Melasma: The Dark Side of Pregnancy

Often called the 'mask of pregnancy,' Melasma affects an estimated five to six million American women. Although the precise cause is unknown, melasma €” also known as chloasma €”in pregnant women is a relatively common skin condition characterized by patchy, tan to gray-brown facial discolorations. Melasma occurs when the skin is prompted to produce more melanin, or pigment, than normal. As a result, dark, irregular patches form, notably on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and/or chin.
The condition can last anywhere from several months to a lifetime if untreated. The almost exclusively female condition is estimated to affect 50-70% of pregnant women in the U.S.€”usually in the second to third trimester. Melasma is more prevalent among those of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern and African origin, and those taking oral and topical contraceptives.
In many cases, the telltale signs of melasma lessen or vanish following childbirth or cessation of birth control as hormones stabilize. However, even in these instances, it can take months€”even years€”for the skin to regain uniformity. Fortunately, advances in professional skin care have made treatment of this condition both effective and practical.

Target Pigment Overproduction

The first step in combating melasma is curbing the activity of the hyperactive melanocytes, pigment-producing cells in the skin. Topical skin brighteners that inhibit the melanin-stimulating enzyme tyrosinase can effectively limit pigment overproduction and keep the condition from worsening.
When considering a skin brightener, pay close attention to the key brightening agent. Research recently revealed that the industry's most popular brightener, hydroquinone, may cause irritation, permanently stain the skin and pose a cancer risk. As an alternative, many skin care professionals now recommend natural brightening agents such as azelaic acid, licorice and mulberry.
Once melanin production is under control, peels and resurfacing treatments can effectively help lift away discoloration by accelerating cell turnover, 'pushing' affected skin cells to the surface where they are eventually shed. However, since even the slightest irritation can worsen hyperpigmented skin, it is important to look for treatments that are non-traumatic. Chirally-correct products reduce the risk of trauma dramatically by eliminating the potential for contact irritation common in less refined ingredients.

Stay Sun Safe

Hyperpigmented skin conditions like melasma are extremely sun-sensitive and easily exacerbated by UV exposure, making proper sun protection essential for treatment.
The American Academy of Dermatology stresses the importance of broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and recommends the use of sun-blocking products with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for maximum defense. However, there are no quick fixes. Treating this condition takes patience.

Effective Skincare Products For Skin Tone Restoration

Simply Brilliant
This gentle yet powerful brightening serum is packed with ten skin-specific, plant-based brightening ingredients to  visibly minimizes the look of dark spots and discoloration while preventing new problem areas from appearing. It's even gentle enough for daytime use.
Peptide-Rich Defense
Broad spectrum SPF 50 helps protect the skin from the harsh effects of the sun and it provides the ultimate blend of rich peptides and amino acids. This unique formula protects as well as moisturizes the skin to help prevent and reverse the signs of aging. With regular use, you will improve the look of skin firmness, tone and texture while you help protect against future damage.