Melasma is a chronic hormonal pigmentation disorder which tends to flare-up during the summer due to increased sunlight exposure. It is defined by dark spots and patches which can be brown, grey or even bluish in colour usually on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead and upper lip, basically making it a very obvious problem.
Pigment producing cells, called melanocytes are responsible for producing this discolouration. You can imagine that people with darker skin tones have increased numbers of melanocytes therefore producing more pigment while fair skinned individuals have fewer nevertheless there are more and more people struggling with melasma especially from Middle East, Asia or from Latin countries. It may be due to hormonal changes, accumulation of excessive sun exposure and frequent skin irritation including harsh exfoliation including electric brushes that tend to become more and more popular.
Not surprisingly, men tend to struggle with melasma or other forms of pigmentation. It is well-known that it is more prevalent in women, especially those struggling with hormonal imbalances or pregnant women especially towards the end of the pregnancy. In addition to this, women that take hormone replacement therapy after menopause or on birth control pills are at increased risk of developing melasma.
Tips to manage melasma during the summer months
We know that increased UV light exposure can worsen melasma therefore we suggest few steps to keep it under control:
- Use a Vitamin C serum just before applying your moisturizer and your SPF 50+ cream that protects against UVB and UVA rays. We call this double defence and actually it has been shown that this combination can combat exposure to free radicals and ultraviolet light better than just using sunscreen on its own, this way slowing down visible skin ageing, fine line, wrinkle and brown and red spots.
- Avoid waxing of your facial hair during the summer and opt for laser hair removal in the autumn. Waxing will irritate the skin and induce post-inflammatory pigmentation making it even more obvious.
- Use a SPF 50+ sunscreen and apply it every 2 hours. More than even we recommend starting the day with double SPF application and this is because we tend to use less than recommended 2 mg/cm2 anyways and then reapply it. Do not forget UV rays penetrate inside your home and now we recommend using sunscreen even if staying at home all day. As a personal preference, I usually use Advanced brightening UV defense SPF 50+ and then finish off with a tinted Mineral Radiance UV defense SPF 50+ from Skinceuticals.
- Other sun protection modalities: Stay in the shade if outside for long periods and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sun protective clothing.
- Book a appointment or contact us for more
- If you feel you need a consultation call our office and schedule an appointment.