If you did not know what was melasma last year, there is a possibility that you have seen your revealing signs of irregular facial discoloration in 2021. Why? While mask-wearing can reduce the rate of coronavirus spread, its effect on your complexion is tricky. “Wearing a mask traps accumulated heat against the skin surface, and that can further augment the temperature-induced component of melasma,” says Jessica Weiser, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Weiser Skin MD. Meaning: You can add mask with the list of things, and there are many, as you will learn then, that can activate the melasma, a chronic condition that causes dark or discolored patches on the skin.
Around six million other Americans of all genres, skin types and ethnicities are currently experimenting, which means that time is the right to find the most modern, safe and future options to treat it, prevent it and simply work with her. .
What triggers melasma
The condition is one of the most prevalent dermatological complaints on the planet. “Melasma happens when the cells that produce pigment, or melanocytes, on the skin are activated for larger and produce more pigment”, explains Purvisha Patel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Visha Skincare. “We all are born with the same number of melanocytes, are more active in people with dark skin, and are not distributed uniformly at all, so when they become large or hyperactive, this results in irregular pigment on the skin”. Limit triggers that activate melanocytes is key to stop discoloration.
“Melasma is triggered by three primary factors: hormones, UV radiation, and heat,” says Dr. Weiser, adding that studies have shown that heat increases pigment production by dilating underlying blood vessels. “It is crucial so that patients prone to melasma are diligent to avoid UV heat and light, as much as possible, and cool the surface of the skin quickly when heated to minimize the duration of heat on the surface of the skin”. But avoiding heat is not as simple as it seems. The saunas, hot baths, exercise, and even something as simple as cooking on the stove can cause problems. The newest at-home treatments take the issue into account, like Priori UnveiLED Flexible LED Light Therapy Mask ($395), What offers infrared rays near the temperature in the face, those that do not cause the production of pigments, to improve tone and texture without the risk of overheating of the skin (a common complaint associated with early versions of LED technology) .
And there are other hidden stimulants of pigmentation. “It has been shown that the blue light emitted from its intelligent device or laptop increases pigmentation on the face, which makes it worse melasma,” ” says Orit Markowitz, MD an associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The skin care products with irritating ingredients can also be problematic. “Even sunscreens can worsen melasma if they contain chemical ingredients that irritate the skin,” he adds. This happens because these formulas work when converting UV radiation to heat inside the skin so that it does not burn, but in this process, that heat can trigger pigment cells in those with melasma.
Exposure to heat, light and irritants are things that can at least try to control. Hormones, on the other hand, are more difficult to handle. “Hormones influence the vascular flow to the surface of the skin, and blood flow influences inflammation in the skin, two factors that also contribute to melasma,” explains Dr. Markowitz. And while melasma has been called the “pregnancy mask”, hormonal fluctuations are not limited to maternity. Birth control pills, IUDs, estrogen hormone therapy, and thyroid disorders can also exacerbate melasma. Even elevated stress levels can cause a cortisol spike that may lead to estrogen imbalances and trigger a flare-up.
How to treat melasma
When treating melasma, it is important to think about the long game, because it is a relationship of life. If you can see a dermatologist, there are several remedies prescribed for melasma. Dr. Markowitz often prescribes a retin-a, hydroquinone cocktail and a soft steroid to treat it; However, hydroquinone has its disadvantages. “Hydroquinone is available on the counter in the formulation of 2 percent and as a recipe in the 4 percent formulation,” explains Dr. Patel. “This medicine effectively lightens pigmented skin, but if used for a long period of time, it can be dangerous and create hyperpigmentation as a side effect, the opposite of what we want to happen.” It is also rumored to lose weight and, curiously, it is not safe to use it if it is pregnant.
For patients who are pregnant or simply want to avoid hydroquinone, Dr. Patel suggests a topical recipe with Azelaic acid, which calms irritation and treats dark stains in tandem. The ingredient is widely available in force without a prescription, especially now that its unique versatility has been recognized within the beauty industry. For example, Visha Skincare Mommy Brightener ($65) was made specifically for use during pregnancy and nursing, and it contains a patented ingredient blend, dubbed Illuminotex technology, that is “tested to work the same as hydroquinone without the side effects, thanks to natural tyrosinase inhibitors such as azelaic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide and licorice, as well as salicylic and glycolic acid,” according to Dr. Patel. Glo Skin Beauty Brightening Serum ($30) offers a mix of acids including azelaic, while Arbonne SuperCalm Skin Relief Serum ($50) blends azelaic acid with tiger grass to soothe skin while evening out its tone. Unsurprisingly, The Ordinary has already captured a cream-gel option for under $8 in their Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.
For those ready to try medical-grade, non-prescription alternatives, the future looks bright. Cyspera has emerged as a star in its field thanks to the active ingredient cysteamine hydrochloride, which has been used to treat melasma for about half a decade with results that rival hydroquinone. “In studies, topical cysteamine showed significant efficacy in decreasing melanin content in the skin. CYSPA contains 5 percent cysteamine hydrochloride, which is a powerful antioxidant of aminotiol with multiple benefits in patients with skin discoloration, “says Dr. Weiser, which he adds that it has been shown to improve the appearance and minimizes the Recurrence of hyperpigmentation “. Applied on the makeup or care of the existing skin (to create a soft barrier), the formula of light, moisturizing-esque is rinsed after only 15 minutes. Olling a bit like a perm 90s, the sensation is insignificant without bites or burning. And unlike hydroquinone or retinol, it works well for a particularly sensitive skin.
