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Melasma - Treatment AND Prevention

Updated on December 19, 2016
Ebonny profile image

Ebonny shares her views on lessening dark spots and uneven skin tone, drawing from past experience and experiences of those she cares for.

MELASMA – Natural Treatments to fade it AND how to help stop it coming back!

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Following a brief introduction of what Melasma skin discolouration is, this article gives cost effective natural remedies for fading or lightening the skin affected. Moreover, it drives home what many people neglect i.e. what you absolutely MUST do to help prevent the dark marks coming back.

DO be aware that there is little point in fading your dark skin patches if you do not take the necessary precautions to help keep them faded. Read on for how to help break the cycle of fading dark marks and having them reappear as bad as, or worse than, before.

What is Melasma?

Melasma (also known as cholasma) is a medical condition where discoloured, hyperpigmented, darkened areas are visible on the skin. Normally the face, upper lip, neck and/or arms are afflicted.

This skin condition is more common in women than men and is can often be linked with hormones, often occurring in pregnancy and menopause. If can affect people from any race but is more often found in people with dark skin. It is not infectious or cancerous.


If you have Melasma or another form of hyperpigmentation, is it worse in

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Causes / How and why Melasma occurs

In brief, genetics and hormone levels can cause overproduction of melanin pigments when skin is exposed to sunlight, and this excess melanin results in dark skin patches. Infrequently Melasma is brought about by an allergic response to certain drugs, makeup or perfume.

Stress can also be a factor, and most certainly sunbeds and sunlight will worsen skin discolouration. For a formal diagnosis of your skin condition, do see your doctor, who may also be able to pinpoint the cause in your particular case, but do bear in mind that The British Association Of Dermatologists state in their patient information leaflet that the exact cause of Melasma is not always known.

Melasma - Physical Appearance and possible Emotional Outcomes

Skin affected by melasma is darker than surrounding skin, but thankfully it is not itchy, sore or painful. However, the presence of the discolouration on the skin can lead to embarrassment, self-consciousness, and anxiety for the person with the condition. Particularly in adolescence it can lead to name calling and bullying. In extreme cases, unkind, uncaring people may look down on those with this visible skin condition assuming they are unhygienic or unhealthy. As a result of such ignorance, those with the condition may sometimes become withdrawn, depressed and/or isolated.

Any one of the above feelings or occurrences can profoundly affect self confidence and emotional well being. Therefore effective continuing treatment is vital.

Melasma Treatments that work / Skin discolouration Help

Alongside a number of other skin benefits, a Vitamin C Serum like the one above can help fade dark skin patches. A close relative of the writer of this page has experiences very good results in llightening dark spots, apply the serum twice daily to cleansed skin and lettin it dry on the skin before applying sunscreen. Here are the conclusions of others who specifically refer to dark spots having used the above serum.

Although dermabrasion, laser treatment, chemical peels and refraining from using oral contraceptives/hormonal drugs, and/or the use of over the counter or prescription skin lightening creams can be used to try to keep things under control, these methods are less cost effective than natural remedies, and some may indeed carry some risk to health if used long term.

There is no outright cure for Melasma, but you can fade it using natural treatments and you can reduce the likelihood of it recurring after it has faded

Natural Remedies/Treatment for dark marks on the skin

The following natural remedies, used consistently, will gradually fade skin colour and are thought to have less unwanted side effects than the treatments mentioned in the preceding paragraph. That said, it is always wise to do a so-called spot test in an inconspicuous area when embarking on any new treatment regime, natural or otherwise and note the advice in the box immediately below.

You need only treat the darker skin. For small dark spots you can apply the treatment with a cotton bud.

Finally, please bear in mind that whatever you apply to the skin to fade dark marks, there is an additional essential regime to help keep the skin from reverting back to the original darker colour as explained later in this article.

Before you start ANY new skin treatment regime

(NB: Click within the frame above for larger print size)
(NB: Click within the frame above for larger print size) | Source

Home Remedies for treating dark skin patches

Honey

Do be sure to use only good quality RAW Honey to help fade skin discolouration - massage small amounts into only the darkened areas of clean skin, leaving the honey on the skin for up to an hour before thoroughly rinsing it off.

Important: Unprocessed raw honey (which is opaque and less runny than regular honey) is required for this natural remedy to be effective. Raw honey/Manuka honey is more expensive than regular honey and comes in different strengths, and the higher strengths are more expensive/potent. However, many believe Manuka honey to be well worth the extra outlay in their quest to naturally achieve a more even skin tone.


Lemon Juice

Use cotton wool or a cotton bud to apply/massage lemon juice to affected areas of previously cleansed skin and leave it on for up to 20 minutes - then thoroughly wash it off.

Caution: Lemon juice can make the skin photosensitive/sun sensitive, so never expose your skin to the sun if it has any traces of lemon juice on it as this can lead to skin irritation/damage.

Remember to do a skin test on a small inconspicuous area first since some people are very sensitive to lemon juice, in which case try diluting the lemon juice with a little water to make it more bearable on the skin.


See Links box on the right for other natural remedies for lightening skin colour include Turmeric, Red Onion, Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, Vitamin e oil and more.



How to help prevent faded skin becoming darker again.

