Hormonal pigmentation and how to treat and remove it effectively
18 Aug 2018
While pigmentation is a blanket descriptor for any darker patch on our body or face, melasma is a little different. Unlike regular pigmentation which is caused by external factors like sun exposure, melasma(hormonal pigmentation) is driven internally by your hormones, particularly oestrogen. This is why the vast majority of those affected are women, but men can get it too.
Melasma often occurs when there’s some kind of hormonal shift. Common shifts include pregnancy or menopause but being on birth control or hormone therapy can trigger it too. Then there’s light and heat. While these aren’t essentially the catalysts, they most definitely make it worse. However, we’ll get into that a little later.
Is it hormonal pigmentation?
Many melasma sufferers assume that they merely have pigmentation which is why the over the counter treatments aren’t really effective. While it can be done, melasma is incredibly stubborn to shift. The condition is a dynamic one, and it often needs lifelong management.
To ensure you know what you’re dealing with – melasma vs pigmentation – make an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist. They can make a proper diagnosis and suggest an effective treatment path. While pigmentation can occur anywhere on your body, melasma mainly affects your face. It usually appears symmetrically, meaning on either side of it, on your forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip or chin.
Going clear of hormonal pigmentation
At Skin Renewal we treat melasma holistically, getting to the source of the problem which is your hormones. For this reason, the doctor might suggest prescribed medicine or supplements to help bring them into balance. As far as removing the existing marks goes, you’ll be put on a multi-pronged treatment program. One which is personalised and best suited to the severity of your condition.
In-office melasma treatments include peels, laser sessions and even a Brightening IV Infusion. One of our most popular skin-tone evening peels is the Beta Melanostop peel followed by transdermal mesotherapy. The latter is involves using electrical pulses and vibrations to transfer pigmentation-erasing actives deep into your skin. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt at all! (Also, doing it directly after the peel is best because that’s when your skin will be most receptive to whatever is applied to it.)
When it comes to lasers, if you’ve got a lighter skin tone you’ll have several to pick from. Those with darker skin tones will require a ‘colour blind’ laser that won’t burn your skin. One of our favourites is the Fraxel Dual which is perfectly safe yet very effective.
A little homework
Like we said, both heat, like that you’d experience in a steam bath, as well as light can worsen melasma. As far as the latter goes, sure, the sun is a given, but any light source can set it off. This includes light from your computer screen or the bulbs in your office. While that sounds impossible to work around, don’t worry, there is a way to protect yourself.
Applying an SPF 50 will give you 56% protection. However, if you add a topical antioxidant to it, something like vitamin C or E, it bumps your cover up to 96%. You are then protected from not just the sun’s UVA and UVB rays but also the infra-red A that stems from any light source.
Sunscreen and antioxidants aside, you’re also going to want to invest in a daily skin care system that’s specially formulated to improve the look of pigmentation. Our favourite that you’ll find over at Skin Renewal is Lamelle’s, Luminesce Range. It contains the antioxidants you need to enhance your sun protection as well as powerful peptides with the ability to lighten dark marks.
While melasma is a tricky thing to get rid of, if you get expert advice on how to treat it, both in office and at home, you’ll find keeping it in check is entirely possible. Believe it or not, an even skin tone can be yours for the taking.