If you have been suffering from marks due to facial pigmentation problems then you’re obviously going to be seeking out the best melasma treatment available to you.
The one thing you really need to know is that there isn’t a perfect method that will work for everybody.
You’re going to have to figure out exactly what’s causing the problem and then you’ll be able to clear up your melasma through the process of elimination.
Let’s now take a look at some of the options that are available to you when treating this condition.
Melasma Treatment Options
As I’m sure you can tell by now, there are quite a few different melasma treatment options available to you.
Some of these options are going to be in the form of a medical prescription and then there are other options that come in the cosmetic variety.
Then again, you may want to try one of the over-the-counter products that let you participate in skin bleaching.
When you get involved with the more medical melasma treatment options then you’re going to have the ability to test out things like laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
But this is the kind of treatment that needs the direct guidance and care of a professional dermatologist so don’t even consider attempting any of these methods on your own.
These methods are going to cost you a lot of money, but you should see some good results relatively quickly.
Natural Melasma Treatment Options
I personally believe that the natural melasma treatment options are the best available to you.
The main reason why I like going natural with melasma treatment choices as opposed to some of the chemical options is that you do not have to worry about suffering any unnecessary side effects.
Some of these side effects can often be worse than the treatment themselves, and there’s no point subjecting yourself to that kind of risk when there are natural alternatives that do the same job, only better.
So consider all of the different melasma treatment options available to you, and choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation.
I’d like to share with you some of my favourite simple natural melasma treatment recipes. I’ve taken these from my ebook and DVD series. Please go ahead and experiment with them. Don’t put them on your face until you are sure they are not going to irritate your skin – you can use the inside of your wrist to test them and feel the consistency. Theses recipies are not a second cousin to the commercial preparations. Often you are working with active ingredients which are more active. There’s a lot of science behind each of the combinations below but it would take quite a bit of explaining. For now appreciate that nature does have many of the answers to our health problems. You might be interested to know that Harvard University has just commenced a major study into 40,000 natural ingredients, looking for their activity in hyperpigmentation and melasma.
With each of the recipes, experience the texture and sensation of the combined ingredients – perhaps on the back of your hand or wrist. This will give you a chance to double check whether you are sensitive to particular ingredients or combinations.
I love the simple orange face pack. This contains sun-dried orange peel that has been ground and mixed with milk. It is applied to the skin and left to dry and then rinsed with warm water.
The potato pack always surprises everyone. For many years, potatoes have been known to reduce skin pigmentation and blemishes. The juice extracted from potatoes is a well known natural bleaching agent.
Lemon juice and honey works really well too. Mixed in equal proportions this combination certainly improves skin tone as well as having whitening properties.
Gram flour facial bleach is another surprising one. It contains a mixture of milk cream, gram flour, a few drops of lemon juice and turmeric powder and has helped many people noticeably whiten their skin. Gram flour is simply ground chickpeas.
Sandalwood facial bleach is another of my all time favorites. This is a mixture of sandalwood powder, a few drops of lime, cucumber juice and tomato juice prepared as a fine paste. This can help the skin attain an even complexion and texture in addition to lightening it.
Orangeand yoghurt! The dessert of skin whiteners. Applied in equal quantities this will decrease skin darkness and dullness.
The Oatmeal face mask is another age old preparation. It can be prepared in several ways. One method is a paste made from oatmeal, yoghurt and tomato juice. It will remove a skin tan and generally lighten skin tone.
The Cucumber face pack smells so fresh. It is made by mixing cumber juice with lemon juice and is a surprisingly effective skin whitener.
The Cleopatra of skin treatments; a milk powder facial pack is a fine paste made from milk powder, honey, almond oil and lemon juice. It not only whitens the skin but adds a glow to it.
I know that not everyone wants to rush into the kitchen and start squeezing and grinding their own natural pharmaceuticals and buying off the shelf can be more convenient.
The great advantage of putting ingredients together yourself is that you can control what you are using and how much. It is also a lot less expensive. Some ingredients do not survive the manufacturing process, over time they oxidise or combine with other parts of the mixture and lose their effect but you still see these ingredients on the packaging.
