Ginger Zee Shares Her Battle with Melasma and How She Got Rid of It

Aesthetics Hub | 14 May 2018

ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee (you also know her from season 22 of Dancing with the Stars) has been open with her fans about her pregnancy journey and everything that came after it since she revealed her baby bump on Good Morning America (GMA) back in 2015. One of the struggles she's experienced postpartum? Melasma, a stubborn type of skin discolouration that affects more than 5 million women in the U.S. alone. 

Credit: Instagram @ginger_zee

The most common causes of the blotchy-skin condition include hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy (it's often referred to by doctors and experts as the "pregnancy mask" and can affect up to 70 percent of pregnant women) and birth control. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it causes brown to grey-brown patches on the face, and most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the forearms and neck.

Today, Zee was featured in a skin care segment on GMA, where she discussed her battle with melasma, how it affected her self-confidence and how she treated it with the help of New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. 

 

 

"My son, Adrian, just turned 1. He's the best thing that has ever happened to me. That said, this kid changed my body, mind and skin forever," said Zee. "The day I looked in the mirror and saw a mask over my face, that was the day I said, enough is enough. My skin was brown in patches and bright white in others. It looked much different than it had before I had the baby. One day I saw that Dr. Whitney Bowe was on our show and I got her contact from producers and made an appointment. In doing research about the skin disorder I thought I had, I found many links leading me to laser treatment. But that scared me. Dr. Bowe took me in and was so gentle with her description. I have melasma. A discolouration of the skin thanks to a shift in hormones. Many times women get it during or after pregnancy, but any hormonal shift, including birth control pills, can bring it on."

The treatment Zee was recommended was not a laser-like she was expecting, but rather a series of four chemical peels that were gently applied to her skin by Dr. Bowe. "I was so nervous that my skin would fall off in sheets and it would burn. Instead, the peel took 30 seconds to apply and barely tingled," she said. And surprisingly (despite what web searches may advise), according to Dr. Bowe, the heat and light from lasers can actually make melasma worse. Another melasma no-no: using lemon juice on your face (another common "remedy" for melasma on web searches). "Citrus fruits can irritate the skin and make melasma much worse," says Dr. Bowe.

Dr. Bowe also sent Zee home with "strict instructions to wear SPF always" and a SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum that she could mix into her sunscreen (SPF 60+) and wear on a daily basis. "She also made me a special melasma emulsion to use every other night," said Zee.

One of the most important things to note when treating melasma is that it takes time to see results and nothing happens overnight—it took Zee roughly six months to see a more even skin tone. If you can't afford or don't have time to visit a dermatologist for in-office treatments, look for at-home creams, lotions and serums that contain skin-brightening ingredients like kojic acid, vitamin C, liquorice and soy. Also, remember to wear a hat when you're going to be in the sun and reapply SPF every two hours when you're outside (even if it's cloudy). 

"I kept dreaming of a day I could go makeup-less like Alicia Keys, and while I'll never have her flawless complexion and gorgeous skin colour, I think I look pretty darn good after Dr. Bowe's help," said Zee.

 
 
By Brittany Burhop Fallon
 
This article first appeared in New Beauty.
 
Our Panel of Doctor's Services
DR Celine Leong, Astique Clinic
Acne Treatment Programme, $349
PPx Pore-Cleansing ACNE Treatment™ (PPX) is an advanced technology that combines a gentle vacuum with therapeutic broadband light, to help rid skin of acne-causing impurities, leaving your skin cleaner and clearer. It is combined with laser treatments, chemical peels and blue LED light treatment to bring about more effective results and healthier, clearer, more youthful-looking skin.
Pigment Laser, $350
At ASTIQUE, we use the Medlite from HOYA ConBio®, the latest in Q-switched laser technology. The Medlite has been studied in many clinical trials and is approved by the FDA for the successful treatment of pigmentation disorders.
Pore Toning Laser, $350
The Cooltouch CT3 plus laser is the “gold standard” non-ablative laser for wrinkle and stretch mark reduction as well as acne and acne scar treatment, and is suitable for all who are seeking a non-invasive anti-aging treatment to improve their skin and appearance.
350 Orchard Road, #08-00 Shaw House, Singapore 238868
Dr. Dylan Chau, Celevenus Aesthetic & Wellness Clinic
Revlite, $350 for 1 session
Revlite laser is ideal for the treatment of skin pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, aging skin, enlarged pores (as pore minimizer), and sun damage, and is effective to rejuvenate and refresh skin in the treatment area, firming skin and minimizing pores while offering a smoother texture and more even tone overall.
Sciton BBL, $350 for 1 session
Sciton Broadband Light (BBL) is an innovative non-invasive skin treatment that uses light energy at various wavelengths to correct a broad range of skin conditions associated with aging, active life-styles, and sun damage.
Revlite & BBL, $500 for 1 session
Perfect combination for skin rejuvenation, the Revlite system is designed to remove signs of aging and sun damage such as brown age spot and freckles while BBL Photofacial treatment is an effective procedure for age spot removal, as well as balancing uneven pigmentation and reducing the appearance of freckles.
391B Orchard Road #16-03/04 Ngee Ann City Tower B, Singapore 238874
Dr Ivan Tan, Nu.Reflections Medical Aesthetics
Pigment Laser, from $250 onwards
This highly versatile treatment is used to treat a variety of pigmentary disorders such as freckles and sun spots, melasma and aged spots. This treatment can also help on enlarged pores and gives the skin an overall rejuvenated appearance.
Mosaic Resurfacing Laser, from $600 onwards
Mosaic Resurfacing Laser is one of the most effective treatments for skin resurfacing, to treat wrinkles and fine lines, photo damaged skin and acne scars.
123 Penang Road, Office tower #05-12 Regency House (next to old Cockpit Hotel), Singapore 238465
Dr. Elias Tam Tak Chuen, EHA Clinic
Pigmentation Laser, from $428 onwards
Laser for skin rejuvenation or pigmentation using Q-Switch - starts at $428 for one session
1 Scotts Road, #15-01 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208