CR 270 : Living with Melasma
Melasma can truly affect the day to day life of an individual suffering from this condition.  This is such an agonizing and stubborn  condition because it is difficult to treat.  What is Melasma?  Most of you might be familiar with the term “mask of pregnancy” (colasma) these are  large brown patches of discoloration around the central portion of the  face that appear after giving birth due to the estrogen/progesterone imbalance  or hormonal  activity.  These hormonal shifts  are responsible for making the melanocytes (melanin producing cells) increase in activity which in turn coats the skin with a dark discoloration.  Melasma can appear also in the malar and mandibular area. In other words,  hyperpigmentation as a result from pregnancy, hormonal changes, using oral contraceptives, genetics and most especially from unprotected sun exposure.  Certain medical conditions can cause melasma such as thyroid problems, Addisons Disease and other disorders.  Please do not feel alone and isolated because of this condition- many people  suffer from Melasma and I am one of them. There are many treatments available and through  trial and error  each of us will find  our own solution to melasma. It is through your  very own persistence in researching this condition  and the  consistency of your skincare that you will either eliminate or fade your melasma. There are many ways to treat this condition but patience my friend is required on your part.  Melasma can happen with any skin tone but occurs mostly in women with darker skin tones.  Although, Type III skin type: ( fair) can also suffer from melasma. By the way, you can also experience melasma on different parts of your skin such as neck, arms and legs but this is not often.
Darker skin tones means that those affected are on the Fitzpatrick scale and they are types:
IV,  Mediterranean Caucasian Skin, medium skin type-
V,   Mideastern skin
VI,   Black skin
What you don’t want to do:
Never leave the house without a sunscreen, hat and glasses (cataracts)!  Protect yourself from the sun. Your skin is very sensitive and will aggravate your melasma. The longer wave lengths of the light are UVA rays and they find their way deeper in our skin. UVA rays are responsible for premature aging.  Although both UVA AND UVB both penetrate the atmosphere so it is vital that you protect your skin and eyes (cataracts).  The reason we tan is due to  UVA rays and overtime this causes damage to our skin. .  UVB RAYS give you that painful sunburn and redness.

Okay, let’s talk skincare action for this condition: first things first:
Be gentle with your skin.  Sometimes in an attempt to get rid of the hyperpigmentation we resort to treatments that actually make the condition worse.
Medications that are affected by the sun should be avoided.
You must always use sunscreen, hat and glasses when you leave your house!
Possible Treatments:
Cosmetic Lasers/Please research and make absolutely sure that you have exhausted all other possibilities.
1.  Fractional resurfacing laser. There is absolutely no guarantee that this will work and  it may even make it worse for darker skin tone individuals. This treatment uses many small laser beams and sends this energy under the skin to break up the pigment color but you need several sessions to get any results and it’s very expensive.
2.  Dermatologist: Make sure that you indeed have melasma. Visit your dermatologist!  Hyperpigmentation can be a result of other medical conditions.
Do not use bleaching creme it will leave your skin white in the  hyperpigmentation areas.
Use a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher that protects you from the UVA rays and UVB Rays
Chemical Peels may be suggested
Steroid creams
Topical cremes
Hydroquinone, Tretinoin (Retin-A) and fluocinolone acetonide are generally combined in combination. Retin-A is a form of vitamin A which helps in the cell turnover. In other words, speeds the rate in which you shed your dead skin cells away. These ingredients can be quite dangerous so please do your homework and research these ingredients.
HRT-Hormonal replacement may cause Melasma.  The estrogen is believed  to cause Melasma.  After menopause you may actually begin to see the hyperpigmentation fade.
Galvanic or ultrasound facials
A combination of all the above or new treatments not listed may be used in your care..  Melasma is a stubborn condition and protection from the sun is vital. Some of your hyperpigmentation can fade with time and other areas are permanent.  Even if a certain area has faded, it can return with hormonal shifts such as pregnancy.  There are two types of discoloration:  Epidermal and Dermal  ( under the skin). You can also have both epidermal and dermal.
Natural Alternatives
Topical C’s seem to lighten epidermal melasma so therefore will help in some areas of your hyperpigmentation.  Studies have been proving that  Vitamin C helps in lightening the dark patches in the skin.  Vitamin C is also  rebuilds the collagen in your skin.  Remember that Vitamin C can be quite irritating and drying to the skin.  Always baby steps. Skin Patch Test everything that goes on your face. Be careful because for some vitamin C has been claimed to actually have  darken.
Turmeric Mask:  Check out episode S23: How To Lighten and Brighten Your Skin. I can actually see a lightening in my chin area and slightly on my upper lip so there may be something to this but not quite there yet. I use it three times a week right now – I make one batch and leave it in the refrigerator and apply it on my face for the next two days at night. Remember each of us needs to find what works for us. What may work for you may not do so for me.  Do your research and be willing to try those treatments that have worked for others..
Aloe Vera Gel:  contains mucilaginous poly saccharides which may help in fading the hyperpigmentation. There is also a removal of dead skin cells which is also very important.
Exfoliate: Do so regularly but be careful of those microdermabrasion kits at home because you can do serious damage.  I use my clarisonic but this does not help with melasma but prepares my skin for the serums such as  a light vitamin C.
MSM supplements: This is an organic form of  sulfur (found in plants)  that may help the melasma from inside out. Just make sure that it is organic and that the only ingredient is Methylsulfonylmethane.   Consume MSM in capsules or powder. Some people claim better skin, hair and nails.  Always Check with your doctor.  Always start small amounts of MSM-everything in moderation.  

Pycnogenol :  Some melasma sufferers are claiming that pycnogenol helps. This is a bark extract but like always research all information first and run it by your doctor. l
Become a make up camouflage artist! It’s very important to learn how to cover your melasma. Take a makeup artistry lesson on how to camouflage by your local skincare therapist (esthetician) or  visit a make up artist. Learn from online tips as well.  Research and help cover the melasma while you search for answers..
Stress Levels:  Be very careful!  Your adrenal glands can be the cause of your melasma as well-possibly. Worth checking out through a doctors visit.  Get a complete blood work   Our adrenal glands send out cortisol as a result may cause  an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone.  Take time throughout your day just for you to relax a moment or two.  I know easier said than done but try.  Stress can create hormonal imbalances so learn to manage your stress.
Boost Internal health:. Consume a clean diet and keep up with your fitness regiment.  Include meditation, yoga or do anything that gives you peace and relaxation.
Okay there you have it just a little information  on what is a very large and emotional topic.   You are beautiful inside and this radiates outside ALWAYS.  There are no scars or medical challenge that can hide your internal beauty.  Remember that and live your life to the fullest.  Be well and Happy.
This information is presented to ignite you into doing your own research . Your medical professional is your partner in health and it is very important to inform he/she of any changes you are considering within your prescribed health regiment. 
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Smiles & Hugs
Your Rosary Maker 
copyright 2014