At last there are scientific insights into why weak natural fruit acids cause skin cells to shed and new healthy cells to take their place and so enhance the appearance and texture of skin.
Apparently the acids are able to pass through the cell membranes and actually make the inside of the cell acidic which leads to call death and skin exfoliation. Sounds logical, but this is the first insight into another marvellous natural process.
Meanwhile from our dermatologist friends there is even more news about the bad effects of sun exposure and good news about applying a daily moisturiser to make the complexion look brighter and younger.
We all know how nice a good moisturiser feels and Dr Susan Taylor, founding director of Skin of Color Centre, New York says that even though we feel immediate effects of moisturisers they can take six weeks to three months to have a full effect.
Dr Taylor also says avoid using too many products at once and of course if a product burns or stings it’s probably best to change or back off on the concentration. Also “less can be more” with too much of a product causing clogged pores or a blotchy complexion.
Coming back to our fruit acids for melasma treatment. The name given to this collection of weak natural acids is actually alpha (or beta) hydroxyacids is AHAs or BHAs. You will often see AHAs written in the ingredients list of commercial products.
For melasma treatment you will need a concentration of at least 10% which is much higher than the concentration found in many commercial preparations. If the concentration is not specified than look for it in the second or third position on the ingredients list because ingredients are listed in order of concentration.
These weak natural acids are actually more than “fruit acids”, they can also be derived from milk.
The most common AHAs are:
lactic acid – from milk
glycolic acid – from sugar cane
tartaric acid – from grapes
malic acid – from apples and pears
citric acid – from oranges and lemons
Lactic acid and glycolic acid generally penetrate the skin better than the other weak acids and are a better choice for melasma treatment.
There aren’t a lot of BHAs used in skin care products. The most widely known is salicylic acid. There is some suggestion that BHAs might be less irritating to the skin than AHAs. A much lower concentration of BHA is used ie only a few percent. The problem with BHAs is they make the skin super sensitive to sun which can undermine your melasma treatment if you are not careful.
No matter what your melasma treatment regimen always use plenty of broad spectrum 30+ sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Obviously be even more vigilant if you are using these weak natural acids to treat your melasma.
The added benefit of these weak acids is that they are believed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, of course blotchy pigmentation, skin roughness and may even be working at a deeper level by stimulating the production of the skin support systems elastin and collagen. In short they are great anti-aging ingredients.
I’m always talking about the importance of everyone protecting their skin from the sun and about sun protection being a foundation of the best melasma treatment solutions.
Sun protection is vital for people with any form of skin pigmentation. It isnt enough to wear a hat or walk on the shady site of the road, or use sunscreen from time to time.
I have included an excellent article by Marie Sanchez below who writes about 5 practical tips for protecting your skin from the sun:
Tips For Protecting Your Skin From The Sun
by Marie Sanchez
1. Stay Away From The Midday Sun
Sunlight is strongest from 10AM to 2PM; it’s during these hours that you receive the most damaging UV rays. Avoid going under direct sunlight during these hours, or use lots of sun block, long sleeves and a hat with a brim to protect yourself.
2. Use Broad Spectrum SPF Protection & A Moisturizer
You probably slather on sun block to protect yourself at the beach, but what are you doing to protect yourself from the sun every day? It’s the cumulative damage that you get from every day exposure that will lead to aging skin and wrinkles [and skin pigmentation].
You can protect yourself from this daily attack by using a moisturizer with sun protection factor (SPF) under your foundation. While SPF 15 is good, SPF 30 is even better [find a sunscreen which is broad spectrum and which feels good].
3. Liberally Apply Sunscreen To All Exposed Skin
Use a lip balm with SPF protection for your lips.
Sunscreen should be applied evenly on the skin according to the label recommendations for the best protection from UV rays. [most people use far too little sunscreen and dont reapply it often enough]
4. Also Use A Foundation With An SPF Sun Protection
If you have sensitive skin, you may find that using a makeup foundation with SPF is the best solution for daily use to protect your face from the sun. Double up on the protection by using it over a moisturizer with SPF.
You can also choose the newer mineral makeups; they usually provide protection from the harmful rays without causing irritation or breakouts.
