Patches of dark skin that appear on areas of the face exposed to the sun, melasma is a very common skin disorder. It is, however, more common in young women with a darker skin tone, but it can affect anyone.
Often associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, the condition is common in pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, and women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Being in the sun makes melisma more likely to develop and the problem is more common in tropical climates.
The only symptom of melasma is change in skin color. However, this can cause distress about how you look.
The skin color changes are most often an even brown color and they usually appear on the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Dark patches are usually symmetrical (matching on both sides of the face).
The exact cause of melasma remains unknown, but experts believe that the dark patches could be triggered by several factors, including pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT and progesterone), family history of melasma, race, antiseizure medications, and other medications that make the skin more prone to pigmentation after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Uncontrolled sunlight exposure is considered the leading cause of melasma, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Clinical studies have shown that individuals typically develop melasma in the summer months, when the sun is most intense. In the winter, the hyperpigmentation in melasma tends to be less visible or lighter.
Melasma during pregnancy is called chloasma, or “the mask of pregnancy” and pregnant women experience increased estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) levels during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It is thought that pregnancy-related melasma is caused by the presence of increased levels of progesterone and not due to estrogen and MSH. Studies have shown that postmenopausal women who receive progesterone hormone replacement therapy are more likely to develop melasma. Postmenopausal women receiving estrogen alone seem less likely to develop melasma.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here
Limit your exposure to the sun. The peak sun intensity hours, when UV light is strongest, are between 10am and 3pm. When possible, plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays are less intense.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
- Try an Enerhealth Botanicals cleanse. Click here to discover more
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the programme drink alkalised water, which you can buy from Real Water.
- Take a bath as often as possible up to once a day with two litres of 35% food grade Hydrogen Peroxide.
Avoiding the following food items helps in prevention and healing of melasma
- Spicy, salty foods and drinks
- Garlic and green chillies
- Curd (Yoghurt)
- Buffalo milk products
- Alcohol and alcoholic products
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following:
Fruits like oranges, apples and grape fruit and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts should be taken. These contain calcium D- glucarate which prevents beta- glucuronidase, a bad enzyme formation in the gut. This bad enzyme helps in re-absorption of estrogen. Fiber included foods should also be taken to prevent the formation of excess estrogen.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef. The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey. Check out www.grasslandbeef.com.
There are a number of important supplements that should be consumed to correct the hormone imbalances, which is the main cause of melasma. These include MSM, Vitamin C, CoQ10, Zinc, Probiotics and Calcium. Zinc and Vitamin C have a special function of lowering copper levels while MSM increases the permeability of cells allowing the copper to easily excrete out of the body. Similarly CoQ10 assists in more rapid cell turnover.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
As always the fastest most effective way to receive tailored advice to your own situation, you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Ayurvedic practitioners here
According to ayurveda, facial beauty is the reflection of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Hence, Ayurveda recommends the traditional detoxification therapies followed by rejuvenation therapies for this condition.
As a pacification therapy, Ayurveda recommends a special eight-fold therapy for a period of 28-40 days for complete cure. This facial therapies helps improves the blood circulation in the skin, which in turn detox and rejuvenate itself.
Try any of the following ayurveda treatment options :
- Gentle application of fresh aloe vera juice followed by warm water wash: According to modern researchers, aloe vera contains mucilaginous polysaccharides which has a significant result on lightening the dark spots. Ayurveda recommends this should be applied gently on the face and left on for 15 minutes before washing off
- Orange peel fresh, powdered mixed with milk – is a very good skin exfoliator which can lighten skin discoloration in no time. Gentle application followed by warm water wash after 30 minutes is recommended
- Application of turmeric powder mixed with warm milk – five tablespoons of turmeric powder mixed with 10 tablespoons of milk is applied all over the face followed by a warm massage for 20 minutes followed by warm water wash
- Almond paste with honey as pack for 15 minutes followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
- Application of fresh lemon juice with gentle massage, followed by warm water wash after 10 minutes
- Onion seed paste application followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
- Thulasi leave paste pack followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
- Finally, a 10-minute pack with Thriphala choornam for 10 minutes followed by warm water wash (Ayurveda recommends using Thriphala Kashayam for face wash to prevent and cure melasma. Ayurveda also recommends 1 tablespoon of Thriphala choornam at bed time with warm water)
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Traditional Chinese Medicine
To receive bespoke advice based upon your own situation you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here
Acupuncture can be used to regulate and strengthen the liver and encourage flow of blood and Qi. Local points on the face, as shown in the featured picture, can be used along with
- Xuanzhong GB39
- Qiuxu GB40
- Taichong LR3
Alternately herbs can be used as well. The herbs prescribed will:
- Strengthen and move liver Qi,
- Move blood,
- Clear dampness (according to individual patient’s differentiation) which may have caused the Qi stagnation and blood stasis.
Herbs such as huo xiang and pei lan for clearing dampness, along with dang gui for moving blood, and typical herbs for liver Qidepression or other menstrual disorders can be chosen.
