The short answer is, simply, yes.

The long answer is: Are you willing to change your definition of “flawless”?

Living with Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition that disproportionately affects women, with only one in ten melasma sufferers being male.

Causing gray or brown patches, melasma typically affects the face and can most commonly be found on the forehead, chin, above the upper lip, bridge of the nose, and the cheeks.

People with darker skin tones are more likely to be affected by melasma, especially women of Mediterranean, Asian, African-American, Latin/Hispanic, Indian, North African, or Middle Eastern descent. Genetics also plays a part, with people with a blood relative with melasma more likely to contract it.

With Melasma, The Sun Is Not Your Friend

Many melasma sufferers complain that their condition worsens in the summer, and it turns out there’s a very good reason for that. Ultraviolet light stimulates the melanocytes, making the appearance of melasma significantly more noticeable.

Since sun exposure can worsen a current bout of melasma and even make faded melasma return, your best chance of reducing the signs of melasma is to be vigilant about sun protection. Wear a good quality sunscreen and reapply it liberally every two hours when outdoors. In addition, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Rethink Your Hormone Medication

Melasma often first occurs during pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy-related melasma is so common that it is sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.”

As it turns out, it is a woman’s changing hormones during pregnancy that can spark an outbreak, which explains why the skin condition can also be triggered by hormone medications, including hormone replacement therapy and birth control treatments.

Before trialling other melasma treatments, see if your melasma resolves when your hormones return to normal: either by waiting until after the birth of your baby, or by trying a different type of hormone replacement treatment or birth control.

Be Vigilant About Your Choice of Skin Care Products

Any kind of skin irritation can worsen the appearance of melasma, so avoid any skin care products that burn, sting, or otherwise irritate your skin. Changing skin care products won’t resolve your underlying melasma, but it can prevent the condition worsening.

Consider Other Types of Hair Removal Than Waxing

The same argument applies to hair removal. Waxing is likely to irritate the already-sensitive skin of a melasma sufferer, so if you normally remove hair from an area of your body now affected by the skin condition, such as above the upper lip, consider trying a different hair removal method.

Try Topical Treatments

Topical treatments can be an excellent way of treating the appearance of melasma. As a start, apply a vitamin-C based serum to your skin daily. Provided it does not cause any skin irritations, a vitamin-C serum will provide dual benefits: acting as a skin lightener, and providing an extra level of protection against the sun’s rays.

If you’re looking for something a little stronger than a vitamin-C serum, you’ll need to make an appointment with a dermatologist. A common initial dermatological treatment for melasma is a topic treatment containing hydroquinone, a well-known skin lightener.

Your dermatologist may also prescribe a corticosteroid or a tretinoin as an additional treatment, both of which enhance the skin lightening efforts. So-called “triple creams” are also available, which conveniently combine hydroquinone, corticosteroid, and tretinoin into a since product.

Digging Deeper Into ‘Makeup Culture’

We’ve discussed basic treatments for melasma, but the initial question was whether a person with melasma can achieve a flawless no-makeup look.

Before answering this question, let’s ask a related one: can anyone achieve a flawless no-makeup look? Of course, the answer is subjective. What is the definition of “flawless”? By whose definition should the standard be applied? If an onlooker thinks that someone looks flawless without makeup, but the wearer themselves is unhappy with their makeup-free appearance, who is right?

If the question is: Can a person with melasma reduce the appearance of the skin condition, the answer is an objective yes.

But as to whether a person – regardless of whether they have melasma or not – can achieve a “flawless” no-makeup look: that depends. But it doesn’t depend on the opinions of others: it depends on your opinion of yourself.

Hannah McCann from Binary This used makeup to even her skin tone after being told that her brown patches of skin were due to melasma. Describing herself as someone who “used to wear smokey eyes at breakfast” to a “blankly pale-faced person” with “vampirically pale skin,” Hannah said that she came to the realization that “faces are subject to habit.”

She used to be so reliant on makeup that, even if she stayed home for the day, she would still wear foundation. After staying away from makeup to allow her melasma to heal, Hannah noticed people starting to comment on how good her “skin looked, how bright, how clear.”

Kirbie Johnson from PopSugar, who has been diagnosed with melasma, says that she relied on makeup to such an extent that it became a “crutch,” and that she would feel “ugly without it.”

She decided to stop criticizing her flaws after admitting her herself that everyone has them, and that, rather than comparing herself to “real” people, she was unwittingly comparing herself to people using “perfect Instagram filters” and “copious amounts of Photoshop.”

Her advice is simple: “Time to change our perspective, ladies and gentlemen. You are so much more than your complexion. Don’t use your makeup as a sword or armor to hide behind; use it to enhance your own beauty.”

Can you take this advice on for yourself? If you can, then you can bust out the natural makeup removal wipes and achieve a “flawless” no-makeup look, regardless of whether you are dealing with melasma or not. Because it all comes down to self-confidence.

Do you deal with melasma? Do you have any experience with going makeup-free? Please comment below, and don’t forget to share this article.