What is melasma, or what causes it?
Melasma are caused in the skin when melanocytes (pigment producing cells ) situated deep within the dermis are stimulated, and then produce melanin pigment as a result.
These melanin pigments are then transported to the top layers of the skin and distributed across the epidemic (skin surface) by the melanosomes.
These scattered pigments then show up as colour on the skin.
Simply put, melasma is caused by the overproduction of melanin.
No one is sure of what really causes melasma but here are a few triggers:
Hormones are a major and big trigger for melasma, especially in women
Clearly closely related to hormonal changes pregnancy is another very common trigger. Hence, sometimes melasma can be referred to as pregnancy mask.
Not surprising, as most of these birth control methods, essentially mimic a state of pregnancy in the body, and prolonged use can definitely trigger melasma
Dark skinned individuals
Since melasma is primarily caused by overproduction of melanin by the melanocytes, darker skinned individuals with naturally, more or a higher number of active Melanocytes than lighter skinned people are far more easier to have their Melanin overstimulated
If your immediate relatives have melasma, you are more likely to develop it at some point.
Ways To Get Rid Of Melasma
While melasma might be difficult to get rid of completely. There are a few changes you can apply to make your treatment a little bit more effective.
Avoid sun exposure, hands down, staying out of the Sun is the most important thing for keeping pigment cells down.
Wear sunscreen applied generously hearts protective clothing, stay in the shades
Reduce heat exposure.
Many people are not aware that heat is a contributory factor to melasma in skin. For years, it was thought that direct UV exposure was the only thing that increased pigmentation.
However, now we know that heat also makes pigmentation worse by increasing the activity of melanocytes.
I get a lot of clients who complain about getting darker. Some even claim that they are wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun.
However, if they are staying in a hot environment …indoors. They can also experience pigmentation issues and skin darkening.
Is your environment cool enough?, and how cool is your internal body temperature?.
Reconsider your birth control.
If your melasma appeared after going on hormonal birth control, you can discuss an alternative with a doctor
At home products.
Depending on the severity of your melasma, you can get good results by using products like
Tyrosinnase inhibitors, these products work by interrupting the signals being sent to the melanocytes. E.g. Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid, Arbutin, Licorice extracts and vitamin C, as well as Tranexamic acid. Kindly check our Store for BSN Clear Skin Serum with Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid and BSN Vitamin C serum with Tranexamic Acid.
Exfoliants, even though melasma are formed deep within the skin, exfoliation can help bring the pigments to the skin surface where they can be easily lifted off .Chemical exfoliants like glycolic or salicylic acid are great, as well as enzymes like papaya or pineapple which are gentler than the acids. It’s also advisable to use a physical exfoliant ( scrubs) on alternative days to the chemical exfoliants for quicker, more visible results. Kindly check our store for our glow face toner with 10% Lactic acid, suitable for sensitive skin types.
Makeup is also a part of skincare that provides a barrier that protects the skin from UV light. In case of melasma, it can help conceal or colour correct to make pigmentation less noticeable.
Cooling products. Taking a cool bath or shower after a hot day, using a cold compress or ice cubes at the back of your neck to cool your skin temperature will help to reduce this a lot, if it’s not possible to stay in an air conditioned environment. Also try putting your serums, and facemasks in the fridge to produce a cooling effect when applied.
Finally, always remember that in treating pigmentation issues, Patience is very important. Remember that these pigments have been forming deep within the skin, long before they showed up on the surface. So it’s not going to magically disappear overnight, but stay dedicated to your routine, and you will see results!