Melasma is a benign problem that does not cause symptoms beyond aesthetic changes. However, it is advisable to use sunscreen both to prevent it and to prevent it from getting worse.
It is caused by various endogenous and exogenous factors, many of which we can avoid through healthy habits. In fact, the prevention of this skin problem is largely based on moving these triggers away from the disease. How can we do it?
Prevent melasma: knowing its causes is key
As detailed in a publication by the American Academy of Dermatology , melasma does not properly cause symptoms, but it does produce skin disorders that may be aesthetically uncomfortable. However, in order to intervene, it is convenient to establish what is its origin. Let’s see its main causes and how to prevent it.
Genetic predisposition is a determining factor in the appearance of melasma. People who have a blood relative who has had this condition are more likely to have it. In these cases, it is not possible to intervene, but basic skin care from an early age can help.
It is essential to use sun protection measures to prevent this alteration from occurring on the skin (or to prevent its reappearance once treated). In everyday situations such as walking, shopping or simply driving on public roads, a large amount of ultraviolet radiation is received .
Such exposure is enough to cause a picture of melasma, accelerate skin aging or increase the chances of developing some variant of skin carcinoma. If photoprotective creams are not used once the melasma has been established, the chances that it will be resistant to treatment and become chronic are very high.
Photoprotection against melasma
For this reason, the indication is the daily use of photoprotection creams, if possible with a sunscreen greater than 50 . These should be applied about 20 or 30 minutes before sun exposure, and are reapplied every 4 hours in order to maintain the protective effect.
In the event that we carry out an activity such as bathing, or that involves friction or sweat, it must be reapplied before the recommended 4 hours. Compact sun protection bases are the most recommended due to their great covering power.
These sunscreens must be combined with physical protection measures, such as the use of caps or hats, sunglasses with a UV filter, or simply staying in the shade.
The hormonal factor is evidenced by the appearance of melasma during pregnancy (progesterone levels), the use of oral contraceptives (estrogen levels) and of finasteride in men. This is why many people call it the ” pregnancy mask ” or “chloasma gravidarum.”
Sometimes it disappears when you stop taking the causative medication. The ideal in these cases is to further intensify photoprotection methods, to avoid multiple causes.
Use of irritating cosmetics
When we detect that a makeup or cream causes some irritating or allergic process, it is better to always avoid it from that moment on. It is quite common that some cosmetics can be activated when exposed to the sun.
It is also key to avoid sunbathing having used products that contain perfumes (especially bergamot oil, musk) and halogenated salicylanilides (it is common in soaps and deodorants).
To date there is no evidence to show that stress can cause melasma. However, it is believed that too much stress can worsen existing melasma, making treatment difficult. This is because stress is related to an overproduction of melanophores , which are skin cells with pigment granules.
We must bear in mind that if we are under treatment with some type of medication (it can be both oral and topical), we must consult the dermatologist because it could be the cause of the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Among the former, the most frequent are antibiotics (tetracyclines and quinolones), drugs for arrhythmias (amiodarone) and diuretics (thiazides). Among the latter, the most common are anti-inflammatory ointments (ketoprofen, piroxicam), fragrances, and sunscreens (octocrylene, oxybenzone).
Prevent melasma: what should we remember?
The best way to take care of the skin is to do a daily cleaning , twice a day, in order to remove dirt and impurities. In addition, we must ensure adequate sun protection, with a product whose protection index exceeds 50.
In the case of melasma, it is best to consult the dermatologist to receive an accurate diagnosis. The professional can guide us on the treatments available to reduce it, including creams, exfoliations or laser treatments.