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Melasma

Melasma is a skin condition that is so common during pregnancy, it is often called the “mask of pregnancy.” The hormonal changes of pregnancy trigger this skin condition in many women, but it can appear in the absence of pregnancy, primarily during a woman’s reproductive years.

Melasma is a frustrating condition characterized by patchy, dark areas of increased pigmentation. These areas can be difficult to cover even with cosmetics and can cause a great deal of frustration. To make matters worse, it most commonly occurs on highly visible areas like the face that receive sun exposure.

What Causes It?

No one knows the exact cause of this common skin condition, but fluctuating hormone levels play a role, especially increases in the hormone estrogen. Sunlight is also a factor since areas that aren’t exposed to sunlight are less likely to be affected. Women that have more natural skin pigmentation are more prone to this type of irregular discoloration. Despite its link with female hormones, men can also get it, although they get it less commonly, with genetic factors playing a role in both men and women.

more information

Genetics, hormones and sunlight exposure are most strongly linked with melasma, although nutritional deficiencies and some medications can also trigger the irregular, blotchy pigmentation. One type of medication, birth control pills, commonly bring about the symptoms. This isn’t surprising since birth control pills contain hormones.

Treatment

Melasma that occurs during pregnancy may disappear on its own once hormone levels return to normal after pregnancy. Women who stop taking birth control pills usually notice an improvement too, but in some cases it can take years for the irregular pigmentation to completely go away. Most women don’t want to wait that long.

Fortunately, there are treatments that can help lighten the pigmented areas. First, it’s important to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater that is effective on both UVA and UVB rays since sunlight can make the problem worse. UVA rays can penetrate through glass, so put on a sunscreen daily even when you’re staying indoors.

In terms of treatments, three ingredients available without a prescription can help. Hydroquinone is a compound that blocks the synthesis of melanin, the source of the dark pigmentation. It works best when used in conjunction with glycolic acid. Glycolic acid sloughs off the outer layer of skin. This allows the hydroquinone to penetrate the skin surface so it can lighten pigmented areas.

Another ingredient called kojic acid works in a similar way to hydroquinone, by blocking the synthesis of pigment. It can also lighten pigmented areas and is best used with glycolic acid for better penetration. Glytone Fading Lotion covers all the angles. It contains hydroquinone, kojic acid and glycolic acid in a ratio that’s optimal for lightening pigmented areas. It’s also a good treatment for age spots. Use it in the morning after applying a layer of sunscreen like Avene Very High Protection Cream SPF 50. This product is hypoallergenic, non-irritating, non-comedogenic and is lightly tinted for high-powered sun protection and beautiful coverage. Reapply Glytone Fading Lotion in the evening before bedtime.

Retinoids like those found in prescription strength Retin-A can also be used to treat melasma, but retinoids can be irritating to the skin and it may take more than 6 months to see improvement. In severe cases where hydroquinone, kojic acid and glycolic acid doesn’t work, dermatologists can do a series of facial peels to lighten the pigmentation. Some doctors recommend laser treatment for severe cases, but approach this with caution. Laser treatment can worsen pigmentation in some cases.

Please note that many of the treatments mentioned contain ingredients that are not pregnancy-safe, and should only be used post-pregnancy.

The Bottom Line?

Melasma is a challenging condition to live with and treat. Fortunately, there are ingredients available that can lighten the pigmented areas over time. With a little patience, this condition that can be successfully treated.


  

Melasma Products

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This formula corrects, brightens and helps prevent the appearance of new dark spots.
$72.00
0.5oz | DC217
In Stock
 
Proven anti-dark spot action in just 4 weeks.
$79.00
1oz | CP027
In Stock
 
Get brighter, more even skin in as little as four weeks.
REG $125.00  NOW $118.75
2oz | SM093
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An advanced lightening formula to diminish discoloration and improve overall skin health.
$80.00
1oz | SK036
In Stock
An all-over treatment that helps to fade sun damage, dark spots and acne scarring.
$88.00
1oz | DG147
In Stock
 
An ultra-concentrated quick absorbing serum that fades spots and evens skin tone.
$89.00
1.7oz | BR085
In Stock
 
A hydroquinone-free formula that helps to reduce hyperpigmentation.
$124.00
1oz | VT010
In Stock
 
A skin brightening complex that reverses discolorations due to aging, sun damage and post-acne scarring.
$75.00
1oz | PT209
In Stock
A highly effective, safe, full-facial approach to reducing stubborn discolorations.
$90.00
1oz | SK096
In Stock
 
