June 30th, 2014Melasma
Tara Pierce H.
Melasma is a skin condition of hyperpigmentation. It is most commonly found in women, in fact 90% of cases belong to us hormone laden females. It is usually associated with estrogen and progesterone levels and can become more severe as these hormones rise and fall in excess, such as during pregnancy (Chloasma; mask of pregnancy), while taking birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy during menopause or following a hysterectomy. Other less common causes are cosmetics, especially those with perfumes, stress, adrenal disorders, and some medications including some antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, and antimalarial drugs. Sun exposure will cause the patches to become darker making them much more noticeable during summer months and seem to fade in the winter months.
Medical treatments include Hydroquinone, Tretinoin, corticosteroids, azelaic acid or kojic acid to lighten the skin, usually found in cream, lotion, gel or liquid form. If the problem is severe and the creams do not give the desired result doctors may recommend a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or dermabrasion. Of course these treatments can have serious side effects causing even more health problems in the long run. Hydroquinone alone has been linked to leukemia, thyroid problems and liver damage.
To treat this condition naturally I would recommend using Dr. Christopher’s Lower Bowel and Liver and Gallbladder formulas to support the liver in processing and eliminating excess estrogen in the body. To help in the removal of excess estrogen I would consume 1-3 Tbls of fresh ground flax and sunflower seeds daily, along with Dr. Christopher’s Hormonal Changese Formula to give the body what it needs to produce the correct levels of needed hormones. The seeds can be added to smoothies, raw cookies, granola bars or sprinkled over your whole grain cereal and salads. If you suspect struggling adrenals, I would also add Dr. Christopher’s Adrenal Formula and a good quality vitamin B supplement.
Externally, I have found that daily, gentle, exfoliation as well as a mask made from organic plain yogurt with fresh lime or lemon juice will lighten the patches effectively. Apply the mask 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes. Additionally I would watch your sun exposure. Avoid the hours between 10 and 2 when the sun’s rays are the harshest, and if you know you are going to be spending a lot of time in the sun this summer, a good natural sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat are essential.
Tara Pierce is a Master Herbalist student at The School of Natural Healing.