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Support for melasma

(2 Posts)
Daisyflower1 Wed 19-Jun-13 13:32:33

After suffering with melasma for over a year I am finally able to speak out. I would like others to talk with me a out suggestions they can give me to prevent it getting worse. It's heartbreaking as I don't know the cause. I am not on bc, have no children and don't go in the sun much. Doctors are no help. sad please please please, help x

Love2Dance Wed 07-Aug-13 12:28:41

Hi Daisyflower. Sorry to hear how difficult it is for you. Melasma is a real bummer. There are options to try to reduce it, but it depends how far you are willing/able to go.

I think the only thing that will prevent worsening is high factor sun cream (spf 50). As to Drs, I can only speak for myself but my GP was useless. To get the right sort of advice I think you really need a dermatologist. Have you seen one for a proper diagnosis? If its very noticeable/upsetting you may get referral on the NHS. Otherwise, a private one should be able to advise you. Preventative and corrective treatments depend on your skin type. Some swear by laser treatment , but as I say below, that's not really an option for me as I am of mixed heritage (cafe au lait complexion I guess) and I have been told that for darker skin types there is a significant risk of the skin darkening. If you are pale skinned it may be an option for you...

I have copied a post I did on a thread started by Beginner SAHM:

"...I developed a brown patch on each cheek in 2011. I tried Skinceuticals pigment corrector with kojic acid. No effect at all. Ditto microdermabrasion. It was not so bad with foundation or concealer but when I'm not at the office I too am extremely low maintenance (least well-dressed mum on the school run in trackies and sweats etc!).

Personal recommendation led me to a good dermatologist and she prescribed the Obagi Nu Derm system (with Retin A cream plus hydroquinone creams and SPF 50 sun cream). You can stay on the system for up to 18 weeks (although I think some people do it each year I wouldn't do anything unless advised by a dermatologist). I started in February and am on week 13.

The bad news:
1. It's f***ing pricey.
2. It's hardcore: time consuming (products have to be put on one after the other morning and night) and skin will get very red and peel, especially round the mouth.
3. You will probably have to stay out of the sun/use high factor SPF/wear a hat:for the foreseeable future. This might not be a minus for you but it is for me, even though I have olive skin. Looking at fake tan options for when I finish the course...
4. You can't wear much, if any make-up as it's pointless with the flakiness. No a big deal for me as I work at home a lot. When I have to see clients at work or have a party or event to go to I hold off the night before on the Retin A so I can wear a bit of make-up.

Some people report peeling/redness stops after first few weeks, but as my skin is quite sensitive I still peel and get red, although it comes in cycles. I have been politely told in M&S by a sales assistant that I need to clean my face and got asked by my DS' friend "what's on your face?"

The good news:
It took until about week 10, but I can see a difference. I'm not sure the brown marks will disappear altogether but they have definitely reduced - enough to give me the motivation to carry on until week 18. The overall condition of my skin has improved: smoother and more even toned.

I am not very comfortable with skin bleaching as skin lightening is not what I want and I'm conscious that some people use hydroquinone continually as a beauty treatment to lighten skin, but I see this as a temporary measure.
My dermo and I discussed laser treatment but she advised me that with sensitive skin I was risking the marks getting worse and darkening in a reaction to trauma."

There is a post script. The Retin A/Hydroquinone route requires extreme care with UV light. After my course of treatment finished I went on holiday to the Med, used factor 50, did not sunbathe (or at least not my face), used a wide brimmed hat and my melasma has returned. I am hoping it will fade a bit and I continue to use factor 50. It is not as bad as it was before my treatment but my research online leads me to think that over time, it will slowly return.

Let me know if there's anything else you want to know smile

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