Some people are unaware of the fact that exposure to sunlight is a primary trigger for Melasma and other skin discolorations. For others, although they may know that this is the case, they somehow still choose to put all their effort into fading existing dark patches, and disregard avoiding sun exposure altogether!

As stated above, when skin is exposed to sunlight, hereditary factors and hormone imbalance can prompt overproduction of melanin pigments resulting in dark skin patches. Moreover, after you fade the dark skin, because the causes and triggers for discolouration still exist, the skin is prone to darken again. To help avert this cycle, the use of sunscreen is crucial when working to fade the dark skin and after it has faded/started to fade.

Whatever method is used to fade dark skin, minimising exposure to sunlight and refraining from using sunbeds is an essential element of the treatment regime. (NB: people who avoid sunlight should consult a doctor for advice as to whether or not a vitamin D supplement is advisable).

IMPORTANT: To successfully manage this skin condition, and indeed many other skin discolouration disorders, it is crucial to use sunblock of SPF 30 or more. Even if you are very dark skinned, a high SPF sunblock is a MUST if you do not want to quickly end up with dark skin patches again.

Fallene Total Block is a broad spectrum sunscreen comes in clear and tinted versions. The tinted one may be of particular interest to those with uneven skin tones due to hyperpigmention/melasma since it is possible to vary the shade/tint to best skin match by adding more/less colour by way of tubes of colour supplied with the sunscreen.

HRT, the contraceptive pill and other hormonal type medications can promote melasma so do speak to your doctor to investigate the root cause of your skin condition and what may be exacerbating it.



To be blunt -

if you don’t use broad spectrum sunscreen consistently (one that protects you from both UVA and UVB), you may be pretty much wasting your time in trying to fade the dark marks in the first place.

Melasma and Hyperpigmentation - Help stop it recurring

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About Sunscreen

So don’t despair – Take Control of your Melasma

With consistent effort, dark skin patches can be controlled and you can achieve even-toned skin and have confidence in your appearance, and it need not cost a small fortune. Give the lemon juice or honey natural remedies a try rather than resorting to expensive or invasive treatments. Just remember

  • Use natural treatments regularly/persistently – be patient and do not expect overnight results

  • As a preventative measure - All year round be sure to buy and use a sunscreen which has good UVA and UVB protection as this will help prevent the skin re-darkening once you have faded it. Even if you are dark skinned, SPF 30 or above is essential to help avoid sun damage - don't miss a day!
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  • Limit sun exposure to your face by keeping in the shade/turning your back to the sun where possible and/or by wearing a hat with a wide brim or a visor.

  • It is sensible to check for possible irritation or allergic reaction by doing a spot test before starting any new skin treatment regime.


Feel better and better about your skin, starting now

So, you now know what you MUST do to help prevent faded skin becoming darker again.

You can attain a more even skin tone and increase your self confidence in your appearance by BOTH working on fading the dark marks with the natural remedies recommended above, and using sunscreen every day. And just to be clear, when you start on a regime to fade the melasma, don't wait for your melasma to diminish before starting to use sunscreen - right from day one; do both simultaneously to see results more quickly and to maintain the results. Makeup/foundation can be applied over sunscreen if you wish (see right).

Your new fading and preventative regime for Melasma may seem a chore to begin, with but do stick with it and soon it will become a seamless part of your everyday routine, and it will be well worth it when you can look in the mirror and smile.



© 2013 Ebonny

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    • Ebonny profile image
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      Ebonny 2 years ago from UK

      Hello Gen

      Thank for sharing your situation. In case you have not already done so, do look into whether or not any medications you may be taking are contributing to this skin condition and, as mentioned above, some people may react to makeup and perfume. More recently I am reading that waxing may be a factor in Melasma – something else for people to consider.

      I do hope you will find success when you try the raw honey and it’s great that you are already using sunscreen regularly as I feel sure the melasma you have would be even more evident had you not been using it. Best regards, Ebonny

    • profile image

      Genevieve 2 years ago

      I have been suffering from melisma on my face bothmy cheeks for about 5 years i have tried laser,microdermabrasion,different creams eg. Yellow cream.but Notting has worked.I always use a good sunscreen.I enjoyed reading these articles.I am going to try the raw honey.if you have any other advise i would be grateful.I would do anything to get rid of it.thanks Gen.

    • Ebonny profile image
      Author

      Ebonny 3 years ago from UK

      Hi Ologsinquito

      I admire your non-judgmental stance on this skin condition. If more people had this attitude, fewer people would be anxious about their uneven skin tone. Thanks for dropping by.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      I like the natural remedies that you featured to treat this cosmetic condition. My dark-skinned sister-in-law has this, but she is still beautiful. It's simply just part of her.

    • Ebonny profile image
      Author

      Ebonny 3 years ago from UK

      Many thanks for dropping by and sharing MsDora.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      So Melasma can be a lifetime problem! Well then, better not let it affect personal sense of beauty.

      I have "liver spots" on my cheeks, and it seems they're more visible to me than to other people. When I would refer to them, someone would ask, "Where?" Anyway, they seem to be fading on their own.

      Thank you for the facts, and for information on how to deal the problem.