Who doesn’t like to have a perfectly glowing and spot-free face? But it may not always be possible to have such a healthy and clear skin that you watch in commercials. And one of the causes of pigmented and discolored skin is melasma. What is more interesting is the fact that it is more common in women than in men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, of the people who suffer from melasma, only 10% are men. In India, around 20–30% of women in the age group of 40–65 years are known to present facial melasma.
Let’s learn more about this common skin condition and ways to deal with it.
What Is Melasma?
In simple terms, melasma is a skin condition where the color-making cells of the skin (also known as melanocytes) produce too much color leading to dark patches/discoloration. It is quite common to suffer from dark pigmentation on the face, arms, and neck post-exposure to harsh sunlight or due to the use of skincare products. Here are several factors that are noted to trigger melasma:
– Sun exposure
– Oral contraceptive pills
– Hormonal replacement therapy medicines
– Estrogen pills
– Conditions that alter hormone levels
– Certain cosmetic products such as fragrances and perfumes
– Exposure to the sun
While the exact cause of this condition is not known, you can deal with it by simply following some quick tips and tricks.
5 Simple Tips For Melasma Care
The skin discoloration caused due to melasma is harmless and the patches are not raised above the skin. However, the appearance makes the person uncomfortable which is the reason for trying out various skincare products to improve skin health before visiting a dermatologist.
At present, there is no cure for melasma; however, several treatment options can help to improve the condition. These can range from simple home care skin routine to dermatological techniques like microabrasion, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. Here are some tips to improve your skin tone and fight melasma at home.
1. Apply sunscreen irrespective of the season
Make it a rule to not step outside your house without applying sunscreen. This is because sun rays contain ultraviolet A (UV-A) and ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation. UV-A radiation can cause premature aging of the skin and pigmentation whereas UV-B radiation can lead to the tanning of the skin.
A sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays), has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and is water-resistant works best to protect your skin from sun damage. Apply sunscreen every two hours if you are out in the sun or more often if swimming or sweating a lot.
2. Cover up wisely for better protection
It goes without saying that washing your face every day is the first step to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Additionally, it is also important to protect the skin from damage including pollutants, dirt, chemicals as well as sun rays.
So to prevent skin damage make sure you cover your face with a scarf or stole, wear cotton clothes, opt for full sleeves, use wide brim hats and sunglasses or carry an umbrella when out in the sun. If possible, avoid going out between 12 pm to 3 pm as the sun rays are too harsh during this time, and hence, the chances of skin damage are maximum.
3. Choose gentle skincare products (not the expensive ones)
It is a common belief that expensive and high-end skincare products are better for the skin. But it is not true. When it comes to skincare, it is wise to pick products that are not harsh on the skin. Products that are loaded with harsh chemicals or those that emit strong fragrance can strip oil from the skin and make it more prone to damage leading to stinging of the skin.
Instead, opt for products that are devoid of strong smells and contain minimal amounts of chemical ingredients so they do not irritate the skin and worsen your condition. The rule also applies to skin lightening creams which are quite commonly used to improve skin tone and treat skin pigmentation.
4. Do not exfoliate/scrub every day
Scrubbing and exfoliation is undoubtedly a great skincare routine as it helps you to get rid of the dead skin cells. It is also known to improve blood circulation thereby improving your skin tone and health. However, doing it on a daily basis can do more harm than good. This is because if you scrub your skin daily or excessively, it may cause the upper layer of the skin to rip off. This in turn can make your skin sore, leading to redness and increasing the risk of infections, which can further worsen your condition. Remember, regular exfoliation (not daily) and gentle scrubbing is the key to smooth and healthy skin.
5. Say “NO” to waxing/threading/shaving!
Waxing is one of the most common and effective methods of hair removal which also helps to maintain basic hygiene. However, waxing may increase the risk of skin inflammation, which can worsen melasma. Hence, it is wise to avoid waxing, threading, or shaving those areas of the body that are affected by melasma.
Also, while shaving always shaves in the direction of hair growth as shaving in the opposite direction can increase the risk of ingrown hair and also do not provide a smooth finish. Gentle exfoliation before removing the hair makes the process less painful and long-lasting. Regular hair removal keeps the area soft and smooth and reduces the chances of skin irritation.
Bottom line: Melasma is a delicate skin condition that often leads to flare-ups throughout a person’s lifetime. But following these simple tips can help you to improve your condition along with improving your appearance, enhancing your self-esteem, and promoting better skincare. However, if your condition fails to improve, it is wise to consult a dermatologist for a better outcome.
Disclaimer: The information produced in this article in the form of text, tips, suggestions, and products, comprise general advice for consumers. This is a sponsored article and 1mg does not promote or endorse any products or services.
1. Melasma: Tips For Managing. American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD)
2. Nouveau S, Agrawal D, Kohli M, Bernerd F, Misra N, Nayak CS. Skin Hyperpigmentation in Indian Population: Insights and Best Practice. Indian J Dermatol. 2016;61(5):487-495.
3. Unmasking the causes and treatments of melasma. Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Harvard Health Publishing.
4. Handel AC, Miot LD, Miot HA. Melasma: a clinical and epidemiological review. An Bras Dermatol. 2014;89(5):771-782.