Melasma Treatment Before and After Photos

Men get Melasma, too!

Information and Treatments
with Joy-Marie Peterson


Melasma Specialist Since 1992
Licensed Esthetician since 1986 - California and Oregon


About Hyper-Pigmentation

     Treating, repairing and protecting the skin against darkening of the pigment cells has become our main research focus here the past 19 years.  The increase of new clients requesting help with hyper pigmentation discoloration has risen dramatically, overtaking those with Rosacea and Acne, so the demand for effective new products has as well.  Most adults we meet are not using sun screens or protective clothing as needed.  Men unfortunately lead the USA statistics of deadly skin cancer diagnosis.  In 2007, Oregon and Washington were #'s 1 and 2 nationwide for men and women skin cancers reported by doctors.  This, I believe, is because in the Pacific NW there is an incorrect attitude that "it rains all the time".  If you live in a cloudy region and you have this misconception, please read on!  

   As a record number of American women are in various stages of menopause, doctors and  health departments reveal higher interests expressed in learning about natural remedies for the symptoms such as hot flashes and pigmentation changes.   With a cultural history of tanning fads in their lifetime, as well as widespread use of hormone replacement therapies, cortesteriod drugs, recreational drug use, anti-biotics, birth control hormones, anti-anxiety or depression medications, experts see a tremendous number of female patients with pigment disorder symptoms.  In turn, their daughters are following in their footsteps, using these drugs and tanning beds more frequently and at an even earlier age, hence showing symptoms earlier than we have observed before the mid-1990's.   Known as hyper pigmentation, melasma,  chloasma, age spots, liver spots, mask of pregnancy, solar lentigines, freckles, brown patches and xeroderma, photo-damage, actinic or solar keratosis...these individual  conditions are quite different and so are the recovery treatments.  Its 2011 and no fast cure, safe or not, has been found.  Patience and perseverance are needed as well as strict avoidance of tanning.  Attention to nutrition, stress, prescription and "recreational" drugs, allergies, environmental toxin exposure is important.

      Another group of pigment issues is referred to as Post Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation, described in another article - click to go there.

     We have compiled a list of "triggers" for hyper-pigmenting as well as Rosacea and other health concerns that are symptomatic in the skin.  Click here to read the current updates on the list...

    The number one pigment disorder affecting women of child bearing years, world wide, is called Melasma

   The primary function of melanin, the skin cells that form "tan" colors,  is to protect the other types of skin cells from UV light. When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, melanin synthesis is stimulated to form the "tan". Then melanosomes actually cluster, forming a protective cap over the nucleus of the cell.  This is why hyper pigmentation is uneven and grows.  The individual melanocytes in melanin form tendrils or branch like shapes that stretch upwards toward the surface of the skin.  When you are constantly getting unprotected sun exposure (or tanning beds), this is why the intensity and distribution of "tan" changes.  Also, when you are being treated for hyper pigmentation and especially melasma, there is a period of time when you actually look darker "all of a sudden" and then, if you stick to your program, you get your real color back all at once.   Let me clarify this: we have seen this with home care products and with the natural peels and microdermabrasion we do in-office.  Since we do not use chemical peels here any longer, I cannot say that the results are the same.

    There is no quick fix for melasma. A lifetime of precautionary care will be advised because the skin cells retain the memory.  Unless one uses prevention products the discolorations will come back at the first sun or tanning bed exposure.  So, with tyrosinase inhibitors (like our 100% natural Bright  Serum, UV Repair Cream, Glymed's Skin Brightener and Living Cell Clarifier) and broad spectrum sun blocks (all of our sun protection lotions are UVA and UVB specific, you can be preventative. You can view the sunscreens on our info page).  If you have  PIH, you must practice the same diligence.  Regular sessions of microdermabrasion and depigmenting solutions with your aesthetician will speed up the process of normal skin color. Once you feel you have completed your pigment correction program, practice Tyrosinase inhibitors like GABA , L-Arbutin and Kojic Acid based skin creams or serums  every night for a few more weeks to prevent rebound discoloring.  

