Expert Advice from Esthetician Alexcia Brown: Understanding and Treating Melasma

Are you dealing with melasma?

If you’re not already aware, melasma is a common skin condition many with skin of color are affected by.  Because it’s so common, we wanted to get more insight about it and connected with Alexcia Brown from Oxnard, California, a seasoned esthetician with a wealth of knowledge and expertise on melasma.


We’ll explore Alexcia’s skincare approach when working with clients who have melasma, the recommended ingredients, and the importance of a diligent homecare routine.  We’ll also discuss the impact of sun exposure on melasma and how clients can protect their skin effectively.



So, let’s dive in and discover the key insights that Alexcia has to offer.


What is melasma?


Melasma is a skin condition that causes patches and spots, usually on the face, which are darker than your natural skin tone. Some factors may include genetic influences, stress, thyroid disease ultraviolet (UV) radiation, pregnancy, hormonal therapies, cosmetics, phototoxic drugs, and antiseizure medications. Melasma stimulates melanocytes producing more melanin pigments when the skin is exposed to the sun.


What is your skincare approach to clients dealing with melasma?


For those working on melasma, my approach depends on the client and their different contraindications, for example medications, the cause of their melasma and treatment availability. For some POC, the use of topical creams or serums can clear up their skin, for others, a combination of treatments such as chemical peels or laser, in addition to adding topicals are needed to combat more complex cases of melasma. The most important tool when dealing with melasma, especially with POC, is the use of SUNSCREEN DAILY!


Are there ingredients you recommend and others clients should avoid?


A key ingredient used to treat melasma is hydroquinone.  Other topical agents used alone or, more commonly, in combination have included: Azelaic acid, Kojic acid, Cysteamine cream, Ascorbic acid, and Mandelic acid. Hydroquinone is also an ingredient, but if not properly used, can lead to hypopigmentation. It’s very important as an esthetician to understand the effects of ingredients, but also articulate when to use specific ingredients and how to apply them so your clients can achieve the results they desire.


How do you guide clients on their homecare routine when dealing with melasma? Does the sun affect melasma too? How can clients protect their skin if dealing with this condition?


A client’s homecare depends on their environmental factors, the frequency of their treatments and the types of treatments used. Sun exposure is one of biggest factors because ultraviolet and visible light promote melanin production. I make it important that medications and scented products such as perfumed soaps, toiletries, and cosmetics may cause a phototoxic reaction to trigger melasma. Clients can protect their skin by applying sunscreen daily! Not just any sunscreen though. Chemical sunscreen does not protect against melasma and, in fact, can actually worsen melasma because it requires the sun’s rays to be absorbed into the skin first before chemically converting them into heat and releasing them. Mineral sunscreen is necessary to stop melasma because a physical SPF (meaning it contains zinc or titanium dioxide) effectively “blocks” the sun’s rays, bouncing them off your skin rather than absorbing them like a chemical formula.


So, if you’re dealing with melasma, you can be assured that you’re not alone.  It’s a common skin condition that many of us with skin of color deal with.  Your esthetician can help with a personalized approach that takes into account your specific circumstances.


By following a diligent homecare routine and taking proactive measures to protect your skin from the sun, you can effectively manage melasma and work towards achieving the results you desire.




Author: Tiffany

Tiffany is a licensed esthetician and the Founder of SpaSho.

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