Dealing with melasma

You probably never noticed but I have some serious discoloration on my forehead, better known as melasma. The reason why you never noticed it is because most days I cover it with make-up. And the pictures that show the spot don’t make it to the blog. But today I want to share those pictures, to help others who are dealing with this skin condition and give some tips on how to deal with it.

Melasma forehead

What is melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition that causes brownish spots on the face. It mainly appears on the forehead, chin and upper lip. It is caused by hormones and mostly affects pregnant ladies, in this case it’s better known as pregnancy mask. But you don’t have to be pregnant to have melasma. It has no psychical harm but you can feel self-conscious about it.

My melasma story

I first discovered the pigmentation on my forehead a couple of years ago. At first I thought this was a skin reaction to being burned from the sun. The spots disappeared when summer was over so I didn’t think much about it. Every year during summer the spots would come back. They were pretty light so I didn’t really mind them, but every year they would get a little darker. Until they eventually didn’t disappear after summer anymore and just got a little lighter in winter. Last year I really started to notice the melasma flaring up when we had a pretty hot spring in Belgium. I spend a lot of time outside and the pigmentation went in overdrive. This is when I decided to start looking for remedies.

Melasma pigmentation

What can you do about it?

Generally there isn’t much you can do about melasma. If it’s caused by pregnancy having the baby will pretty much solve your problem. Experts aren’t sure what causes melasma, but they agree that hormones seem to be the primary cause. When I read the side effects of my birth control melasma was indeed indicated as a normal side effect. Going off the pill and choosing a natural birth control is a huge help for most people but I feel comfortable with my pill and don’t want to mess with the risk of pregnancy. So the quest continued and I found some other helpful tips that I want to share here for other women battling with melasma.

1. Take sunscreen to the next level

The most important thing is to protect your skin from the sun, especially the sensitive skin of your face. Some things to look for in a sunscreen when you are dealing with melasma is choosing a physical sunblock instead of a chemical one. And off course you need to wear one with a high SPF, preferably 50 or more. Here’s a blog post with some great recommendations if you’re looking for a good sunscreen. I’m using La Roche Posay Anthelios and this one works great for me. I use the fluid version under my make-up or when I’m not wearing any make-up. I recently found out La Roche Posay also has a spray bottle of the Anthelios sunscreen, so now I keep this one in my handbag for when I’m wearing make-up and don’t want to mess it up by applying sunscreen.

2. Expand your hat collection

On top of using a lot of sunscreen I rarely go in the sun without a hat. Perfect excuse to go shopping. The atheisure trend came right on time to score some sports brand caps.

3. Take a closer look at your skincare collection

Some of the ingredients that can be found in skincare or make-up can mess up your hormones. So it might help to check the products you are using if they contain any of the ingredients that can be found in this list.

4. Take a closer look at your diet

Not just skincare but even food can be high in estrogen. For example soy is believed to throw off your hormones. You can find a full list of foods that have high estrogen levels here. Too bad I love my soy yoghurt too much to let it go.

5. Visit a dermatologist

When you’ve tried every trick you could find on the internet and nothings helps you can always visit a dermatologist. I know there are options available such as laser treatment and lightening creams. As long as the melasma doesn’t bother me that much I don’t want to start any harsh treatment plans, but I can imagine that if your pigmentation is worse this is something you would want to look into.