Typically, an initial program of skin color recovery (that is, back to your natural color) may take 4-6 months of application of these products and careful defense from triggers like UV light.  Clinical studies have shown that a significant number of research patients who kept up their skin care products for up to a year did not see reoccurrence of the same pigmentation coming back to the areas treated.  Don't ever get caught outdoors without your sun block!  Keep gloves, hats and jacket in your car all year for quick protection.  Monthly skin cancer and mole self exams are critical to adults to perform on themselves, especially if you have spent your life in the sun.  Go here to see more information on exams.   Those who enter a pigment normalizing program with us receive extensive information expanding on what we have offered here as well as an esthetician to monitor progress by email, answering questions or advising you along the way to recovery.

    Take extra precautions with your children because over 80% of lifetime sun damage is caused during our youth (up to 18 years of age).  The effects may take up to 20 years from the first sun burn, to start showing up as skin cancer, skin tags, melasma, age spots, wrinkles and lining, broken blood vessels in the skin, loss of skin firmness, poor healing abilities and more.   Children are easily taught how to practice safe sun so begin early.   Remember:  freckles are the body's warning signs of sun damage already taking place in children.

    Alas, even in 2015, I find that most people do not apply sun protection practices to their  daily life - even those who have had skin cancer.  I hear confessions from many adults who only bother with sun screen when on vacation!  And then they don't re-apply it during a day at the beach, golf course, hiking or on the water!   I'm asked constantly if there is a cure for melasma or for rosacea or for sun damage.  The first line of defense is sun protection and that is not being practiced effectively.  So, all the prescription drugs, all the cosmetic skin care products, all the facial peels and cosmetic surgery is literally wasted because one simple step is not taken every day.   When applying sun screen products, DO NOT rub the lotion into the skin like a moisturizer:  it must leave a noticeable film on the surface of the skin to deflect UV light as a means of protecting you!  Our mineral powders and lip balm do have instant sunscreen protection, so be sure to order if you haven't bought them already. 503-310-4649.

   Some have heard that sun protection is causing Vitamin D defeciencies in Americans.  Here's the bottom line on that:  your skin only needs 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun, before 10:00 am and just a small area of skin, like your elbow, to get what the whole body requires in Vitamin D a day.  Your face and neck are not the places you want unprotected!  Gel or Liquid Vitamin D drops in 1000mg dose per drop is superior anyway and pretty inexpensive.  Ask a professional how many drops you need for your weight, age and health issues. Do not risk deadly skin cancer when the alternatives are easy and cheap.   April 5, 2011 - jmp

October 2011:  I just heard that the "torso" is the most effective skin exposure for Vitamin D!  More to follow once I've checked this rumor out! jmp

Sun screen products are not the place to save money in your cosmetic budget - this is health care.  Just be sure to read labels and not purchase any with hazardous ingredients like the parabens group, fragrance/parfum, and others listed at the Environmental Working Group online.

    The latest warning is that mosquito repellant with DEET must not be applied to skin that also has sun screen containing Avobenzone, Oxybenzone or Octinoxate as there is a toxic and deep penetrating chemical response to the mixture.  Especially of concern for children and pregnant women.

Be proactive with your medical professional:  ask for complete mole and sun damage check ups, from scalp to toes.  Once a year after 30 and more frequently after 50 or if you have a history of skin cancers.  If you simply ask for "a mole check up" the chances are you are being booked for a few minutes to look at 1 mole!  Be clear!

I recently attended a "Free Skin Cancer Screening" event at the local medical university.  I was happy to see so many folks lined up for their check up (this event was for "head, neck and shoulders")!  Apparently the media really got the word out!  However, my session was disappointing:  they never asked about history of sun burns or use of sun screens and just told to get checked again in 6-12 months.  No mention to use sunscreen or practice other "safe sun" measures!  America's doctors need to get on the ball - educate the public about this dangerous and so easily preventable disease.

   For those of you used to my 25 years of lectures on sun damage, I'm "pleased" to announce that today's news has finally offered this: "Study indicates that time spent driving may increase risk of skin cancer from the sun... Feb. '07"
   Unfortunately, no mention made of the benefits of using sunscreens as prevention... 

More Sun Protection Information


HyperpigmentationTreatments   Day 1 -  Light Chemical Peel  



After 4 Treatments:  Microdermabrasion/Chemical Peels 

2013 - Using combinations of professional treatments for restoring natural pigmentation, solving acne and melasma issues.  These 2 photos were taken in different lighting, the first indoors at Joie de Vie and the second outside in sunlight.  Stay tuned!  A work in progress.  Thanks to Glymed-Plus Advanced Skin Care for remarkable products to accomplish these results!


