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Tips for Managing Melasma This Summer

  • Posted on: Jun 15 2021
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Summer is here! Compared to where we were this time last year, many, many more people are ready to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Whether that involves a picnic in Central Park, a trip to the zoo, or a rooftop cocktail party, if you have melasma, you want to know how you can manage your skin’s health and appearance with the increase in heat and sun exposure. The team at Laser & Mohs Dermatology of New York is committed to providing the utmost care, whether that is for medical conditions or cosmetic concerns. Here, we discuss how to manage melasma in the summer months.  

What Causes Melasma?

Before we discuss managing melasma, we should touch on the factors that contribute to this condition. Melasma is related to melanocytes. These are the skin cells that are involved in producing pigment. If you have lighter skin, you have fewer melanocytes. If your skin is darker, you have more of these cells. Melanocytes produce pigment when stimulated to do so. Tanning is a prime example. The absorption of UV light stimulates melanocytes, so they produce more pigment. More pigment results in tanned (sun damaged) skin. Melasma is the result of a malfunction in melanocyte cells. While research has yet to determine an exact cause for this malfunction, possible culprits include sun exposure, hormones, and general skin irritation. 

What Can You Do To Manage It?

If you noticed, we mentioned sun exposure as a contributing factor to melasma. That means that, regardless of the cause, sun exposure can worsen the condition. For example, if you developed melasma during pregnancy as a result of changing hormones, your discolored patches could worsen if you spend time in the sun. It is helpful to know how to counteract the effects of sun exposure so you don’t force yourself to avoid it altogether. Suggestions include:

 

  • Choose the right skincare products for your skin. Use cleansers and moisturizers for sensitive skin. If a product causes a burning or stinging sensation, don’t use it. 
  • Avoid waxing. We know, waxing achieves longer-lasting results than tweezing or shaving. But still, the process can be irritating and, to those with melasma, that can lead to a worsening of symptoms. 
  • Be vigilant about sunscreen. Don’t reserve sunscreen use to those picnics in the park. Find a lightweight SPF moisturizer or sunscreen, SPF 30, and apply it every day. We tend to underestimate the effects of those few minutes here and there in the sun, like driving in the car or walking from the car to the store. The effects of UV exposure occur immediately, so it is better to be prepared. 
  • Add a layer. Wearing sunscreen is necessary on the average day. On those days when you’ll get more sun exposure, consider adding a layer. A wide-brimmed hat, for example, can reduce the amount of UV light your facial skin absorbs. 

In many cases, melasma is a pregnancy-related condition that resolves on its own. If it does not, or you need help bringing your symptoms under control, contact us. You deserve to feel confident in your skin. 

Posted in: General Dermatology

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