Melasma. January 07 2015, 0 Comments
Melasma is a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation. It can be a big hit on our self esteem. I know it well, after a change in birth control pills, the skin on my cheeks, forehead and chin started getting pretty dark. I, who had always taken pride of my good Brazilian skin, all of the sudden, had to start wearing makeup. But unless you wear a thick mask, sometimes makeup just makes the melasma look worse. I remember not wanting to go into very bright places and looking at my feet a lot.
I did treatments with every new, expensive product in the market. I remember the acids making my skin so thin, I tried to get my eyebrow waxed, the skin came out on the wax! OUCH! These products also made little veins start popping on my previously flawless skin.
It was a long year...
Then in one of my trips to Brazil, I stopped in the Amazon forest on my way to Rio, and an indigenous looking lady, with absolutely beautiful skin, told me about Pracaxi oil. I got it, started using it at night and in 2 weeks I could see a difference. It is a process, it is not an overnight miracle, but the oil feels great on my skin and I like the smell of it. I also avoid sun on my face, I still go to the beach but I wear a lot of sunscreen and hats! Once you have melasma, you will have it forever, but you can learn how to live with it, and keep it under control. Nowadays I use a mix of Pracaxi + Acai oils. I still have a little bit of discoloration on my cheeks but NOTHING like the black mask I had for quite a while.
What causes melasma is not yet clear. It likely occurs when the color-making cells in the skin (melanocytes) produce too much color. People with skin of color are more prone to melasma because they have more active melanocytes than those with light skin.
Melasma appears on women’s skin much more often than men’s skin. Just 10% of people who get melasma are men.
People with darker skin, such as those of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent are more likely to get melasma. People who have a blood relative who had melasma also are much more likely to get melasma.
Common melasma triggers (what starts it) include:
Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes. In fact, just a small amount of sun exposure can make melasma return after fading. Sun exposure is why melasma often is worse in summer. It also is the main reason why many people with melasma get it again and again.
A change in hormones: Pregnant women often get melasma. When melasma appears in pregnant women, it is called chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy. Birth control pills and hormone replacement medicine also can trigger melasma.
Cosmetics: Skin care products that irritate the skin may worsen melasma