Introduction Melasma Mustache
Having an evenly toned, flawless complexion is a common desire for many. However, certain skin conditions like melasma can lead to stubborn dark patches and uneven pigmentation that may affect one’s self-confidence. Melasma is a frequent cosmetic concern that causes brown to grayish facial discoloration, often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” as it is commonly triggered by hormonal changes.
One specific type of facial melasma is known as the “melasma mustache” or “chloasma mustache”, where hyperpigmentation appears as a dark shadow resembling a mustache above the upper lip area. While it poses no health risks, this uneven pigmentation can impact an individual’s self-esteem. Understanding what causes melasma mustache and exploring proven treatment options can help manage this condition effectively.
What Causes Melasma Mustache?
Melasma occurs due to a localized overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin, hair and iris. Melanin is produced by melanocyte cells in the
epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. An accumulation of melanin results in darker skin patches.
Several factors can trigger increased melanin production in the mustache area, including:
- Hormonal changes – Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy, while taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy, and during perimenopause can stimulate melanocyte activity. This is why melasma is commonly referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”.
- Sun exposure – Ultraviolet radiation induces melanin production and can worsen melasma. The upper lip area is often exposed to the sun.
- Genetics – Individuals with a family history of melasma are more susceptible. Racial background also plays a role, with higher prevalence among Hispanics, Asians and those with darker skin tones.
- Skin irritation – Harsh chemicals, lasers or medications that irritate facial skin may trigger melasma patches.
- Cosmetics – Certain cosmetic ingredients, like fragrance, can stimulate melanocytes in those prone to melasma.
Who Is At Risk For Developing Melasma Mustache?
There are certain factors that place an individual at higher risk for developing melasma mustache:
- Women – More prone due to hormone fluctuations during reproductive years. Oral contraceptives also increase susceptibility.
- Middle age – Most common between ages 20 and 50 when hormone levels are in flux.
- Genetic predisposition – Family history of melasma increases risks.
- Ethnicity – Hispanic, Asian and African descent individuals are at higher risk.
- Sun exposure habits – Those who spend considerable time outdoors without adequate sun protection are more susceptible.
- Stress – Stress hormones may influence pigment production.
- Thyroid disorders – An over- or underactive thyroid gland can trigger melasma.
Simple Ways To Prevent Melasma Mustache
While melasma can be challenging to prevent entirely, these simple measures can help reduce your risks:
- Diligent sunscreen use – Apply broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily, even when indoors. Reapply every two hours when outdoors.
- Seek shade – Limit direct sun exposure during peak hours between 10 am to 2pm.
- Wear sun protective hats and clothing – Wide brim hats and tightly woven fabrics help block UV radiation.
- Choose gentle skincare – Avoid irritating ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids.
- Balance hormones – Speak to your doctor about hormone balancing alternatives if contraceptives trigger melasma.
- Stress management – Try yoga, meditation and other relaxing activities to lower stress hormone levels.
- Supplements – Antioxidants like vitamin C, E, zinc oxide and selenium may help inhibit melanin production.
Top Treatment Options For Melasma Mustache
Over-the-counter and prescription fading creams containing hydroquinone, tretinoin, corticosteroids, kojic acid or azelaic acid can help gradually lighten melasma patches when applied regularly. Creams take time to work and must be used consistently. Always apply sunscreen over fading creams during the daytime.
Light chemical peels containing alpha hydroxy acids or trichloroacetic acid can improve skin texture, exfoliate pigmented skin cells and promote new skin growth. Multiple sessions are usually required for
desired results. Avoid sun exposure while undergoing peels.
This non-invasive procedure uses a handheld device to gently exfoliate the outer skin layers. Regular microdermabrasion removes pigmented lesions, evens out skin tone and stimulates collagen production for brighter, rejuvenated skin.
Lasers like Q-switched ruby and alexandrite lasers specifically target melanin clusters, break them up and eliminate pigmentation. Low fluences work better for melasma. Avoid sun exposure before and after each laser session.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL employs multiple wavelengths of light to target melanin and reduce facial pigmentation. It also stimulates collagen renewal. Requires multiple treatments for best outcome. Sunscreen is a must post-treatment.
Some proven natural alternatives include aloe vera gel, lemon juice, vitamin C, licorice, bearberry extract, soy, mulberry extract and niacinamide. Ensure natural ingredients will not irritate your skin before using.
Makeup And Concealers
While most makeup should be avoided until melasma clears, color correctors with green undertones can temporarily neutralize and conceal dark patches. Ask your dermatologist for suitable options.
For optimal results, your dermatologist may recommend combining therapies like fading creams, chemical peels and IPL based on your skin type and melasma severity. Patience is key as treatments take time. Avoiding triggers and practicing vigilant sun protection are vital to maintain results long-term. With a customized treatment plan and consistent care, the melasma mustache can be effectively managed for clear, evenly toned skin.