melasma & me
Before I get started... don't get me wrong... I love my girls, they are literally rays of sunshine in my life.
I was, and am, lucky.
I was told by several specialists that children would not likely be a part of my life, my body would not cope.
Yes well, surprise!
After two very difficult touch and go pregnancies and the inevitable cesarean sections, I look at their faces on the very worst of days and I know I am lucky.
Where this gratitude wagon falls off the tracks is with melasma, the dirtiest word in my vocabulary.
Let me give you some history,
I was the child at the beach wearing the hat with the back flap, the child who had to wear a t-shirt...in the water, the child whose skin glowed with a gloopy white sheen and who left a filmy trail of spf goodness behind me wherever I swam. Yep, cheers for that Mum, it did heaps for my social life (eye roll). However, thanks to the lovingly dished out sun safe nagging, I became the teenager that would cover myself with sunblock. Yes, still covered in the white sheen whilst laying next to my golden friends covered in shimmering coconut scented oil, diligently smelling like zinc while they smelled like heaven.
To my early 20's and my pregnancy with Charlee. This involved a lot of time at the hospital, I was rarely outside, and this is why it came as such a shock to me when I began to notice darkened pigment spreading across my forehead and cheeks.
(cue jaws music)
A chronic skin disorder characterised by patches of symmetrical hyperpigmentation bound by irregular borders.
The cause of melasma is complex and believed to be multi-factorial, a genetic link has been established. Physiologically, the pigmentation is due to overproduction of melanin. Triggers include,
Hormone treatments (contraceptive pill, HRT)
Medications (capable of phototoxic reaction)
Cosmetics (capable of phototoxic reaction)
Melasma is incredibly hard to treat, with treatment measures rarely being completely successful.
The way this condition made me feel about myself has been an eye-opener for me. I have always understood the significance of skin health in it's physiological capacity, but the implications on emotional health and self-esteem were distressing.
I would of never considered myself a vain person, but knowing my skin was different changed me, I began to feel like it was all others would see when they looked at me, in every mirror I saw melasma, in every photo of myself I saw melasma. For a long time I would only include myself in photos if I knew the flash was off (a flash would highlight the dark patches) and eventually I opted out of being included altogether.
Now in my 30's, and having worked on my skin for over a decade, I believe in results driven treatments and prescriptive cosmeceuticals, clinically researched and backed by scientific data, I believe in holistic consultation and deciphering the effects nutrition, lifestyle, environment and genetics may have on the skin, and I believe in taking a collaborative approach to skin management, your skin should not only be as good as your last facial.
And lastly, I still believe in sunblock!
Look after your skin, skin health is no joke.
With thanks to the following sources,
Ali, R., Aman, S., Nadeem, M., & Kazmi, A. H. (2016). Quality of life in patients of melasma. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatology, 23(2), 143-148.
Grimes, P. (2017). Melasma. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/557354
Miot, L., Miot, H., Silva, M., & Marques, M. (2017). Fisiopatologia do melasma. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=s0365-05962009000600008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en
Ortonne, J. P., Arellano, I., Berneburg, M., Cestari, T., Chan, H., Grimes, P., ... & Pandya, A. (2009). A global survey of the role of ultraviolet radiation and hormonal influences in the development of melasma. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatologyand Venereology, 23(11), 1254.
Prignano, F., Ortonne, J. P., Buggiani, G., & Lotti, T. (2007). Therapeutical approaches in melasma. Dermatologic clinics, 25(3), 337-342.
Resnik, S. (2017). Melasma Induced by Oral Contraceptive Drugs. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/663540