Another ingredient without recipe that gains popularity is tranexamic acid. “More recently, 2 percent TRANEXAMIC TRANEXAMIC 2 percent has emerged as a long-term treatment and maintenance option to control pigmentation and has been shown that it is as effective as topical hydroquinone in the treatment of melasma,” says the Dr. Weiser. Plus, products with tranexamic acid are easier to find than ever. The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment ($15) sports Sephora’s “clean” seal of approval, while Acaderma Star Light Spot Corrector ($78) blends their exclusive ingredient MelaMorin (designed to inhibit melanin synthesis) with tranexamic acid, and the brand-new Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum ($72) incorporates tranexamic acid into its formula designed to brighten pigmentation in two weeks.
How to prevent it
Even if improvement can be seen in under a month, Marisa Garshick, MDCS, It reminds us that although treatments can help, many cases of melasma are considered chronic, which requires a life of care. “There is always the possibility of recurrence,” she says. For UV protection, it is more complicated than just applying the most elegant formula. You want a wide-spectrum product that keeps against UV and blue light of screens and does not contain irritating chemical products. “Moisturizers or solar protection products containing iron oxide [A] helped prevent hyperpigmentation caused by blue light has been shown to be an effective treatment,” says Dr. Markowitz. The iron oxide has also proven to be an effective visible light protector for darker skin tones, which are often more susceptible to melasma.
“Not all sunscreens can block against blue light, so it is important to look for certain protective ingredients of blue light, such as iron oxide that can be found in some tinted sunscreens, antioxidants that can help protect protect Against the damage of free radical. Caused by blue light, and red algae “, Dr. Garshick continues. Skinbetter Science Tone Smart SPF 68 Sunscreen Compact ($55) is easy to apply and is a great option for reapplication throughout the day, she suggests. And blending zinc oxide with Indian ginseng to protect from blue light, Dr. Loretta Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 40 ($50) doubles as a primer. “Even once it improves, it is important to remain vigilant about sun protection and maintenance strategies,” reminds Dr. Garshick. One such strategy would be adding more blue-light-blocking elements into your skin-care and cosmetic routines, like Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum ($150) and Payot Blue Chrono-Regenerating Balm ($58).
Vitamin C is a derm-approved hero ingredient for fighting environmental damage without triggering melasma, and can even benefit the treatment process. “Antioxidants such as vitamin C are helpful for those with melasma, as it not only can be helpful to fight free radical damage, it can also help to brighten the appearance of the skin.” Perricone MD’s just-launched CCC + Ferulic Brightening Complex 20% ($159) uses a unique phospholipid delivery system to send three different versions of vitamin C (plus antioxidants like Vitamin E and ferulic acid) into the skin’s deepest surface layer. Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel ($85) includes gentle glycerin humectants to make it safe for all skin types and tones, and FEMMUE Lumière Vital C Serum ($88) uses a UV-resistant version of vitamin C along with vitamin E and safflower seed oil to reduce inflammation and block pollutants for a derm-sanctioned bonus.
“Skin of melasma has been studied to show increased markers for oxidative stress and inflammation,” says Dr. Patel. “Pollution has also been shown to contribute and make melasma worse, as this further inflames the skin.” Native Atlas Zahara Vitamin Serum ($60) incorporates a spectrum of antioxidants to protect against environmental aggressors, and Avegan Beauty Plant Based Balance Toner Vitamin Spray($34) includes vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin E within its patent-pending FortiSomes complex for a protective top-up that can be misted on throughout the day.
How to cover melasma
Whatever you choose, it can often take months to see results. “Because many of the treatments can take time to see improvement, I always review the option of cosmetic camouflage with products such as Dermablend or It Cosmetics,” says Dr. Garshick, who appreciates that the lines make an effort to match all skin tones.
Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer ($30) blends in albizia julibrissin bark extract to protect against environmental aggressors, and Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer ($28) calms skin with arnica and panthenol to help counteract inflammation. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer is considered America’s best-selling drugstore option at just $10, while NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30) sits at the top of prestige sales. New to the market this week, makeup artist Monika Blunder, who works with celebs like American Ferrera and Gemma Chan, released Blunder Cover ($52), a clean concealer-foundation hybrid infused with antioxidant-rich edelweiss and rosemary extract (which doubles as a natural preservative). For straightforward clean foundations, Credo’s new 43-shade EXA High Fidelity Foundation ($38) uses hyaluronic acid and protective microalgae actives to create buildable liquid coverage that reads like real skin, while BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Defense Radiant Protective Veil SPF 30 ($39) is infused with cacao to further help protect against that blue light radiating from every device in your life (and some of your energy-efficient fixtures).
With or without makeup, your real skin, your naked skin, your hyperpigmented skin, is a big skin. If you choose to participate with melasma in a battle for life, please make your kindness to review the active ingredients on the products with which it covers it to protect it, instead of punishing, its first line of defense.
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