Known as the “mask of pregnancy”, Melasma is a skin condition that manifests in the form of dark, discolored patches on your face. It commonly occurs in pregnant women, hence its nickname, but can affect women and men alike. Ashley Spivey, an Instagram influencer, nanny, book worm and skincare expert in her own right, has been dealing with Melasma for awhile now. So we sat down to chat with her about what she’s discovered, what hasn’t worked and, most importantly, what has:
When did you first start experiencing Melasma?
I first started experiencing Melasma when I switched to the NuvaRing for birth control. I was at the beach and noticed that it looked like I had a very dark skin moustache, LOL. I stopped laughing when I noticed that the hyperpigmentation had spread to my forehead as well. I had no idea what it was. I only heard the name after I went to the dermatologist for cystic acne and he told me I had melasma as well.
What are some of the treatments you’ve tried in the past?
I’ve tried everything! I mixed a combo of retin-a, hydroquinone, and cortisone myself. I’ve used Triluma (which is a mixture of the previous ingredients) but already in a tube which makes it easier to apply. I’ve tried the Obagi Nu Derm system. I’ve tried every skin lightening product you can purchase from Sephora or online. I’ve used Rodan and Fields Reverse program. I’ve tried Clear and Brilliant lasers, a low level Fraxel, microneedling, and chemical peels.
When does your Melasma become the most prominent?
It’s definitely the most prominent in the summer when there is no way to properly protect my face from the sun. As a nanny, I have to be very active in the water during the summer and unfortunately, I can’t always wear a hat in the water. It’s inevitable that it will get worse then. It also gets worse when I drive (the left side of my face is always worse). It’s so frustrating.
Have BeautyRx products had an impact on your Melasma?
Oh my god, yes! For me, I have seen the biggest difference from The Progressive Peel. Exfoliation is key with Melasma. But for me, it’s hard to exfoliate because my skin is so sensitive. It’s weird that no dermatologist ever had me try chemical exfoliation (other than retin-a which my sensitive skin had trouble tolerating). Glycolic peels and glycolic products have increased my cell turnover and my skin is the clearest it has EVER been. Not only is my Melasma currently non-existent, but I also have reduced fine lines and wrinkles. My face is so soft and glowy!
Why is it important to you to share your story with others?
Not enough people talk about their struggle with Melasma, it’s almost taboo to talk about it. I’d like to put an end to that and normalize the discussion. I think more people need to talk about it. We need to pressure more professionals towards finding better products to use that aren’t so toxic. Maybe then we can find a cure (that starts with the root cause) or at least get a better defensive plan other than hats and SPF.
What do you want others dealing with Melasma to know? Any advice?
I want them to know that their struggle is more common than they think and there are a ton of ways to lessen the hyperpigmentation. Find a dermatologist that will come up with a plan to help you reduce your Melasma and not just ones who try to lighten it with hydroquinone. My doctor at Parsley Health also helped me balance my hormones and reduce inflammation, which I swear has decreased my Melasma as well!
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