Viewing hyper-pigmentation under a special lamp to detect melanin damage from sun exposure and/or melasma:

It takes this special lamp to expose the actual melanin damage this young woman has acumulated!

These women had no idea their skin had accumulated so much sun damage until we put them under a special lamp!In depth consultations are performed using this imaging technology to reveal skin damage hidden from the naked eye!  To the naked eye it seemed they simply have a few "age spots", but the blue light reveals intense discolorations and hyper pigmentation below the surface.   

For your Sun Damage Consultation in Portland, phone 503-349-7807.  This session includes using our amazing technology to view what lies below the surface and is going to cause you much consternation in the near future!  Joy-Marie is going to teach you how it happened, what you can do now to reduce further risks, what tools she has for you to protect yourself and your family from any more damage and how she can help you undo what has occured already!  The Skin Scanner, the Woods Lamp and The Scalar Relex Camera with a special film will all be used for your education and benefit.

1 hour session is $75 including photograph to take home.  This image is my Scalar Camera by Canfield Research!

No secrets here...but I will help you recover from this damage, just as she did!

Facial Melasma:

seen through UV Scanner

Normal view in office lighting

Using new imaging to see the damage below the surface of the skin...think about ice bergs:  what we see is a fraction of the mass below the surface in most cases.  This is why we don't advise our clients to "spot treat" pigment with their products.  Cover the entire face daily for months until all the damaged cells have come to the surface for exfoliation.

Forehead Melasma:

Melasma of the forehead

   Some viewers ask why we don't show many before and after photos.   Our local clients that come for professional skin treatments would not be comfortable having their pictures on the world wide internet!  Our global mail order business makes it impossible to not only gather accurate "after" images, but we can't monitor their progress for true results.  Anecdotally, we can tell by the comments we receive from people all over the world that when they use the programs we outline here, they see results.  Occasionally we do have customers that are not satisfied, regrettably it's just too difficult to consult accurately online and there is no way to know if they followed instructions or did not disclose important details like medications, allergies or illness for us to consider in advising them.  We can't say if they use sun protection daily or eat healthy or remember to use their products regularly.  We believe in the products we sell, the scientists and chemists that developed them because we have seen the results locally with our clientele and use them ourselves.

A simple yet very effective new anti-oxidant routine produced these results in 40 days!  Our client is only wearing lipstick in these


Sun damage is referred to as Oxidative Stress, which can exhibit in dull, dry appearance of skin as well as pigment changes, pre-cancerous lesions, deep lines and wrinkles.  We have many procedures and home care products proven effective over the past 30 years of professional experience at Joie de Vie.  OS is our specialty intervention, which we can help you remedywith Anti-Oxidant Skin Care Therapy, dietary recommendations, sunscreen education, products to use and strict sun protection measures suggested  when you are outdoors, in cars or by large windows during sunny times of day. 

 Call 503-349-7807  for a consultation by phone 

(10am - 6pm Pacific Time Zone)

We follow a naturopathic orientation so we don't prescribe or recommend drugs or diagnose skin disease, but if you have been unsuccessful in finding prescription medical remedies, we offer many organic alternatives on our web site!


     The chemists doing research for the cosmetics brands we sell have created results-oriented formulations that are non-comedogenic and contain state-of-the-art ingredients, including Ceramides, enzymes, Niacinamide, MSM, Glucosamine, GABA,  Resveratrol, Spin Trap, fermented sea kelp,  L-Arbutin, Quercetin, Rucinol, Bearberry Extract, Kojic Acid Dipalmitate, Azelaic Acid, Goji Berry Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Ellagic Acid, minerals, vitamins A, C, E, K and P, naturally occurring Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids, amino acids, anti-oxidants and pharmaceutical grade botanical extracts.

  Skin  Care Program for Melasma

Sun Protection Information

Skin Care Products for PIH

In 2010, 114,900 Americans were diagnosed with Melanoma - the most dangerous/preventative form of skin cancer.  Fatality statistics are not available at this time.  

 This despite all the products on the market for sun protection.


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Joie De Vie

updated 1/2016