I have had melasma for years now (also known as the mask of pregnancy, or dark pigmenting of the skin). It started after the birth of my daughter. I very stupidly went tanning soon after her birth and have paid the price ever since. I get very dark patches all over my face especially at the side of my cheeks, under my eyes, across my top lip and across the middle of my forehead. There is, unfortunately, not much that can be done. I have had to wear very heavy makeup to try to cover it, but that doesn’t always work and it is still visible. The more I covered, the worse it looked!
I went to see my GP to see if there was any treatment and was told no. I then went to a dermatologist who explained very thoroughly what melisma is and why I had it.
Main points: Its hereditary (thanks mom!! ).
It affects the skin at a deep level, making it hard to treat and sometimes nothing will treat it at all depending on how dark and deep the pigment is! (The pigment on my forehead is very deep).
The surface layer of your skin regenerates every 28 days. The layer underneath pushes to the surface and the top layer “sheds”. Topical treatments work by continually lightening the surface layer of the skin. So if you have melasma deep in the skin, it will take a long time to treat as the pigment continues to work its way to the surface layer of skin.
Stay out of the sun!!! It is your enemy!!!!!!!!
He recommended a topical cream containing hydroquinone , and I was to apply it for 3 months only. Unfortunately, this only lightened the patches a little and did not have a great effect to the overall appearance of my skin. I was informed that the only other option was a very deep chemical peel which was something I really didn’t want to have done, and was not guaranteed to work. I was very disheartened and my self confidence was very low. Makeup artists would comment on how “patchy” my skin was, which right before a photo shoot is not the greatest thing you want to hear!
Now, I’m not trying to promote a product in any way, shape or form. I am just telling you what has worked for me! I was recommended a line of products called Obaji Nu Derm, and the results have been beyond my expectations. I use a 0.1% tretinoin cream mixed with Obagi Blender which is applied over Obagi Clear (another cream). The treatment is harsh!! I peeled and peeled and peeled, but after a few weeks my skin got used to the treatment and stared to lighten and become more even. After 4 months, my melasma is now very faint and can really only be seen on my forehead when it is makeup free. I never leave the house without applying a factor 50 in the winter, and a factor 50 and a big hat in the summer (the hat looks ridiculous but it has to be done). The best SPF 50 I have found so far is Ultrasun Professional Protection Face 50+.
The products are not cheap, but for me it has been worth the investment. I am so pleased with my skin and makeup artists that I regularly work with have started to comment on the change and how much less product they need to use on my face.
In the UK, Obagi Nu Derm products can be ordered from www.skinstation.co.uk