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The Pregnancy Mask

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Q:  I developed Melasma on my upper lip while I was pregnant.  It’s been months and it is still there.  What can I do?

Over-production of melanin is also stimulated by UV radiation which makes it a complex issue that is difficult to treat, because your body has already kicked melanin production into over-drive and that is compounded further by recurring stimulation from UV rays. Sometimes Melasma will go away after pregnancy or lighten enough to cover the discoloration with cosmetics but unfortunately it often returns with additional pregnancies, hormonal changes and sun exposure.  The good news is there are treatment options that offer hope.

It is important for you to understand that sun is your ENEMY and it will remain your greatest nemeses. Melasma is a chronic condition.  There is no magic cream that will guarantee to banish it forever. I find that Melasma is one of the most difficult skin issues that we treat at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Skin Rejuvenation and Laser Institute.  It is frustrating for both myself and my patients.  Therefore, I want to express the importance having realistic expectation before you decide if or which treatment option is right for you.

There are a few things you can try to improve your Melasma.  The first and most important one is simply applying medical-grade physical sunscreen with either micronized Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide every day, 365 days a year, without fail. You can get this from a dermatologist or plastic surgeon like Dr. Castillo. Avoid trying to sneak by with just the SPF of 15 that is in your make-up or moisturizer, it won’t cut it.  Because even the best sunscreen cannot block all UV radiation, other protection should also be used such as a wide-brimmed hat or umbrella. There is no such thing as “water-proof” sunscreen, only “water-resistant” sunscreen so if you are sweating or swimming you will need to re-apply every 80 minutes.

Prescription Bleaching creams, which I prefer to call “lightening” creams can also be helpful. They are used initially on only a short term basis but can be repeated in the future as a form of maintenance. You must be very faithful to your sunscreen regimen with using lightening agents.

If changing your oral contraception or hormonal therapy is not an option, and you haven’t gotten the type of improvement you desire then it may be time to consider more aggressive treatment options.  At Cosmetic Plastic Surgery we find the most success using CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing in combination with a lightening agent, medical grade sunscreen and sun avoidance. Other treatment options may include series of medical grade peels or IPL treatments.  Again, sun is your ENEMY.  It can very rapidly undo any successful treatment with sun exposure.

 

Yours Truly,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D. FACS
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY

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