What is Melasma and how to treat it

Melasma is a pigmentation disorder characterized by brown patches on the skin. You can develop melasma anywhere, but it most commonly appears on the forehead, around the mouth (especially upper lip), or along the outer perimeters of the face and cheeks. Melasma commonly looks like you are wearing a mask. 

Pregnancy mask, discoloration, brown patches, upper lip pigmentation, melasma is a common skin condition that affects around six million women in the United States. Even though melasma is common, it can be tricky to identify and even trickier to treat. Keep reading to learn more about how to tell the difference between melasma and other types of pigmentation as well as the best treatments for melasma.

Essentially, melasma is an overproduction of melanin. Melanocytes are cells that live in the dermis (the deepest layer of the skin) and produce melanin (pigment). Melanin is bundled up in melanosomes, which move up to the surface of the skin and disperse. This then shows up as color on the skin.

British Socialite Danielle Lloyd, speaks out about “trolls” who mock her “dirty” appearance.

What Causes Melasma?

  •  Being Pregnant: During pregnancy high levels of hormones are being produced that stresses the liver. The older the expecting mother, the more the liver is compromised, and therefore “mask of pregnancy is more commonly seen in 30+-year-old moms.  
  • Hormonal birth control: Since many hormonal birth control methods essentially mimic a state of pregnancy in the body, prolonged use can definitely trigger melasma. Learn more about how birth control affects the skin.
  • Those with deeper skin tones:  Melasma stems from an overproduction of melanin. Those with deeper skin tones have more active melanocytes than those with lighter skin, so it’s easier for them to be over-stimulated. 
  • Liver Damage: Melasma can also be the result of liver damage from repeated exposure to toxins such as equilin sulfate which is commonly found in medications and hormone replacement therapy ( pigment will appear on the upper face), food preservatives ( pigment can appear on the jawline), birth control, anxiety, and antidepressant medications.

So, What Are the Best Ways to Get Rid of or Prevent Melasma?

Reconsider Your Birth Control

Birth control is going to give you fake progesterone and if your doctor added the estrogen, your body can quickly accumulate a toxic load of the fake hormones. This will play a toll on your liver trying to detox the excess hormones. If your melasma appeared after going on hormonal birth control, consider a copper IUD, just make sure to take lots of zinc with it or for the best birth control consider family planning method and be extra protective when you’re fertile/ 

If you are currently pregnant

To Prevent Melasma, I highly recommend using skincare that will help hormonal pigmentation from forming on your face.

Circadia’s White Veil brightener is my go-to for suppressing hormonal pigmentation from rising to the surface of your skin. 

Balance Hormones 

Hormone Testing to provide you a baseline of where you are at and give you an idea of what you need to focus on.

Schisandra berry will help prevent excess pigmentation production because it cleans out your liver and balances your hormones. And if your liver is clogged and your hormones are off these are two big contributors to excess melanin production.

Detox and Repair your Liver 

  • Schisandra berry for liver detox 
  • Activated coconut charcoal to bind to toxins in the gut and flush them out before they get into your system.
  • Coffee enema to clean the colon and liver with the powerful antioxidant content in coffee.

At-Home Products Depending on the severity of your Melasma, you may be able to get it under control using only at-home treatments. Either way, being diligent about your daily routine is a crucial step in getting Melasma under control.


This blog is apart of the pigment series. Read the rest of the by clicking the link below:

Holly is an international award-winning aesthetician and business owner with over 10 years of experience in the aesthetics industry. She was named the 2019 Top International Holistic Esthetician at the Skin Games and has owned BOHO Alternative Med Spa in Allen, TX since 2015. Holly is a wife, mother of five, and a skin fanatic whose personal mission is to help her clients create healthy, glowing skin through alternative methods.

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