishing and hydrating skin care routine in place.
Wearing sunscreen is your best bet against keeping melasma and several other skin conditions such as sun spots, wrinkles and acne at bay. It’s important to wear sunscreen with SPF 30+ every single day, even if you plan to stay indoors.
By sloughing away dead skin cells, exfoliation helps to rejuvenate the skin and bring newer skin to the surface. This in turn helps to fade away scars and hyperpigmentation, including melasma, giving the skin a clearer and brighter appearance.
Follow a nourishing skincare
In case of already existing skin dryness and inflammation, melasma becomes more pronounced and it becomes difficult for treatments aimed at improving the condition less likely to do their job. A hydrating and nourishing skincare routine including a gentle cleanser, toner and moisturizer is a must to be able to better manage melasma.
Ingredients that help with melasma
Amongst Mother Nature’s abundant gifts to mankind are several that help with the skin condition of melasma. Including them in one’s skin care routine, either by way of topical application or as components of the products one uses, can significantly help improve the condition. They include:
Aloe vera: A natural moisturizer, aloe vera works by deeply hydrating, healing and nourishing the skin and helps alleviate any inflammation. It can easily penetrate deep into the skin to rectify the deep lying pigmentation and also prevents it from developing again by protecting it from the harmful effects of UV exposure.
Turmeric: Curcumin, found in turmeric, is a popular antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Commonly part of at home DIY skincare, its skincare benefits extend to treating melasma as well. It provides UV ray protection while also inhibiting melanin production in the skin thereby helping to reduce hyperpigmentation.
Tea tree oil: Commonly used to help fade acne scars, tree tree also does wonders when it comes to helping subside melasma. It is antibacterial and antimicrobial in nature and keeps melasma breakouts caused due to environmental pollutants and UV ray damage at bay.
The Leovard Elixir, contains aloe vera, tea tree and several other fantastic ingredients that make it a great treatment solution for melasma. Not only does it help with the existing problem, it also helps prevent a relapse, and promotes clearer, smoother and blemish free skin.
Melasma can be difficult to deal with and can make you feel like it’ll never get better, hurting your confidence. But hang in there, because it will get better. With the right practices mentioned above, followed religiously, your skin will soon become much better, and you too will be able to enjoy having clearer skin, unlike ever before.