There are around five to six million people suffering from the condition of melasma, with 90% of these individuals being women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Surprisingly, many of these individuals don’t even know they have this pesky skin condition, only that they have a problem with discoloration or hyper-pigmentation they can’t seem to fix.

What is Melasma?

Michael Swann, MD, describes the condition as one that “affects the skin of the face with irregular brown and gray-brown areas of discoloration. The upper lips, chin, forehead, nose and cheeks are the most commonly affected areas.”

Vitamin C Serum

Photo by @skinceuticals

Shani Darden, celebrity aesthetician, recommends applying a vitamin C serum daily in the morning after cleansing, but before applying sunscreen for added protection of the skin. This product by SkinCeuticals comes in a 1 oz bottle and contains vitamin E and C along with other beneficial ingredients.

Daily Sunscreen Use

According to Dr. Swann, melasma is a condition closely linked to exposure to UVA or infrared light. This means daily sunscreen use of at least 30 SPF is a must, along with regular reapplication throughout the day. Any brand of sunscreen will work, just make sure it protects well and has a high enough SPF. It’s also a good idea to wear floppy hats and stay in the shade when possible whenever you venture outdoors.


Pigment Correcting Serum

Photo by @botoxfaceboston

A skin lightening product is another way to treat melasma. You should look for ingredients like alpha arbutin and kojic acid in any product you choose. Dr. Swann recommends this product by SkinMedica called Lytera 2.0 Correcting Serum. It is designed to correct advanced pigmentation issues and stubborn skin discoloration. The product claims to cause visible results in as little as two weeks, with more dramatic results typically seen around 12 weeks.

The experts quoted above attest to the fact that melasma is more than a few “sun spots” or freckles from a day in the sun. It is a difficult-to-treat condition that is linked not only to sun exposure but also tied to genetics and the hormone estrogen. It takes a concerted effort to change what can be altered to improve the condition, like utilizing the tools available and modifying behavior to protect the skin as much as possible. By doing this, you can at least keep the condition at bay if you are predisposed to it or it is caused by an abundance of estrogen.