How to Beat a ‘Melasma Mustache’ Like a Dermatologist All Year Long

When temperatures rises throughout hotter months, it may be more and more tough to take care of a melasma mustache. While packing on the inspiration and concealer may be a easy fast repair, consultants says it takes time, persistence and consistency to say goodbye to the darkish, hard-to-miss shadow above the higher lip. 

What Triggers Melasma

According to Bloomingfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, melasma is attributable to a mixture of hormones and genetics and is triggered by daylight. “The challenge is that melasma is a complex, multifactorial condition and there may be underlying factors that we have yet to elucidate and understand. Underlying the pigmentation is a fine vascular network that may in fact ‘feed’ and support the pigment network and may have a more significant role than we know.”

“Genetics alone can cause an increase of melanin production, but it can also be caused by pregnancy, sun exposure, hormone fluctuations, and certain medications including oral contraceptives or photosensitizing medications,” provides Chico, CA dermatologist Kafele T. Hodari, MD. “This particular set of circumstances results in what is called melasma. It can even result from inflammation and irritation from acne.”

“No matter what the treatment is, adequate amounts of sunscreen must be used at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied every two hours,” says Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman.

“It can be a beast to treat, so hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must to prevent—especially if you are on hormones,” provides Prospect, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD.

Oral + Topical Remedies

Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias says sunscreen and hydroquinone are nonetheless the gold customary for therapy. “Sometimes we also have to have old school Tri-Luma topical cream compounded with 6 or 8 percent hydroquinone and have patients jump-start treatment with that for two months.”

“For a melasma mustache, I recommend beginning treatment with Retin-A co-inventor Dr. Albert Kligman’s original compound which includes hydroquinone, Retin-A and triamcinolone, which is referred to as ‘triple bleaching cream.’ Since melasma mustaches can be difficult to treat, remember that patience is a virtue,” provides Dr. Elias.

“Sunscreen and sun protection,” says New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD. “I also like Heliocare Dietary Supplement ($30) to enhance UV protection or ISDN’s SUNISDIN Softgel Capsules ($50). Also try to avoid birth control or any hormonal therapy. For skin care, I recommend Even Tone Correcting Serum ($140) by Skinbetter Science twice daily and hydroquinone 4 percent on top of it at night, or if you’re pregnant, Glytone Brightening Complex ($74).”

Pral antioxidant dietary supplements just like the fern extract polypodium or a topical milk thistle by-product known as silymarin could also be useful, too. “Since hyperpigmentation is related to UV exposure, whether it is photoaging or melasma, the oral supplement Heliocare ($30) may be useful,” says New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD. “Heliocare’s proprietary ingredient is an antioxidant derived from the Polypodium leucotomos fern that’s been shown in clinical studies to reduce the inflammation and free radical formation specifically caused by ultraviolet exposure. It is not a substitute for sunscreen and sun protective hats and clothing. It is an additional way to protect at-risk skin.”

Dr. Honet says Cyspera, a topical cream, can be efficient for many who need to deal with the problem from dwelling. “Cyspera touts an amino acid analog, cysteamine, for short-contact therapy to treat pigment and melasma,” she provides.

In-Office Treatments

As far as zapping the melasma with a laser, that half is hard. The dermatologists we spoke to all stated chemical peels are the go-to in-office therapy, however sure lasers also can assist decrease or remove the mustache. But many lasers could make melasma worse, so it’s essential to go to a board-certified physician who can information you to the suitable process. “I like to do chemical peels, like the VI peel, and alternate with the PicoWay laser,” says Dr. Day.

“Excellent results can be seen for melasma by combining a thulium laser, like Fraxel or Permea, and a Pico laser like the PICO Genesis FX,” provides Dr. Elias.

Dr. Haberman notes that a laser therapy will not be the primary choice he would select for therapy and advises sticking to topical options. “I would avoid Fraxel, Permea and Pico laser as early treatments and be very patient while treating this problem,” he advises. “If after at least 60 days the response to treatment is poor, I would perhaps change to a double bleaching preparation containing 1 percent kojic and azelaic acids, which can also be compounded with 5 percent niacinamide.”

The Bottom Line

No matter the therapy method, there are viable choices on the market to appropriate melasma. If there’s one factor all the skin-care consultants we spoke to confused, it was that melasma is extraordinarily onerous to beat with out consistency and dedication to a therapy plan and a dedication to avoiding the solar. 

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