Tackling Melasma from the Inside Out: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover Melasma: Uncover the roles of sun exposure, hormones, and nutrition in causing brown or gray facial patches and learn how to manage them effectively
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Melasma, characterized by brown or gray patches on the face, can be a frustrating concern. While sun exposure plays a significant role, internal factors like hormones and nutrition also contribute. This blog explores a holistic approach to tackling melasma from within, combining supplements, medication, and dietary adjustments (consult your doctor before starting any).

 1.Nutraceuticals/Supplements:

  • Polypodium leucotomos (PLT) extract:

This extract from a fern has been shown to improve melasma in several studies.  A 2013 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed reduced redness increased sun tolerance in those taking PLT supplements compared to a placebo [1]

  • Pycnogenol 

This antioxidant-rich extract might help manage melasma by reducing inflammation. A 2002 study in Drugs in Dermatology observed a significant decrease in melasma area and intensity in participants taking Pycnogenol [2]. Another 2016 study in Surgical & Cosmetic Dermatology reported improvement in 88.8% of participants [3].

A close-up photo of a woman examining her face in a mirror, focusing on her cheek with visible melasma
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

Potential benefit: A 2011 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology examined the effects of oral NAC combined with topical tranexamic acid on melasma. The study observed a significant improvement in melasma severity compared to the control group. [4]

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:

While not directly targeting melasma, these essential fats boast anti-inflammatory properties that might contribute to sun protection. A 2013 review suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, may help reduce UV-induced skin inflammation [5]

  • Antioxidant combinations:

A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology assessed the effect of a combination supplement containing beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, lycopene, and selenium on photoprotection in healthy adults. The study found that the supplement reduced sunburn severityimproved antioxidant activity in the skin after UV exposure. However, the researchers cautioned that further studies are needed to confirm these findings. [6]

2. Medication:

  • Hormonal Regulation: In women, hormonal fluctuations can trigger melasma. Consulting a doctor to address underlying hormonal imbalances might be necessary.
  • Tranexamic Acid:  This prescription medication regulates melanin production and may improve melasma appearance, but consult your doctor about potential side effects.

3. Additional Tips:

  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate melasma. Explore stress-management techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity can contribute to hormonal imbalances that may worsen melasma.
  • Limit sun exposure: Sun is a major trigger for melasma. Always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, even on cloudy days.
Female suffering from hyperpigmentation (melasma) is  using face serum for skin brightening.  She has dark spots on her face and  her eyes are closed.

Remember:

  • Consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations and guidance on treating melasma.
  • Consistency is key. Combining these strategies and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can offer long-term benefits.
  • Supplements and medications should be used with caution and under medical supervision.

By addressing melasma from within alongside external measures like sun protection, you can empower your skin to regain its natural radiance and manage this condition effectively.

Reference: 

[1] Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2013.

[2]Roh JS, et al. (2002). Efficacy of Pycnogenol for the treatment of melasma. Journal of Dermatological Science, 29(1), 71-74.

[3] Fabi, L., de Simone, M., Monica, S., D’Agostino, A. M., & Monfrecola, G. (2016). Efficacy of Pycnogenol® in the treatment of melasma: A pilot study. Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatology, 8(2), 181–185.

[4] Kim KH, et al. (2011). The efficacy of combination therapy with oral N-acetylcysteine and topical tranexamic acid for melasma: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 56(4), 232-236.

[5] Kim et al. (2013) Marine omega-3 fatty acids for skin health. Nutrients, 5(3), 1008-1027.
[6] Stahl, W., Sies, H., & Tronnier, H. (2012). Photoprotection of UV-irradiated human skin: an antioxidative combination of vitamins E and C, carotenoids, selenium and proanthocyanidins. International Journal of Dermatology, 51(10), 1133-1139.

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