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Melasma: Protect from UV Rays

How to Treat

One of the most frustrating aspects of melasma treatment is the role of sun exposure. Any amount of time spent outdoors could worsen melasma. This is likely a result of over-excitement of the melanocytes due to a combination of UV radiation and hormonal changes Melasma patients must be aware that multiple sun protection mechanisms, including sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, umbrellas and avoiding direct sun exposure, may be necessary to avoid the worsening or reoccurrence of melasma.

If the skin is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis (even walking to and from your car or exposure to fluorescent light bulbs) the process of evening the complexion will be slowed, if not halted. Remember that the SPF rating of a product only relates to its ability to protect the skin from UVB rays. Patients should always use products that also offer protection from long and short wave UVA rays. Also consider recommending that your patients wear protective clothing and wide- brimmed hats, and avoid prolonged UV exposure during the midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Allow sun protection to absorb for 30 minutes prior to daytime exposure. Reapply after two hours of sun exposure and repeat every two hours
as needed.

Melanogenesis inhibitors reduce the melanin content of the epidermis, making it potentially more susceptible to UV-induced matrix metalloproteinases and free radical damage. This makes the regular use of topical antioxidant and MMPi ingredients critical additions to the regimens of patients fighting hyperpigmentation.