i started to get melasma in my early 30's. at first it was small patches of brown on my cheeks which weren't even that noticeable when i wore makeup so i wasn't that bothered by them. around the age of 35, i experimented with different kinds of birth control pills and very quickly, saw a dramatic increase in the spread of my melasma. i now had a brown patch over my upper lip and across my forehead in addition to the brown spots i'd had for years on my cheeks (which were now darker). i spent the next few years trying every topical treatment on the market (lotions, gels and creams) to absolutely no avail. i was hesitant to try any laser treatments because of the cost and because the results could be so vastly different from person to person. finally, i read about triluma. this cream is expensive ($200/tube and not covered by insurance) but it WORKED. within weeks, i could see a dramatic lightening of my brown patches. in fact, the only patches of brown which were still visible (although faint) were on my forehead and cheeks. i went to get a facial and the aesthetician told me about the clarisonic brush which was what she was using to cleanse my face. she said that the brush would remove all traces of dirt and makeup and allow better penetration of any treatment creams. most stores that sell this brush have a good return policy so i thought, if i didn't see a difference, i could just return it. the clarisonic brush is expensive, i think mine cost about $150 but what a difference i saw! within a month the stubborn spots on my cheeks and forehead were almost completely faded. i can go out in public without makeup! and i'm no longer embarrassed when my boyfriend sees me fresh out of the shower or in the morning when i've just woken up. i'm 42 years old now and constantly get compliments on my skin. i can't tell you what a difference these 2 products have made in my life!
now some things i learned along the way thru trial and error:
melasma is a condition which once you have it, the rest of your life will be spent controlling it. it never really goes away. there were times when i thought i'd removed it completely and then i went out into the sun and it came right back and then you'd have to start the treatment process all over again. now, i never leave my house without wearing sunblock (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide only), mineral face powder w/sunblock in it and a hat. even when i'm in my house, i wear sunblock and i never sit next to an open window. i never lay in the sun anymore. if i have to be in the sun, i'm the girl covered in sunblock, wearing a huge hat, sitting underneath an umbrella which is under shade. it seems like a lot and what i would do to be able to sit carefree in the sun again but i just don't. i hate that i sound so vain but really, it's about holding on to my self confidence and self esteem. there were a few years when i couldn't look anyone in the eye because of how badly i felt about myself and the condition of my skin.
even with all that i do, my melasma still reappears every few months (although much lighter) so i just get another prescription for my triluma and away it goes again. i live in california so it is definitely a challenge to try to stay out of the sun all the time so i just make sure i stay PROTECTED from the sun. all of this combined has made a huge difference for me. i did TONS of online research and spent a LOT of money on doctor visits and treatments trying to figure out how to get rid of my melasma. i hope that someone out there reading this will be helped by my experience.