If you have melasma, you know the familiar brown patches that crop up on your skin and the feelings that go with them. What isn’t focussed on as much as it should be is how you feel about those brown patches, and how they affect your life every day.
Melasma can cause deep embarrassment, anxiety and depression. When it starts and treatment is sought, you might think there is a cure for your skin problem, but you soon find out that there isn’t, and that many more people are suffering like you. There are a lot of emotions tied up in our appearance, so having visible melasma pigmentation can put a real damper on your self-esteem and confidence.
Emotional issues people suffering melasma may experience include feeling unable to face the world – the ground becomes very interesting indeed – and avoidance of social occasions or going out. You avoid photos, meetings, parties. Eventually this can make life very small and unhappy indeed.
Usually the first things you’ll try are the home remedies: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide. You buy new, better-coverage make-up. Then comes the dermatologist visits, with hydroquinone cream, laser treatments, microdermabrasion. You consider face tattoos.
The issue with melasma is that it doesn’t matter how many melasma patches you have, as even one can result in the same emotional state as multiples.
A study looked at exactly how melasma affects quality of life in a group of Asian women with melasma, using a new index to monitor the impact. This index was created so that dermatologists could regularly check in with patients to see how they are going emotionally with their melasma, since it can have such a profound effect on us.
Treating melasma – Melbourne clinic
Melasma treatments at our Melbourne clinic vary, and some of you will respond to some treatments but not others. This means trial and error is going to be the way we figure out, together, how to manage your pigmentation issues. Managing your expectations will keep your sanity intact, because often melasma treatment takes some time to work. We stand with you the whole time, providing support for your journey. You don’t have to do melasma alone.
Melasma doesn’t have a cure, but addressing the blemishes with a combination of good makeup, fading techniques and sun protection will help you get to tomorrow in one piece mentally and emotionally while we figure out the rest.
Dealing with the emotional fall-out of melasma
There is a real emotional toll when your face is affected by a skin condition that you feel you have no control over. A tiny patch, or severe melasma, can be debilitating, so figuring out a way – fast – to manage your feelings is going to be key. You should find support groups online, have a good, ongoing relationship with our Melbourne-based melasma-specialist dermatologist, and both try to find acceptance while also maintaining hope. It’s a big call, but letting melasma dictate how you feel in life can cripple you.
There are some great makeup options now, with second skin-type applications that are matched to your normal skin colour. It’s worth investigating those products so that when you walk out of your house each day, you can feel comfortable in the skin you’re in, even if it’s a second skin!
We have all the melasma treatments you can poke a stick at.
We’ll try them all.