Facial masks might be another alternative. Many Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners recommend mixing pearl powder into a paste and leaving on for an hour daily. Another recipe is to mix 5g Chinese hawthorn/shanzha powder with egg white and apply for an hour twice daily.
For prevention and remedy, take a multi-vitamin that includes folate. For clearing the spots, Livetrong recommends taking other herbs such as, algae, grapefruit seed extract, as well as making a mask out of ginseng and gotu kola.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Both lavender and tea tree oil display skin healing properties and so their mixture can also contribute effectively to treat melasma. Applying a mixture (three to four times daily), which is made by combining lavender and tea tree oil in equal amounts can also help to lighten melasma.
A combination of chamomile and lavender essential oil is yet another effective home remedy for the treatment of melasma.
Use 4 drops of essential oil per 25ml of carrier oil.
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription. Find your closest Homeopath here
Sepia is of utmost importance in treating discoloration occurring after pregnancy. In fact, it is apt for what one would call a post-pregnancy syndrome – a brownish saddle-like appearance spreading across the nose, backache, easily fatigued constitution, heightened mental sensitivity and irritability.
Sun-damaged skin or sunspots, medically called lentigos, and commonly referred to as liver spots, are a product of sun exposure. This exposure is cumulative and not directly related to sunburn on a specific day.
Homeopathy does not advocate the use of creams and ointments in skin disorders. It believes that skin disorders are a reflection of inside and need to be treated from within. Another strong opinion that homeopaths propagate is that any external application can lead to the suppression of the disease and result in a more serious systemic disorder. A well-prescribed homeopathic medicine not only takes care of hyperpigmentation but also treats as a whole and improves general health as well.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Pine Bark – The French maritime pine, Pinus Pinaster, provides a plant-based melisma treatment. A study, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, reported on a standardized pine-bark extract containing pycnogenol – a potent antioxidant which also protects the skin against ultraviolet, or UV radiation. A 25mg tablet, taken with food three times a day for 30 days, was found to be effective in 80 per cent of subjects, yielding lighter, smaller melisma blemishes, without side effects.
Gotu Kola – Traditional herbalists writing for Indianetzone’s ‘Ayurveda’, ayurvedic medical practitioners in India have applied gotu kola (or Centella asiatica) for skin health for many centuries. Modern French research reveals that it assists in burn healing, reduced scar formation and improved blood circulation in the skin. These findings support the traditional Chinese use of gotu kola to treat skin conditions, including melisma. Combine gotu kola with ginseng; mix a small amount of ginseng tea with equal quantities of powdered gotu kola and powdered ginseng root to make a thick paste or salve. Then just apply directly to the melasma spots twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes, before rinsing. Only 1/8 teaspoon of each powder makes enough for a single application.
Grapes and raspberries – Dr Ray Sahelian, health care writer and author of ‘The Stevia Cookbook’ and ‘Mind Boosters’, cites research showing physicians who administered a standardized extract of grape seeds containing the chemical, proanthocyanidin, notes significant improvements in the appearance of melasma-darkened spots. Raspberries, rich in a compound called ellagic acid, are also recommended by Dr Sahelian.
Avoid exercise in hot weather, exposure to hot sun, birth control pills and long-time hormonal therapies.
Yoga – The physical postures and breathing exercises comprising the practice of yoga have long been proven by scientific research to promote feelings of relaxation while simultaneously strengthening the body. Research conducted since the 1970s has shown that regular yoga practice not only relieves stress, and stressful emotions such as anxiety and depression, but also improves blood pressure rates and overall cardiovascular health. Yoga is also effective for reducing pain, improving gastrointestinal and respiratory function, and for improving cognitive function and enhancing sight and hearing.
Note: If you are just beginning to explore yoga, it is recommended that you initially do so under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor who can guide you to become aware of the subtleties involved in each yoga posture as well as the corresponding method of breathing.
Qigong – Is a wonderful form of exercise, breath work and meditation to relieve stress and tension in the body. See article section for more information about the art of qigong.
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healing www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters
Immune health NC_Newsletter_07-11.pdf
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
How to reduce melisma www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4JZmz6DaFI
Facial mask for melasma www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6pHiGSWNIc
EFT for treating disease www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.htm
Further Information (links and books)
Herbs for melisma www.livestrong.com/article/149196-herbs-for-melasma/
Homeopathy and melisma www.drhomeo.com/pigmentation-2/facial-pigmentation-melasma-and-homeopathy
Melasma home remedies www.ayushveda.com/7-valuable-home-remedies-for-melasma
Traditional Chinese Medicine and melisma worldvitae.com/melasma-liver-spots-hyperpigmentation
Beat melasma with Ayurveda health.sify.com/beat-melasma-with-ayurveda
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Andrea Butje | Aromahead firstname.lastname@example.org – Aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt email@example.com – Organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA firstname.lastname@example.org – Meditation, stress
Judith Hoad email@example.com – Herbalist.
Kath May firstname.lastname@example.org – Reiki, Tai Chi.
Lillian Bridges email@example.com – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika firstname.lastname@example.org – Aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.