5. Use A Sunscreen Stick Or Mineral Makeup Powder To Protect Areas Around Your Eyes
The delicate skin around the eyes is very prone to fine lines and other signs of sun damage, so it needs to be protected. But get sunscreen in your eyes and you’ve got a stinging, irritated eye.
Instead, look for sunscreen sticks that allow more precise application, or use mineral powder around the eyes…
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
In summary, if you go to the trouble of finding a good melasma treatment and finally solve the pigmentation problem, you need to change your approach to sun exposure or you are likely to see a return of the condition.
And aside from melasma treatment, we all want to keep our skin young and healthy. Sun exposure is the quickest way to create prematurely aged, dry, wrinkled skin.
Now expect to go to some effort looking for the right sun screen or sunscreen plus moisturizer. But it is worth the effort. I like something which is light, absorbs quickly and doesnt leave a sticky feeling. If you are going to be using other products in your melasma treatment regimen of course you dont want a sunscreen with a greasy consistency.
One last word, make sure the sunscreen can be trusted. Not all countries are rigorous with their sunscreen regulations. Try to get a sunscreen from a country were there are regulations about what claims can be made and how the sunscreen must perform.
I’ve just come back from a skincare conference and I thought i would update you on the natural and chemical ingredients which are currently getting “air-time” for pharmaceutical preparations.
There is no need for you to get caught up in lots of science and complexity.
But if you are the sort of person who looks at labels on melasma cream and you don’t mind paying for commercial melasma cream preparations at least you will have some ingredients to scan for.
These conferences are fairly rigorous and it’s unlikely that something will be spoken about unless real results are being observed.
Even so, I am still a strong believer in the natural approach and know you don’t need to look much further than the local farmers market to find really effective skin lightening ingredients.
So here’s the “conference list” of current “designer” melasma cream treatment ingredients:
Arbutin – we know about this one already – known for skin depigmentation
Chromocare – this is a trade name and is said to improve skin uniformity and luminosity
Etioline – another trade name – the origins are “ethnobotanical extracts”, wow what a mouthful, also known for their skin lightening properties
Fruit Acid Complexes – of course we know about these – this is a big part of our natural recipes – the main action is chemical exfoliation or removing the top layer of skin cells
Karatoline – yep another trade name – this one is based on enzymes which remove the darkening chemical (melanin) and also helps remove sun tans. Basically this is an alternative to fruit acids.
Lumiskin – trade name – said to be active in preventing the production of melanin and reduces sun tanning Lumisphere – trade name – not sure exactly how this works but is said to be a skin brightener
Melaclear 2 – trade name – another lightening agent which has an effect on certain types of skin cells Melaslow – the trade name for a Japanese citrus fruit extract (back to our fruit again)
O.D.A White – trade name for a chemical which is said to brighten the skin and reduce melanin production
Wonderlight – trade name for a hop extract (the stuff they use in beer) it has an anti-inflammatory effect which reduces melanin production. I’m assuming this one would be very suited to hyperpigmentation causes by skin trauma because of the anti-inflammatory effect.
Yep, a lot of science.
Dont get too bogged down with it.
Maybe put the list to one side or bookmark it and if you are looking for an off the shelf melasma cream treatment or face pack you can scan for the names and know they are some of the latest ingredients.
I can’t help reflecting on how often extracts from fruit, vegetables and plants come to the rescue in melasma cream treatments though. I think there is a temptation for scientists to extract what they think are the active ingredients and refine them for pharmaceutical products.
But you have to wonder whether there are other ingredients in those plants and fruit which work synergistically and which are being lost during the extraction process.
Speaking of Melasma Cream Treatment - Let’s Hear A Balanced View From A Dermatologist
Before I sign off I wanted to show you a video produced by a Dermatologist. It ‘s after all a bit of a scientific post.
I thought we could go back to the medical model for a moment.
Now I’ve got to be honest with you this Dermatologist is not a movie star and not the most animated speaker either!
If you are patient I think you’ll find he provides some quite balanced answers to the sorts of typical questions which anyone with melasma might ask a physician.
It’s worth a look.