Melasma is a common skincare concern that, according to the British Skin Foundation, affects nearly half of all women. But what should you do if you’re concerned about patches of discolouration on your face and what are the best ways of treating it? Read on to discover the answers to your most pressing questions.
What is melasma?
Melasma is a common skin concern where melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) create too much melanin. This appears as grey or brown patches of darker pigment across the bridge of the nose, forehead, cheeks and upper lip. Its cause is still not completely understood but is thought to be due to many factors including a change of hormones, sun exposure and irritation to skincare. Genetics are also thought to play a part.
Melasma and pregnancy
Women tend to be more affected by melasma especially if they have darker skin or are pregnant. In fact, according to the British Skin Foundation up to 50% of women are affected by melasma during pregnancy which is where the term ‘pregnancy mask’ comes from. This is thought to be caused by increased levels of progesterone that rise in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The most effective way of reducing your risk of melasma during pregnancy (or minimising it if you already have it) is by avoiding the sun and applying a high SPF broad-spectrum sun protection to your face and neck every day. This will protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can further stimulate pigment production and make melasma appear darker.
Treatments and prevention for melasma on the face
Treatment for melasma isn’t always necessary as it often disappears on its own, especially if it is caused by pregnancy or a skincare reaction. Once the body returns to normal (after having a baby or stopping use of a particular product) the melasma usually disappears.
If you find that you have more stubborn areas of melasma, you can help to reduce them with exfoliating acids such as glycolic, and active treatments like retinol. These forms of potent yet gentle ingredients remove the top layer of the skin, improving the appearance of melasma over time. For a more intensive treatment, you can try procedures such as microdermabrasion, laser and chemical peels. As these treatments involve heating the skin and exfoliating it with concentrated doses of acids, they should always be performed by a professional in a clinic setting. They can also advise on aftercare such as broad-spectrum sunscreen which can prevent melasma from becoming worse or reappearing in the future.
How SkinCeuticals can help
SkinCeuticals has a dedicated range of skincare designed to specifically treat discolouration. Clinically proven to help reduce the appearance of concerns such as hyperpigmentation, our products exfoliate dead skin cells and protect the skin from environmental damage caused by free radicals and UV exposure.
What to try: is our most effective dark spot correcting serum that targets visible skin discolouration with a synergistic blend of anti-discoloration ingredients including 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES. When used every day, you should start to see a reduction in the appearance of skin discoloration and improved brightness.
This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.
Discover our dedicated range of skincare for discolouration