Melasma 101: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

If you are dealing with Melasma, you know it can be an unpredictable ride. This skin condition, characterized by darker patches of pigmentation on the face, primarily affects women, with around 90% of cases occurring in women between the ages of 20 and 40. While melasma can be a complex condition to manage, by understanding its causes, treatments, and prevention strategies, we’ve found it’s possible to understand this skin condition.


Understanding Melasma

Despite decades of research, the exact cause of melasma is still unclear. However, several factors have been designated as triggers, including genetic predisposition, hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or hormonal contraceptives), UV exposure, and certain medications like hormone replacement therapy. Melasma typically presents on the skin as dark, blotchy patches, most commonly on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and chin. For example, Melasma is so common during pregnancy that it’s sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy.” 


Treating Melasma

Managing melasma starts with understanding that there is no cure. Instead, focus on setting realistic expectations for your skincare journey and significantly improving your skin’s tone and color. When starting treatment, patience is key—it often takes several months to see noticeable improvements, and consistent product use is essential. The key to success is a combination of at-home and professional treatments. 

  • At Home Skincare Solutions: Aloe vera, niacinamide, vitamin C, and glycolic acid are three powerhouse ingredients in the battle against melasma. Aloe vera soothes and hydrates the skin, niacinamide helps to even out pigmentation, and glycolic acid aids in exfoliation, promoting cell turnover and fading dark spots. Incorporating these ingredients into a daily skincare routine will help you consistently work towards positive results. Also, at-home peel treatments and the double cleansing method should be considered to help nourish and gently exfoliate the skin.
  • Professional Treatments: Consult a trusted skincare professional in addition to your daily skincare routine. They may suggest treatments such as chemical peels and microneedling that are effective in lightening pigmentation and improving skin tone. 


Preventing Melasma

Although you can’t completely prevent or permanently remove melasma, sunscreen is perhaps the single most important weapon in the fight against melasma. UV exposure can worsen pigmentation, making daily sun protection essential for management and prevention. Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply it as the last step in your skincare routine every morning. Don’t forget to reapply every few hours, especially during prolonged sun exposure.