No one wants a spotty tan, right? If you’ve tried an at home self-tanner, you’ve probably experienced a streaky, splotchy mess of a tan at least once — and it’s not a fun look. Melasma is like that, except it’s even less fun because it lasts much longer than a fake tan. At-home tanning products can often be removed with simple methods like buffing the skin with a sugar scrub. Melasma? Not so much. If you’ve got the splotchy pigmentation of melasma, it’s likely going to take stronger measures to make a difference.

Melasma Basics

If you have melasma, odds are good you know it without a doctor’s confirmation. Melasma is a common skin problem, but fortunately, it’s also a painless one. What it is, simply, is discolored patches of skin that are darker than your normal skin tone. Melasma can often look like a splotchy tan, and primarily appears on the areas of the face that get the most sun: the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, and chin. However, it’s not just limited to your face; melasma can also appear on your neck and arms. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt, but the dark patches can often be dark enough that even good full-coverage makeup may not be enough to fully hide it.

Where Does It Come From?

Doctors who study melasma aren’t entirely sure what makes melasma appear. Sun exposure is one primary cause, so protecting yourself well from the sun can help. The other associated causes have more to do with what’s going on inside your body. Hormone changes and thyroid issues may also cause melasma, particularly estrogen and progesterone issues — this is why 90 percent of people with melasma are women. Pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills, and hormone replacement can trigger melasma.

Can It Be Prevented?

Melasma can appear on its own with no warning. And, since one of the main causes is hormone changes, it may not always be preventable. You’ll want to head to your local medical spa to meet with a licensed skin care professional who can help you determine the underlying cause of your melasma, as much as is possible to do so. Melasma may not always be preventable, but protecting your skin from sun damage will go a long way toward helping minimize melasma. This means diligently applying sunblock and wearing hats to guard the sensitive skin on your face. Also, be sure to test any new skin products before covering your face. Products that irritate your skin may make your melasma worse.
If the cause is hormonal, hormone replacement therapy may be a way to help. Of course, if you’re pregnant and those hormone changes have caused melasma — which is a common occurrence, so don’t worry too much — the hormonal changes after delivery may be enough to bring your skin back to its usual melasma-free state.

Getting Rid Of Melasma

First and foremost, getting rid of melasma starts with the cardinal rule of any skincare regimen: sunscreen. If you have melasma, don’t try to skimp, either. Yes, we know you want a nice even golden glow, but not at the risk of making your dark skin patches worse. Instead, stick to spray tans and give your skin the protection it needs. With melasma, protecting your skin from the sun is vital, so you may want to invest in a few good sun hats — even if they do flatten your hair. Isn’t it worth it to improve your skin?
In addition, a physician specializing in medical aesthetics can provide a personalized skincare routine with targeted skincare products and facial treatments. Specifically, chemical peels can be a great way to get rid of melasma.

How Chemical Peels Help

Chemical peels help with both the texture and tone of your skin. The exfoliation helps clear out pores and get rid of dead skin while the peel soaks deeper into the layers of your skin to help fade hyperpigmentation (like melasma) while bringing back your skin’s natural brightness. There are multiple levels of chemical peels available, so be sure you’re heading to a medical spa for treatment. Not only do medical spas provide stronger peels when necessary, but the licensed professionals will also make sure the treatment is tailored to your skin’s needs.
Don’t keep living with the patchy discoloration of melasma. Come by Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria to meet with our medical spa team and begin your personalized treatment regiment.