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Fighting Melasma

Fighting Melasma

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I was never the type of person who loved to tan my face. A matter of fact, I remember being a kid and my mom picking me up from middle school and as she was driving I was covering my face in the passenger seat. She’s like what’s wrong with you? And I said I was trying to prevent getting freckles. What? I wasn’t a fan of freckles. Fast forward to adulthood and yes like many I love the sun but I hate tanning my face. I first noticed brown patches on my face about eight to ten years ago. They weren’t sun spots or freckles. I had actual brown patches. And that’s where my journey begins.

It wasn’t until I really started taking care of my skin that my aesthetician at the time said I had melasma. I’m like WTH is that? Am I going to die from it? She said typically women who are pregnant or going to hormonal changes get melasma during their pregnancy but that wasn’t my case. So what gives? According to WebMd, “More than 6 million Americans get these splotchy brown or grey patches. Although experts aren’t certain of the exact reason for it, they know that sun exposure can cause melanin to go into overdrive and create the spots on the skin.” Oh great! So now for the real question….what can I do to fix it?

Unfortunately this has been a long journey for me. And the truth is I don’t think you can ever cure melasma. You have to remember that the melasma is located in the deep layers of your skin. Some of the products I’ve used have helped lighten the brown spots but never completely get rid of them. What tends to happen is when the summer hits the spots resurface. But what does WebMD say? “You can reverse melasma with many of the same treatments that work for age spots, such as skin-lightening creams. One study found that hydroquinone, kojic acid, and glycolic acid all worked well in reducing the splotches. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy are also options. Most importantly, strict sun avoidance and liberal use of broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA, UVB, and visible light are a must for successful treatment of melasma.”

Let’s talk Chemical Peels. One in particular, VI Peel. I was approached by an aesthetician friend, Diane Oakley, Master Aesthetician at DermaVita in Kirkland, WA to try one of these chemical peels to help with my hyperpigmentation including the melasma. The procedure is painless, simple and takes maybe 30 minutes. The magic happens a few days later. And yes it’s called VI Peel because YOU PEEL! Check out my pictures and description below.

Pretty standard. No peeling. Some itchy spots. No hot showers, saunas, crazy workouts or hot tubs. The heat will irritate your skin. The VI Peel towelettes are important to use within the first 48 hours. You are sent home with 3 towelettes and instructions.

Pretty standard. No peeling. Some itchy spots. No hot showers, saunas, crazy workouts or hot tubs. The heat will irritate your skin. The VI Peel towelettes are important to use within the first 48 hours. You are sent home with 3 towelettes and instructions.

Peeling started around the mouth. You are sent home with a VI Derm Cleaner, a VI Derm Post Peel Protectant, and SPF. The step-by-step guide is easy to follow. The hardest part was not peeling away the dead skin.

Peeling started around the mouth. You are sent home with a VI Derm Cleaner, a VI Derm Post Peel Protectant, and SPF. The step-by-step guide is easy to follow. The hardest part was not peeling away the dead skin.

Peeling has spread to cheeks and forehead.

Peeling has spread to cheeks and forehead.

Red and dry where I peeled the skin early.

Red and dry where I peeled the skin early.

More redness. Just remember to moisturize.

More redness. Just remember to moisturize.

Happy with the results. All my skin has peeled. I found that my pores were minimized and the peel helped to erase fine lines and wrinkles. VI Peel definitely helped lighten my pigmentation.

Happy with the results. All my skin has peeled. I found that my pores were minimized and the peel helped to erase fine lines and wrinkles. VI Peel definitely helped lighten my pigmentation.

Overall I’m happy with the results. A VI Peel goes for $350 a session. They do recommend three to four peels a year for the best results. There are other ways to prolong the results like regular superficial peels, microneedling, IPL, and facials. I would suggest getting the peel done in the winter months. November and February tend to work for me. The hardest part of the VI Peel? Being socially active while you are peeling. Make sure you do the VI Peel on a weekend when you have nothing lined up on your calendar.

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