A fast-acting formula that helps reduce hyperpigmentation and discoloration.
$89.00
1oz | MR194
In Stock
 
Designed to fight 7 identified causes of uneven skin tone and dark spots.
$150.00
1oz | RZ010
In Stock
 
Helps brighten skin and reduce dark spots.
$105.00
1oz | NO010
In Stock
Diminish the appearance of skin discolorations with this soothing multi-action formula.
$65.00
1 oz | MF017
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A brightening serum that mimics a laser treatment to target and correct skin discolorations.
$78.00
1oz | BT163
In Stock
 
This treatment helps skin recover from sun damage while preventing dark spots and wrinkles.
$105.00
1.7oz | KK011
In Stock
 
Even out skin tone and reduce any discoloration with this oil-free serum
$50.95
0.5oz | KI032
In Stock
Promotes a smoother, brighter complexion and provides intense hydration.
$65.00
1oz | CS153
In Stock
 
A powerful anti-aging lightening treatment formulated target discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
$120.00
1 oz | IS045
In Stock
 
Reduce the causes of discoloration to produce smoother, brighter and more even-toned skin at any age.
$58.00
1oz | NZ010
In Stock
 
Reduces brown spots, age spots, sun spots and other skin discolorations including dark circles under eyes.
$85.00
2 oz | MC008
In Stock
An intensive solution to hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
$80.00
1.4oz | PE142
In Stock
 
A natural treatment that helps to clarify skin tone and diminish dark spots.
$63.00
1.7oz | YK045
In Stock
 
A solution recommended for hyperpigmentation or discolorations.
$63.00
1.4oz | YK044
In Stock
 
Minimizes the appearance of dark spots brought on by aging and overexposure to the elements.
$72.00
1oz | EX086
In Stock
A brightening complex for mild to moderate skin pigmentation.
$70.00
1oz | US007
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Correct uneven tone and reveal a youthful, perfectly even complexion.
$65.00
1oz | EX104
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Whitening moisturizer promotes even skin tone.
$110.00
1.7oz | BT138
In Stock
 
Helps to reduce the appearance of existing dark spots and prevent new ones.
$90.00
1oz | EE208
In Stock
Visibly lightens discoloration, uneven skin tone & brown spots
$68.00
1.7oz | OS076
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An ultra-light serum that reduces dark spots and discoloration.
$103.50
1oz | PM108
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A multi-tasking, oil and fragrance free lightening treatment that delivers glowing results.
$80.00
1oz | GO041
In Stock
 
Reduce age spots, pigmentation and skin imperfections with this serum.
$98.00
1oz | EH010
In Stock
Helps to even out skin tone and erase dark spots.
$65.00
1.7oz | YD011
In Stock
 
A proprietary mix of potent ingredients to reduce the appearance of new and existing sun damage.
$59.00
1oz | HY016
In Stock
 
This powerful formula diminishes the appearance of discoloration for a more even skin tone.
$80.00
1oz | KS081
In Stock
 
An all-over brightening cream that leaves you looking lit from within.
$65.00
1.5oz | IE096
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Be enlightened by this SkinBrite Serum, formulated with Chromabright™, AHAs and botanical brighteners.
$52.00
1oz | DQ081
In Stock
 
This blend of brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredients reduces hyperpigmentation and redness.
$64.00
1oz | RW010
In Stock
 
This lightweight cream helps to diminish facial discolorations.
REG $81.00  NOW $56.70
1oz | PO003
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A two-step system to combat hyperpigmentation or discoloration.
$185.00
TX013
In Stock
A skin clarifying and brightening complex that makes skin look brighter.
$95.00
1oz | LJ016
In Stock
 
This treatment diminishes sun damage, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
$95.00
1oz | JM167
In Stock
 
This serum helps to exfoliate and brighten skin.
$78.00
1oz | TH154
In Stock
 
A safe brightening serum that is proven to diminish hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
$76.00
1oz | PS011
In Stock
This powerful blend of skin-illuminating botanicals helps restore clarity and visibly fade dark spots.
$120.00
1oz | KF161
In Stock
 
Address all signs of discoloration in the skin and give skin more youthful appearance.
$130.00
1.25oz | IS044
Out of Stock
 
A fast absorbing serum that is clinically proven to lighten darkened skin discolorations.
$64.00
1 oz | SG004
Out of Stock
 
A double duty, anti-aging solution is your skin’s answer to an even and more flawless complexion.
REG $130.00  NOW $123.50
1oz | VB009
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