Here's how you can get rid of melasma
A common condition among women, melasma appears as discoloration of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip. It may also show up on other body parts that get lots of sun, such as the forearms or neck.
Melasma is mainly triggered by pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone therapy. Sun exposure also causes it; ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control skin pigment. For some women, melasma may disappear on its own. But for others, the discoloration can stick around indefinitely.
If you’re suffering from melasma, there are steps you can take to help fade it. These include:
1. Wearing sunscreen
Since sun exposure causes melasma, it’s essential that you wear sunscreen at all times. Choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, such as LaserAway Beauty BFF SPF, that protects against daily UVA/UVB exposure, oxidative stress, and pollution. When you’re out in the sun, you’ll also want to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face further.
2. Reducing stress
Melasma is mainly caused by a hormonal imbalance, which stress can worsen. Find ways to cope with your stress. Some ideas include meditating, exercising, or seeing a therapist. These are tried and true stress-relieving activities.
3. Applying hydroquinone creams
These medicated ointments lighten the skin, which helps to fade melasma. Hydroquinone creams work by blocking the natural chemical process that’s responsible for creating melanin in your skin. You can easily find hydroquinone creams at your local drugstore.
4. Stopping birth control or hormone replacement therapy
If you suspect that your melasma is due to birth control or hormone replacement you're taking, you should talk to your doctor about switching brands or going off your regimen altogether.
5. Undergoing chemical peels, laser treatment, or microdermabrasion
Chemical peels, laser treatments, and microdermabrasion can lighten the appearance of melasma. All of these treatments remove the top layers of the skin that are affected by melasma. When new skin grows back, it’s melasma-free.
6. Using skincare products that contain retinoids
Skincare products containing retinoids help turn over skin cells, which rejuvenates the skin and produces new collagen. This can help to smooth skin and minimize dark spots. Depending on the severity of your melasma, you might be able to use OTC retinoid products.
7. Reaching for vitamin C serums
Because the discoloration from melasma stems from an overproduction of melanin, you should use skincare serums containing vitamin C that reduce pigmentation and treat the excess melanin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can lighten up dark spots.
The color that you want
While there are many skincare treatments and products that can help improve the appearance of melasma, you should keep in mind it is a skin condition that can come and go with the seasons and changes in hormone levels. Even if your melasma clears up, it's still important to continue with your skincare regimen to prevent it from coming back.
- "Here's How Ginger Zee Got Rid of Her Melasma — and Everything Else You Need to Know About the Common Skin Issue," People, March 1, 2017.
- "How to Remove Upper Lip Pigmentation," LiveStrong, August 16, 2013.
- "Melasma: How to Cope with Skin Discoloration During Pregnancy," Fox News, March 1, 2015.
- "My Cure for Melasma," Singular, December 2, 2016.