Get personalised skincare advice for treating Melasma
Melasma, often referred to as the "mask of pregnancy," is a prevalent form of hyperpigmentation, characterised by brown or greyish-brown patches on the face. It is notably more common in women, especially during pregnancy, menopause or when taking hormonal contraceptives. Managing melasma can be challenging due to its complex nature and varied causes.
Melasma's exact cause remains elusive. However, experts believe it's linked to genetics, hormonal shifts (including pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy), sun exposure, and potentially some cosmetics and medication. Commonly manifesting on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, chin, and eye region, melasma results in uneven skin pigmentation and a mottled appearance.
Often termed "chloasma" or the "mask of pregnancy," melasma during pregnancy is a standard skin change. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly an increase in oestrogen and progesterone, can amplify melanin production in the skin. Post-pregnancy, many women might see their melasma fade as hormone levels stabilise. However, for some, melasma can also fade or become more prominent with the change of seasons, for example, it typically fades during autumn and winter and then reappears in the spring and summer. If it does fade, the skin will remain more prone to this reappearing at another point in time.
Creating a personalised skincare routine is essential for managing melasma. With melasma, there is a level of underlying inflammation present in the skin which must be considered when building a routine. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you achieve healthier and more even-toned skin:
Gentle Cleansing: Start your routine with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities without stripping your skin of its essential oils.
Brightening Serums: Look for brightening ingredients like alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, azelaic acid and niacinamide. These can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and promote a more even complexion.
Caution: Vitamin C is often touted as a wonder ingredient for all types of pigmentation. It can be very effective but some people find it difficult to tolerate, especially pure ascorbic acid. If it does irritate the skin, it could increase inflammation and potentially worsen melasma. Please consult with a skincare professional if you’re thinking about using a Vitamin C product for melasma if you have sensitive skin or have had difficulty tolerating it in the past.
Gentle exfoliation: Caution should be taken with exfoliating products. Avoid exfoliating acids as these can aggravate the skin and increase inflammation. Opt for a gentle retinoid instead for evening use, which will work to brighten the skin by sloughing off the outermost layer.
Hydration: Keeping your skin well-hydrated is crucial. Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturiser to maintain your skin's moisture balance. Choose formulas with ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol and shea butter to support the natural skin barrier.
Sun Protection: Sunscreen is non-negotiable. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply throughout the day. High Energy Visible Light (HEVIS) aka ‘blue light’ from the sun (and in minute amounts from digital screens), has also been shown to darken pigmentation, to ensure you opt for a formula with protection against this. This can be in the form of iron oxides in tinted formulas, or through specific ingredients which block this wavelength of light. Sun protection is vital in preventing melasma from worsening and protecting from skin cancer and premature ageing.
Melasma-specific Treatments: Consult a dermatologist for prescription treatments like hydroquinone, tranexamic acid, tretinoin, or high-strength azelaic acid. These ingredients can target melasma at a deeper level and should be used under professional guidance.
In addition to a robust skincare routine, certain lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in managing melasma. As melasma is associated with inflammation in the skin, you can adjust your lifestyle to reduce excessive inflammation to support your overall health, including that of your skin.
Diet: Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and healthy fats. Avoid glucose spikes by limiting refined sugars and combining carbohydrates with fats and protein as part of a meal. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.
Stress Management: Chronic stress increases inflammation in the body, which can exacerbate melasma as well as premature ageing. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing to help manage stress levels.
It's crucial to remember that melasma management requires patience. You can expect to start seeing a result from skincare between 9 and 12 months, but this depends on the individual. With consistency in your skincare, sun protection, and lifestyle modifications, you can achieve significant improvements. Melasma might be a part of your skincare journey, but with the right approach, it won't dominate your skin's narrative.
To ensure you're on the right path, consider joining Renude. Start with our skin quiz, and benefit from a free consultation with our seasoned aestheticians who have years of experience working with melasma in clinics. We’ll create a personalised skincare routine tailored to you, your unique skin and your budget
Complete our quick quiz, then book a free video call or upload photos.
Your aesthetician will hand-select a personalised skincare routine for the evolving journey of your skin.
Get ongoing advice as your skin changes for just £20 every 3 months (which is deducted from your purchases).