The condition often mistaken as sunburn by most black people of African origin is called Melasma. It is not uncommon for people suffering from melasma to say they have sunburn. Unlike sunburn which is a sensitive painful condition caused by overexposure of the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight. Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation caused by prolonged and excessive exposure to sun damage over a long period of time. It appears as patches of dark discoloration on the skin typically on the face and it may form on other parts of the body as well. The major difference between the two conditions is that sunburn is painful and sensitive while melasma is not. Sunburn though uncomfortable lasts only a short period of time ranging from a few hours to a few days while melasma if not well cared for, is a chronic condition that may last a lifetime. Let’s dive into the causes and treatment of melasma.
Causes of Melasma
Birth control pills, stress, hormone therapy, and thyroid disease can all initiate melasma. The overproduction of melanin pigment is another cause of melasma. It may appear on any part of the skin and it is most common and visible on the face. It may also be caused by hormonal imbalances during pregnancy. Skin-lightening products which contain harsh chemicals may also trigger melasma.
Is Melasma Difficult to Treat?
Treatment of melasma in black skin is not complicated at all but it is when the right treatment is not utilized. Hormonal melasma may correct itself over time but most melasma cases in black skin are more common among people who are doing skin lightening because they do not know how to do skin lightening correctly. Melasma may occur due to long-term dysfunctional skin care practices caused by ignorance or nonchalance. This always end up with dark discoloration of the skin typically on the face. One of the reasons melasma is non-forgiving is, it exhibits itself in obvious areas of the face such as the forehead and cheekbones. Melasma is an intimating condition when you are someone who cares about how your skin looks. Even if you do not care about how your skin looks, it is a scar that does not belong on the skin. The good news is, it is not difficult to treat. When the right treatment is utilized, you have a very good chance of getting your skin back.
The objective of people who do skin lightening:
There are several reasons people engage in skin-lightening activities. Ending up with a discolored uneven skin tone is definitely not one of those reasons they crave to have a smooth, radiant, flawless and even skin tone. Some melasma is triggered by the use of products that contain very harsh chemicals such as steroids mercury or higher than the regulatory percentage of hydroquinone. A major attribute of such products can be damaging to the skin by making the skin highly sensitive to UV rays, the effect is sun damage which materializes into melasma.
Using the right skincare products goes a long way in diminishing melasma and treating the condition. Understanding the functions of the ingredients in your skincare product projects your level of success for your skincare goals. Having a knowledge of the ingredients that are essential for your goal is advantageous in treating any skincare concern. Because Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation, implementing products with safe skin-lightening ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, vitamin C, arbutin, and glycolic acid can easily restore the skin to its glory.
Hydroquinone: This has been known in treating skin disorders like melasma, hyperpigmentation and sunburn. It reduces skin discoloration helps fade red or brown spots that have persisted it is also used to treat small brown spots on the skin called freckles. Hydroquinone does not bleach the skin but rather restores skin to your baseline skin color.
Kojic Acid: It has an active lightening and brightening agent in it to help scars fade off. Kojic acid is a byproduct of the fermentation of rice. It is a natural skin care agent that is anti-inflammatory. It treats hyperpigmentation, dark spots and sunburns and leaves your skin evenly toned. It is usually used to combat dead cells in the skin too.
Glycolic Acid: This is taken from sugar cane. It is an alpha-hydroxy acid that is usually combined with other skin-lightening concentrations. It exfoliates, softens, hydrates and brightens the skin. Glycolic acid helps remove dead skin cells, smoothens wrinkles and keeps the skin pores open.
Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic acid it is an antioxidant that helps reduce the effect of sun damage on the skin. Its topical use is effective in reducing melanin production and giving essential nutrients to combat hyperpigmentation.
Sometimes people with sun-damaged skin try to mend melasma by using products similar to the type that triggered the damage using harsh products with unsafe ingredients to treat already scarred skin may result in a worse situation as is common with most black Africans, especially the older generation. Noteworthy, aggressive skin-lightening products tend to cause melasma within a short amount of time. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Treat melasma in black skin requires patience in addition to getting the right products that will not intensify the condition.
Treating Sun Damage:
It is imperative to exercise caution before sun exposure as prolonged sun damage leads to melasma. Interventions such as the use of sunscreen, sun shades, wide-brim hats, and UV protective clothes before sun exposure are effective ways of preventing melasma.
Best Melasma Skin Care Products
The need to moisturize the skin is not overrated. In addition to the skin-lightening ingredients mentioned, Elite Naturals Serum contains a high percentage of aloe vera which serves as a moisturizing agent for a melasma face or skin. The proportional presence of natural ingredients such as kojic acid, glycolic acid, arbutin and fruit acids in the formulation makes it a good fit for the treatment of melasma.
Elite Naturals Soap:
To achieve the best result from skincare, exfoliation is recommended.
Elite Naturals Exfoliating Soap is highly concentrated in glycerin, citric acid, aloe vera and other blends of naturals to open up clogged pores, remove bacteria, lighten scars and make skin soft, smooth radiant and healthy. It is formulated to aid the treatment of melasma, hyperpigmentation and other skin disorders.
It is important to know that exfoliating soaps are not meant for daily use but twice a week also lightening serums are best used at night when the skin is not exposed to sunlight.