Melasma is a skin condition that commonly occurs after sun exposure and during pregnancy in women. In pregnant women, fluctuating hormone levels usually cause pigmented skin patches. This is sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy. Melasma can also be a sign of poor liver health and inadequate nutrition in some cases. This skin problem, which can be difficult to treat, causes brown to gray patches on the forearms, neck, forehead, cheeks, chin, above the upper lip or on the bridge of the nose. Melasma is more common in women and may persist even after pregnancy. Like other skin conditions, treatment for melasma includes both external creams and skin protection and internal balancing of hormones and nutrition. Consult your doctor or dermatologist before treating your melasma.
Consult your doctor or dermatologist about your melasma. Your doctor may order a blood test to check for nutritional deficiencies and poor liver function that may be causing this condition. Melasma may also be a side effect of a medication you are taking. Ask your doctor to confirm this.
Eat foods high in folate. A folate or folic acid deficiency may lead to melasma. Low levels of this B vitamin can occur in women who are pregnant, on birth control or have an inadequate diet. Foods high in folate include citrus fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Your doctor may also recommend taking a folic acid supplement.
Balance the levels of the mineral copper in your diet. High levels of this mineral may be indicated in melasma. Copper promotes melanin production in the skin and high levels can cause excess pigmentation. If you are taking a multi-vitamin that has copper in it, do not take this mineral separately. Do not take more than the recommended daily amount of 900 mcg of copper for adults, 1,000 mcg for pregnant women and 1,300 mcg for breastfeeding mothers. To reduce excess copper levels, eat foods that are high in vitamin C and iron or take supplements of these nutrients.
Eat foods that contain vitamin C and E. These antioxidant nutrients help repair sun damage to the skin that can cause melasma. These vitamins are found in foods such as citrus fruits, kiwis, nuts, almonds, brightly colored vegetables and in fish.
Add more raw fruits and vegetables to get sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Avoid processed and packaged foods that contain preservatives and artificial chemicals. Allergic reactions and food sensitivities may also cause skin inflammation that can lead to pigmented patches. See your doctor for a diagnosis of your melasma before self-treating.
Skin protection against harmful UV rays is important to prevent melasma, skin damage and skin cancers. If you notice melasma anywhere on your body, it is important to have it checked by your primary care physician or dermatologist.
Do not take excess nutrient supplements as they can cause adverse side effects. Do not stop taking prescription medication without the guidance of your doctor.