Skincare Routine Part 2 – Treating Melasma and Sun Spots
For part 2 of my skincare post, I wanted to discuss melasma, the only real skin complaint I have. I know a lot of other women suffer from it as well, so I hope this post sheds some light on the condition. For me, the lip area has proven near impossible to treat successfully. It’s no secret that Melasma is almost impossible to rid of and it requires a constant maintenance program.
I asked my aesthetician and friend Mary Matts IG @marymatts to answer some skincare questions for us and give her recommendations for the best possible treatments. If you don’t follow Mary, you should, because she offers a plethora of excellent skincare advice. I get so confused by all the recommendations and information out there, and Mary always knows the answer. I trust her opinion because she is always informative and up to date on the latest skincare news.
I started seeing Mary 5 years ago at Skin MB for melasma that resulted after taking birth control. Mary started me on a regimen for addressing my skin concerns, and I quickly saw results. I was consistent with seeing Mary every six weeks and started seeing noticeable differences immediately. My skin was more radiant, and the melasma began to fade away noticeably. Mary also took care of my skin during pregnancy; I trusted her to recommend products that were safe and efficient. I’ve stayed with Mary over the past five years because of her professionalism and skill set, but a huge part of my loyalty is because she always greets me with a smile and is a real confidant. You know that kind of girl, the one you can tell anything to and they keep it a secret. Oh yeah… AND she loves Dogs as much as I do!
1. What is the difference between melasma and brown spots?
Melasma is brown spotchiness on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip or jawline, which is triggered by hormones and light, primarily among women ages 20-50. Hormones stimulate the growth of cells that produce hyperpigmentation, and natural light stimulates the production of melanin. Throw hormones in the mix, such as oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and that produced in pregnancy, and you have the perfect recipe for melasma. Unlike melasma, brown spots on the skin, for the most part, are considered to be general aging and too much exposure to the sun over time. In general, brown spots should be labeled as sun damage or freckles.
2. What do you think is the best treatment for melasma.
There are several ways to treat melasma. Lightening agents such as hydroquinone or kojic acid can be useful if they are used diligently and always with sunscreen. Routine exfoliation, such as dermaplaning, can be helpful in conjunction, because it is removing the monthly dead skin, and allowing the lightening agents to work on a deeper level. I have also had great success with a laser, contrary to popular belief. When using particular settings, in a series of treatments, melasma can be reduced significantly. However, sunscreen of at least 45 SPF, preferably containing zinc, is a must… every single day, regardless of the season!
3. What is your treatment plan for people who suffer from melasma?
First and foremost, I make sure that they are wearing the correct SPF so that the melasma does not become worse. I then recommend routine exfoliation, such as derma planing combined with specific peels that lend themselves to lightening skin and creating a “cell turnover” effect. I like to incorporate one, if not two of the lightening agents, such as hydroquinone and kojic acid. Both work more efficient when combined with Retin A. I also discuss the advantages of a series of laser treatments.
4. Does the hair grow back thicker and darker after dermaplaning?
No!! The hair on your face is called vellus hair, as opposed to terminal hair. Some people refer to vellus hair as peach fuzz. The only thing that can cause any change in the hair on your face would be hormonal fluctuations and age. Regardless, it is still considered to be vellus, and will not change because it has been dermaplaned.
5. What are your favorite products for people to maintain good results after treatment?
The products that I recommend after treatment to extend the life of the results always depends on the individual’s skin type and any possible sensitivities. However, my general rule of thumb is to have a good balance of exfoliation, skin nourishment, and hydration. In other words, I want to get good cell turnover, via some resurfacer, be it a retinol or an AHA, then I want to feed the skin with a serum, rich in antioxidants and peptides, and I want to balance that with rich hydration, which would be a moisturizer for both morning and night… and always, yes, always, wear sunscreen.
Ok friends, I hope this has helped if you are suffering from melasma as well. Good news is there is hope in sight, but you have to be consistent and stay on top of maintenance. I know it can get expensive, so invest in some of the products with retinol or AHA that Mary recommends. A standard dermaplane without any other services runs on average $70 to $90. And please, friends, get rid of that hair on your upper lip! Bring out the razor if you have to. Sorry…But I’ve got to have your back on this one. Last week it was the fake lashes looking like spiders… this week it’s the mustache 😉
If you missed last week, check out my blog post on my skincare routine.
Lots of Love,