Founder Spotlight: The 411 on Melasma
Do you struggle with melasma? In honor of Melasma Awareness Month, our founder and CEO, Rachel Roff, wanted to share with glowgetters™ her challenges with this unique skin condition. As a bonus, she offers insight into what melasma is, its causes and, of course, solutions that will help you discover the even-looking and glowing skin you’ve always wanted!
“As the CEO and Founder of a major skincare brand and Licensed Aesthetician, everyone expects me to have perfect skin. But the fact of the matter is, I have anything but perfect skin. Instead, I suffer from horrible melasma, a form of hyperpigmentation (uneven skin tone) caused by hormones.
I didn't have it when I became an Aesthetician almost 20 years ago, but when I got pregnant with my daughter about ten years ago, I noticed that I started to get a brown patch above my lip. It almost looked like I had a mustache, and then another brown patch showed up on the left side of my forehead. Luckily as an Aesthetician, I knew what it was. But I also knew that, for the most part, melasma isn't curable. It’s only controllable. And unfortunately, it can be challenging to control without dramatic lifestyle changes.”
Causes of melasma and who it can affect
“Melasma has often been referred to as the "pregnancy mask.” The reason being that when there are surges of the hormone estrogen in your body, it can cause your melanocytes to produce extra melanin. It was often also seen when women were on birth control as well. But more recently, they have found that 10% of those with melasma are men, which may seem odd. However, men and women both can produce the hormone estrogen.
Excessive exposure to heat and sunlight can also trigger an inflammatory response in the skin, which can cause melasma, make it worse or cause symptoms to return even after you’ve done the work to brighten and even the look of your skin.”
Tips for improving the look of melasma
“Luckily, there are ways to dramatically improve the appearance of melasma through the regular use of a daily skincare regimen. In addition to noticing a disparity in available skincare for the BIPOC community, having melasma was also an excellent motivator for creating revolutionary skincare products over the last ten years.
Urban Skin Rx® specializes in hyperpigmentation. With melasma being one of the most stubborn forms of hyperpigmentation, I knew that it was the real deal if a product worked on fading my brown spots! To visibly improve the appearance of melasma, it takes a combination of ingredients that brighten, exfoliate, soothe and most importantly, protect.
Creating a product that's effective at fading and exfoliating the look of the melasma is critical and ensures it's not so harsh that it irritates the skin. Currently, my go-to product is our Even Tone Night Treatment! It contains amazing active ingredients like Hydroquinone, Kojic acid and Retinol. When combined, these ingredients fade the look of stubborn dark spots and melasma.
However, the essential step in your skincare regimen is sun protection. But you can't just use any kind of SPF. You have to use a physical sunscreen made out of minerals versus a chemical sunscreen. Why? Physical sunscreens with active minerals like Zinc Oxide work to protect your skin by reflecting the sun rather than a chemical sunscreen which absorbs the sun’s rays and releases it as heat. Which, as I previously mentioned, heat is horrible for melasma.
Fortunately, after ten years, I’m proud to announce Urban Skin Rx now offers physical sunscreens. I absolutely love our SheerGlow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30 with 11.6% Zinc Oxide and what I'm most proud of about this formula is that my friends with deeper skin tones can wear it without it leaving a white cast on their skin, unlike most physical sunscreens!
Melasma is super stubborn to fade and super easy to flare up. I spent the last year working on getting my skin even-toned, and on my 40th birthday trip to Greece, after a few days of living my best life on the water, it all came back. I knew being out on the water all day, even with great sunscreen, that it was going to come back. Sometimes you can’t let your physical appearance rule your life, and although it sucks to be back to square one, I have zero regrets. Plus, I just restarted our Dark Spot and Even Tone Essentials Package, and I already see results!”
For other information on skincare conditions, tips and products, check out the Glow-Up Guide often!