Have you noticed brown or gray-brown patches beginning to develop on your face or other parts of your body frequently exposed to the sun? You may be experiencing melasma. While doctors aren’t sure of the exact cause, the skin condition is common amongst women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives, or on hormone replacement therapy. Sun or ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure seems to be another key trigger. Melasma can fade on its own after pregnancy or after discontinuing your medication, but this is not the case for everyone. Consistent sun protection and other techniques can help prevent or improve the condition, but as always, it’s best to seek the advice of your dermatologist – especially to confirm that what you are experiencing is indeed melasma.¹
Sun protection can prevent skin patches from darkening any further. It can also prevent melasma from returning after it has faded. Sunscreen is an excellent form of sun protection, but it is recommended to use multiple methods as sunscreen can lose effectiveness after 2 hours. Wearing hats can prevent UV radiation from reaching your face and neck, and seeking shade whenever possible can help protect the rest of your body. Also, try to avoid skin care products that irritate your skin. If your melasma is persistent and influencing your quality of life, your dermatologist may recommend an alternative treatment, like hydroquinone, a topical skin lightening agent.¹
Sun Index can help you manage your sun protection to help prevent and/or improve your melasma. It will let you know when and how to seek sun protection on any given day. Also, by tracking sun exposure with Sun Index
, you can monitor what sun exposure habits worsen your condition.
- American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Melasma. Retrieved March 23, 2017