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Understanding the Hormonal Link to Melasma

Here’s what you need to know to stop your hormones causing havoc with your melasma

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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Understanding the Hormonal Link to Melasma
Written byAmelia CranstounContent Editor
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Presenting as brown or greyish-brown patches, often in a symmetric pattern, on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and upper lip, one of the key factors contributing to melasma is hormonal fluctuations. If you’re experiencing Melasma, understanding your hormones and the links that could be causing or even exacerbating your melasma can provide you with essential information to manage this condition better. 

Understanding Melasma and Dark Spots 

Before we explore the relationship between hormones and melasma, let's gain a comprehensive understanding of the condition itself.

Melasma is a common dermatological disorder that primarily affects the facial skin, although it can also occur on other sun-exposed areas of the body. As mentioned, it typically appears as brown or greyish-brown patches, often in a symmetric pattern, on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and upper lip. These patches are usually well-defined and can vary in size.

The Hormonal Links to Melasma 

Hormonal changes play a significant role in the development and exacerbation of melasma. This is why it is often referred to as "the mask of pregnancy." While not exclusive to expectant mothers, hormonal fluctuations, like those that occur during pregnancy, can trigger melasma or worsen existing cases. However, pregnancy isn't the only time when hormones can lead to melasma; it can also be influenced by other factors, including:

  • Birth Control Pills: The use of birth control pills that contain estrogen and progesterone can lead to hormonal imbalances and trigger melasma, particularly in individuals with a genetic predisposition to the condition.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Menopausal women receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may experience melasma as a side effect. This is due to the hormonal changes associated with menopause.

  • Thyroid Disorders: Some thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, can disrupt hormone levels and contribute to melasma.
  • Sun Exposure: Sun exposure is another key factor in the development and exacerbation of melasma. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can stimulate melanocytes (the cells responsible for skin pigmentation) to produce excess melanin, leading to the formation of melasma patches.

Managing your skin with Melasma

If you are experiencing melasma or are at risk due to hormonal fluctuations, here are some important tips to help manage and reduce the appearance of these unsightly patches:

  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen is your best friend when it comes to melasma. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily. Reapply every two hours when outdoors.

  • Protective Clothing: Along with sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face from the sun's harmful UV rays.

  • Skincare: Consult a professional, such as a Renude aesthetician for a skincare routine that may include lightening agents like hydroquinone, retinoids, or glycolic acid. For more extreme cases you may wish to pay to see a Dermatologist who would be able to prescribe you topical treatments that include ingredients like hydroquinone.

Note: Hydroquinone is not an ingredient we recommend using if you are pregnant. Find out more about our skincare advice for pregnancy in our blog. 

  • Chemical Peels and Treatments: Chemical peels, performed by a dermatologist or aesthetician, can help improve melasma by removing the top layer of skin and encouraging new, even-toned skin growth.

  • Laser Therapy: In some cases, laser therapy can be effective in reducing melasma. It's essential to consult a dermatologist to determine if this is a suitable option for you. We have a guide for seeking medical or professional treatment here.

  • Hormone Regulation: If melasma is linked to hormonal imbalances, consult a GP or healthcare provider to discuss possible treatment options, such as adjusting medication or birth control methods.

Melasma, though often influenced by hormonal changes, is a manageable condition. By taking proper precautions, such as sun protection and seeking advice from a dermatologist, you can minimise the appearance of melasma and regain your skin's even tone. Remember, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. 

With the right care, you can confidently manage melasma and enjoy clear, radiant skin and our Renude aestheticians would be more than happy to support you. Take our skin quiz to get started. 

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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