July 14, 2019 Can You Prevent Melasma?
Since melasma is influenced by factors such as your hormones and genes, you can’t necessarily prevent yourself from developing this condition. However, there are many ways to help prevent melasma from getting darker and more widespread. You can also help prevent it from coming back after it has been treated.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same is true of melasma. The best way to prevent melasma from coming back or getting worse is to avoid the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays act on certain cells in your skin to actually increase pigment production, which in turn makes your melasma worse.
We don’t recommend going full vampire, but small changes can make a big difference in your complexion.
How To Protect Yourself From the Sun
There are three main ways to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. These are sunscreen, protective clothing and accessories, and changing your behavior to avoid sun exposure.
With so many sunscreen options out there, it can be difficult to choose one. Here are some guidelines to help you when you’re shopping for sunscreen:
- Look for sunscreens that are broad-spectrum (to cover both UV-A and UV-B rays).
- Choose a sunscreen that is rated SPF 30 or greater.
- Pick a sunscreen that contains physical blockers such as Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide.
Learn more about how to choose a sunscreen:
Protective clothing and accessories
Our advice here is simple: go big or go home. When it comes to blocking the sun’s rays, you can never have enough protection. Grab your biggest sunglasses and your widest brimmed hat. UV protective clothing made with SPF is another great way to protect your skin.
Change your routine
Laying out in the sun for a long time is not the best idea for someone with melasma because it can risk making their dark spots worse. The shade is going to be your best friend. Especially try to stay out of the sun during its peak hours, between 10 AM and 2 PM.
If you’re headed to the beach, don’t fret – you can still enjoy the surf and sand. Bring a beach umbrella and stick to the shade as much as you can.
The Skin Quiz
Our Dermatologist worked closely with experts to create a melasma skin quiz that guides you to the best treatments on the market
Is There A Cure For Melasma?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no cure for melasma. Fortunately, melasma is a very manageable condition. There are many different treatment options including skin lightening creams, chemical peels, and lasers.
Does Treating Melasma Help Prevent It?
Definitely! The most effective treatment for melasma combines three prescription-strength medications into one easy-to-use cream. The key to preventing the worsening or recurrence of melasma is consistency: use your treatment as prescribed, and protect your skin from the sun even on cloudy days.
Melasma can be slow to respond to treatment, so it may take a few months before you see the full results. However, skin lightening effects may be visible in as little as a month.
About the author
Brandon Kirsch, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in clinical drug development and medical innovation. He is the founder of Kirsch Dermatology in Naples, Florida and is also the Chief of Dermatology at the ...