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Mismaloya and Melasma

We all just got back from our epic vacation to Puerto Vallarta…or more specifically Mismaloya. I have actually been fortunate enough to travel to a lot of places, from the countryside of Ireland, to Paris, to St. Lucia…but this vacay is certainly topping the list of my favorites: both location and company!

Lemme set the scene: a 25,000 sq. foot house set into a cliff on Mismaloya Bay. The entire side of the house was glass doors that were kept open throughout the day so we could see and hear the ocean below…ceiling fans and the pool keeping us cool throughout our languid days. We got lost daily within our palatial house. Each day I was like, OH! Hey! I never saw that bathroom! Or, Wait… Hey! What staircase is this? Or, Stacey? Where are you?!

We spent our days lying poolside by one of three infinity pools that overlooked the ocean. We read, Iris re-designed one of Kit’s bathing suit tops, we drank, we laughed, we talked, we shopped (a little), we napped on the many couches on the main level, we enjoyed endless cups of coffee every morning and incredible food all day, thanks to our two shifts of staff…yep. That’s right. Give it up for Marta and Umberto, Rudy and Luis for taking care of us in high style! The drinks kept rolling, pico and guac all day, PB&J for Maricela, and we all ate dessert every night. ALL of us:). Chocolate torte. Tres Leches. Cheesecake. Coconut creme brulee served IN the coconut!

The sun, view, and sound of the ocean waves, the coolness of the pool and beauty of the view were intoxicating and kept us out in the sun for as long as we could stand it. I came ready with my new Elta MD Aero Spray! But what we plan isn’t always what happens…

The first day at the pool I busted out my SPF 40 and put it down next to Maricela’s BabyGanics SPF 50. Then I saw a bunch of Hawaiian Tropic spray oils. SPF 4. SPF 8. I kid you not. I was like, Wait! We’re using oil?!?

The response was a resounding, Duh!

After the first day I realized no tan was gonna develop without the oil; so I alternated. Iris seemed to stay out of the sun though. (Of course she did!) The rest of us were out there cooking. I DID keep the SPF 40 on my face at all times, but I knew, no matter what, my melasma was gonna pop right up from the heat and the UV rays. Even by the first evening it was visible: my forehead looked (looks) like the milky way.

I knew it was inevitable that we were all gonna come back tan, with new sun damage and freckles. I knew my melasma was gonna pop up on my face. I figured it would be a blog topic somehow. And here we are!

I forgot how much melasma I actually have. Heck, I didn’t even know what melasma was before I started working here. Do you know what it is? It looks like brownish patches on the face…..

Here are the quick facts on melasma:

Melasma is characterized by three location patterns (central face, cheekbone, and jawline).

Melasma is caused partly by sun, genetic predisposition, and hormonal changes.

The most common treatment is topical creams containing hydroquinone.

Melasma prevention requires sun avoidance and sun protection with hats and sunscreen.

What’s it caused from?

Melasma is caused by the stimulation of melanocytes (cells in the epidermal layer of skin that produce a pigment called melanin) by the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. This stimulation results in the production of more melanin pigments when the skin is exposed to sun. Genetic predisposition is also a major factor in determining whether someone will develop melasma. And although possible, it is uncommon in males.

Most people with melasma have a history of daily or intermittent sun exposure, although heat is also suspected to be an underlying factor. People with olive or darker skin, like Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals, have higher incidences of melasma.

So how do you treat it?

Treatment has several aspects: treating symptoms, and also prevention. Prevention is primarily aimed at sun protection and sun avoidance. Treatment requires regular sunscreen application, 4% or greater hydroquinone, and specific advanced skin treatments, like peels. Let’s focus on several specific treatments and products that can vasty improve melasma.

Hydroquinone (or HQ)

In different concentrations hydroquinone inhibits or prevents skin from making the enzyme responsible for triggering melanin, the chief pigment that gives skin its color. We offer prescription strength HQ at Body Tonic, from 4-8%.This is the ONE treatment we most recommend for melasma and hyper-pigmentation.

Advanced Pigment Corrector Peel

Skin Ceuticals has a brand new peel that can correct hyperpigmentation. It will adress the following concerns:

  • Discoloration

  • Uneven Skin Texture

  • Lack of Radiance

  • Enlarged Pore Appearance

The peel is customizable and is safe and effective across all skin types (this part is important)! The peel is a mixture of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and Phenylethyl Resorcinol, which is a skin brightening agent that, in testing, prevents pigmentation better than Hydroquinone and Kojic acid.

This peel can be done as a one-time treatment if your melasma is not severe, or can be done four times, four weeks apart, if you have a more severe issue.

Advanced Pigment Corrector

This is a daily at-home treament that is clinically proven and tested on all ethnicities (yah!) to help improve the appearance of stubborn discoloration. It helps improve the appearance of discoloration often caused by chronic UV exposure, hormonal fluctuation, and natural aging. This potent product also exfoliates to improve skin’s luminosity.

  • Fades stubborn discoloration

  • Enhances resistance to new pigment

  • Improves luminosity for renewed radiance

  • Ideal for all skin types

Sunscreen: We offer many quality sunscreen…but if you don’t get it from us, BE SURE your suncreen has zinc oxide! Check out our SPFs on our products page!

For August, we are offering a Melasma Treatment Package.

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