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Melasma from birth control pills

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by ttc, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. ttc

    ttc Guest

    I didn't really know where to stick this post...But has anyone experienced this (aka pregnancy mask, dark facial pigmentation) while on BC? I have recently noticed it getting bad on my forehead, between the eyes and going up. I've been on a higher estrogen pill 2 months and that's when I noticed it. Will it go away if I stop taking the pill? I'm already careful about sun exposure and use a spf 30 on my face under my spf15 makeup. As if crappy looking hair and diminishing lashes and brows weren't bad enough...now this :(
  2. Blue Bird

    Blue Bird Guest


    I am getting this but they are more like freckles and I am NEVER in the sun!
    I wonder why our lashes are shedding :(
  3. GoodYear

    GoodYear Guest

    Hi ttc,
    Yes I have it too. It seems to be pretty common in a lot of BCP's. I had it also from my former BCP (even more). It goes away not being in the sun. Well, living in Nothern Europe that is easy said and done, but you live in Florida isnt it?
    But a good sunblocker helps too. I put on sunblocker almost every day when the springs starts to have it a bit diminished. When stopping the pill; yes it goes away. It is a side effect of the estrogens.
    The melasma will be most seen right above the upperlip (a line), the eyebrows and the cheeks.

    Did you know that I thought for 1,5 years that the sun was more dangerous then ever and we should do something about our climate etc, because I thought my pigmented spots on my face were from the sun being more dangerous every year???!! Then I read my leaflet of the BCP for something else and then I saw it. Looking at Wikipedia it described exactly what I had.
  4. GoodYear

    GoodYear Guest

    I forgot to tell that in winter my melasma is gone. So, no sun for a longer time: no melasma. So, then the melasma should get away when not taking the BCP pill.
  5. ttc

    ttc Guest

    Thanks Goodyear. I've had those smaller dark spots on my cheekbones below my eyes and above my eyebrows, but this patch on my forehead is really big and new. Staying out of the sun is nearly impossible where I live. And I've always been one who tans easily and like myself better with a tan, but I'd rather be pale than have a blotchy face. I'm just wondering if it'd be worth it to use some kind of topical fading creme...I have one from a derm but haven't used it yet because he said stay out of the sun or it'll get worse.

    My inlaws leave tomorrow evening...it'll be good and sad at the same time. I only see them once a year and have known them since my husband and I started dating in high school. They feel kind of like my own parents. I hate goodbyes!
  6. GoodYear

    GoodYear Guest

    Hi TTC,
    I would certainly not mess with fading creams. When something goes wrong with it..brr..I think a good sunblocker is the best option you have. I dont mind the melasma too much. I have accepted it as a side effect. I also tan very easily. Maybe that's also the skin type that has melasma. Who knows.

    Well, goodbyes are hard indeed. Especially when you know you are not going to see them soon again. Good luck at that part!
  7. ttc

    ttc Guest

    I thought this might be helpful. The cream I was given has kojic acid. Haven't really used it yet but I may.

    How is it treated?
    While there is no cure for melasma, many treatments have been developed. Melasma may disappear after pregnancy, it may remain for many years, or a lifetime.

    Sunscreens are essential in the treatment of melasma. They should be broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. A SPF 30 or higher should be selected. In addition, physical sunblock lotions and creams such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, may be used to block ultraviolet radiation and visible light. Sunscreens should be worn daily, whether or not it is sunny outside, or if you are outdoors or indoors. A significant amount of ultraviolet rays is received while walking down the street, driving in cars, and sitting next to windows.

    Any facial cleansers, creams, or make-up which irritates the skin should be stopped, as this may worsen the melasma. If melasma develops after starting birth control pills, it may improve after discontinuing them. Melasma can be treatedwith bleaching creams while continuing the birth control pills.

    A variety of bleaching creams are available for the treatment of melasma. These creams do not "bleach" the skin by destroying the melanocytes, but rather, decrease the activity of these pigment-producing cells. Over-the-counter creams contain low concentrations of hydroquinone, the most commonly-used depigmenting agent. This is often effective for mild forms of melasma when used twice daily. A dermatologist may prescribe creams with higher concentrations of hydroquinone. Normally, it takes about three months to substantially improve melasma. Creams containing tretinoin, steroids, and glycolic acid are available in combination with hydroquinone to enhance the depigmenting effect. Other medications which have been found to help melasma are azelaic acid and kojic acid. It is important to follow the directions of your dermatologist carefully in order to get the maximum benefit from your treatment regimen and to avoid irritation and other side effects. Remember, a sunscreen should be applied daily in addition to the bleaching cream. Some bleaching creams are combined with a sunscreen.

    Melasma on bridge of nose

    Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser surgery may help melasma, but results have not been consistent. These procedures have the potential of causing irritation, which can sometimes worsen melasma. Generally, they should only be used by a dermatologist in conjunction with a proper regimen of bleaching creams and prescription creams tailored to your skin type. People should be cautioned against non-physicians claiming to treat melasma without supervision because complications can occur.

    Management of melasma requires a comprehensive and professional approach by your dermatologist. Avoidance of sun and irritants, use of sunscreens, application of depigmenting agents, and close supervision by your dermatologist can lead to a successful outcome.

    To learn more about mature skin, call toll free (888) 462-DERM (3376) to find a dermatologist in your area.

    AAD Web site: http://www.aad.org
    Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology
    National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides
    © 2006 American Academy of Dermatology
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    Copyright © American Academy of Dermatology

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