Melasma, also known as hormonal pigmentation, is a considerable problem for South African women. It is a chronic skin condition that occurs on the face in the form of brown patches and is a dynamic (active) condition that needs lifelong management.
UVA rays – one of the main causes of pigmentation – are a stimulant for melanin (brown pigmentation) to develop on the skin, and unfortunately can even penetrate through car window glass. Any changes in hormonal status with higher levels of oestrogen is thought to trigger and aggravate the condition (i.e. birth control pills and pregnancy). Discontinuing the use of contraceptives rarely clears the pigmentation and it may last for many years after discontinuation. After pregnancy Melasma (chloasma) or pigmentation usually clears within a few months of delivery but may persist indefinitely, however many women without these risk factors also develop melasma.
Any activities that cause intense heat to the face (steam showers, hot closed environments, sitting on the beach even under cover and with full sun protection, etc) cause inflammation which is a powerful stimulator of melanin.
Pigmentation is more prevalent in darker-complexioned individuals though persons of any race can be affected due to the intense sun exposure in South Africa.
Melasma is seen most frequently in young women but can be seen in men. Lamelle’s Luminesce, an advanced pigmentation program which addresses hyper-pigmentation by reducing melanin at several points in its production, as opposed to just one point as with other treatments. This wider inhibitory effect is an industry first, positioning the Luminesce range as one of the most innovative.
Preventing pigmentation may include the following;
Avoid sun exposure and wear a protective hat when outdoors for extended periods to further block these rays.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ to block the UVA rays every day to help prevent melasma.
In addition your sunscreen should also contain an anti-oxidant as this stops free radicals which cause pigmentation.
At least 5mls of sunscreen should be applied to the face and neck twice a day to prevent melasma.
Taking an oral anti-oxidant supplement such as Ovelle or Heliocare daily is clinically proven to raise one’s level of resistance to the sun and also helps to reduce the melanin content in the skin down the line.
As melasma is a dynamic condition and needs to be managed daily and indefinitely, one day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.
Melasma can be treated with pulsed light treatments such as Limelight , Photo Genesis and a combination of epidermal peels such as Lamelle Beta Peels and TCA or Mela T or Nimue Chemibrasion. However, Melasma recalcitrant to therapy is most likely dermal melasma which can be better treated with Luminesce products and mid dermal peel such as Lamelle Mela M or laser treatments such as the Q switched Nd Yag.
If the above recommendations and treatments are followed, after a period of time, the pigmentation does fade but one day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.