Updated: May 2
When it comes to modern beauty standards, one of the most prized traits is an even skin tone. The smooth, flawless look is popular and appealing, but it may be harder to obtain for some. Sun spots, acne marks, and freckles are some of the most common sources of uneven facial skin tone. However, if you find that your face is particularly spotty, it might be something else entirely.
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What Is Melasma?
If your face is covered in dark patches, particularly blue-gray or dark brown, you might be suffering from a condition known as melasma. In many cases, the spots that appear as a result of melasma are flat or freckle-like. The spots are often cyclical; they lighten during the winter and intensify during the summer. These discolorations are most frequently clustered around the upper lip, cheeks, and forehead. In some cases, they may also spread to your back and arms.
There are three primary forms of melasma:
Epidermal melasma is easy to treat. It is defined by dark brown spots with clear, sharp edges.
Dermal melasma is not as easily treatable. In this variation, the spots are blue-gray and have blurry or “fuzzy” edges.
Mixed melasma is, as the name suggests, a combination of both forms.
Fortunately, melasma is harmless. Aside from a splotchy complexion, there are no side effects.
Who Gets Melasma?
As a skin condition, melasma is a common occurrence. It is primarily seen in women (90% of all cases), but men can sometimes be affected. Cases of melasma most frequently pop up between the ages of 20–40. Melasma is frequently referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”, as between 15–50% of pregnant women experience the condition. Fair-skinned individuals are more prone to melasma.
Aside from pregnancy, most cases of melasma are linked to genetics. Other risk factors that may cause you to develop melasma include:
Certain medications, such as anti-seizure and birth control prescriptions
Using abrasive or harmful soaps
In some cases, melasma is temporary. Pregnant women may find that their melasma goes away after birth! However, in other cases, melasma is chronic or permanent.
How Is Melasma Treated?
Currently, there is no way to remove pigment from the skin. This means that melasma is not exactly treatable, but it is manageable. There are a variety of precautions that you can take to prevent melasma from worsening.
As with any medical condition, your first step should be to speak with your doctor. Your medical team will help you balance any medications to prevent the condition from worsening. You should not alter your prescription regimen without first consulting your doctor! Beyond this, there are some things that you can do at home to cover and lessen the impact of melasma.
Exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) is shown to make the dark circles of melasma more noticeable. If you have melasma, one of the easiest ways to keep it in check is to put on some sunscreen before you go out! Additional sun protection, such as a fun and fashionable wide-brim hat, is also recommended. Individuals with melasma should avoid excessive UV; that means tanning beds are off-limits.
Care for Your Skin
Some products are harmful to your skin. If you notice that a product you’re using is irritating your skin, stop using it! Anything from an allergen-containing color corrector to mildly abrasive soap may promote a reaction that worsens the appearance of melasma. Keep tabs on the ingredients in your cosmetics and cleaning products. If you ever suspect that something is causing a reaction, consider speaking to your doctor or dermatologist
Individuals with melasma should also avoid intentionally abrasive procedures when possible. Two of the most common procedures that may worsen the appearance of melasma are a chemical peel and a standard wax.
Put on Some Makeup
The final step for managing melasma is cosmetic: makeup! Color correcting technology has come a long way in the past few years, and everyone can find the perfect match for their skin tone.
Of course, as we’ve discussed, you can’t just pick up any color-correcting concealer and call it a day. If you have melasma, you’ll want some color-correcting palettes that match your skin tone and are gentle on your skin. You also want something that works; using too much concealer leads to blocked pores and a “cracked”, dusty-looking complexion. Take a look of how I deal with makeup for a flawless finish at any age in this video.
All of these factors make products designed to be applied lightly, like the color correctors Amanda Lee uses, the perfect solution. In addition to its effectiveness, the Amanda Lee color correction solution can be customized to perfectly match your skin. A small application goes a long way to producing the clear, even skin tone that you’ve been craving.