Birth Control and Hyperpigmentation
Hyper-pigmentation is one of the most asked about concerns for our clients. although we have been discussing how sun exposure can affect the production of Melanin production, we have yet to talk about another possible contributor; your birth control.
Hormones and Pigmentation: A Connection
Most of us don't know it to be a possibility, but there is a certain form of hyper-pigmentation associated with Pregnancy. Typically known as Melasma. The condition results from the fluctuating hormonal changes a moM experiences with carrying a new baby.
Dubbed the "Pregnancy Mask" because a woman usually sees a developed "blanket" of darkened pigment around cheeks, sides of the mouth, upper lip or possibly forehead. Interestingly enough, these areas also correlate to areas in Traditional Chinese Medicine face mapping all relating to the digestive system....hmmm... food for thought, but i digress.
Not to raise to high an alarm, The pigmentation does not indicate any serious illness or disease, But none the less, it can be a pesky, unwanted condition to deal with.
SO how does this connect to Birth Control?
Well, in the most simple terms, the same fluctuation in hormones a mother experiences during pregnancy applies to influx of additional hormones coming from your daily Birth Control Dose.
These changes can also affect hair density, some people experience thinning, as well as mood swings and wieght gain do to the body trying to figure out what to do with all this new estrogen.
Although the side effects vary from person to person, these are all factors to consider when selecting your particular Pill.
It is also good for your Skin Therapist to know that you are taking birth control, so that the appropriate diagnosis and treatments can be made.
to the right we have a photo of melasma as seen under a device commonly used in skin analysis known as a Wood's Lamp.
If you are getting regular facial treatments, and this has never been part of your experience, ask you therapist to do so in your next skin analysis.
This tool allows not only for a therapist to see surface pigmentation, such as the image on the right, but it also allows for them to see pigmentation lower down.
In the image on the right, we can clearly see the outline of the melasma visible to the naked eye. However, if you look closely you can also see some lighter spots towards the top of the brows, not so visibly apparent to the naked eye.
these spots will come to the surface gradually, so it is important that the client use as much sun-protection as possible and exfoliate with the guide of her therapist to safely lift the pigmented layers.
What can be done?
Well, for starters, speak to your prescribing physician about switching to a lower dose of hormonal pills. this often will help the issue for continuing to develop.
Day to day, track your skin tone, note any odd changes by keeping a journal and reporting your observations to you doctor.
Sun protection is key. We can't avoid sun exposure, but protect yourself with a daily application of a broad spectrum SPF of 30 if not 50. Re-apply every 2 hours when in the sun for prolonged periods. Wear protective clothing whenever possible.
Within your skin treatments, your therapist can build a series of deep exfoliation treatments to get the pigmented layers of skin to lift safely. there are options for Micro-dermabrasion treatments for mild scenarios, and chemical peels for deeper instances. Never undergo a peeel series at home, always do so under the care of a professional. Trust me, I've had new clients because of a chemical peel off amazon gone bad. no bueno.
above we have some photos of before and after successful peel series.....
When at home....
At home, make sure your are keeping your routine simple and follow the advice of your therapist to make sure you are maintaining your results as best you can.
Let us know if you have had any experiences with pigmentation and Birth Control.
reach out to us with any questions!
- xoxo Skin.