Updated: Jun 26, 2019
By Bionca W. Shy, PharmD
Founder of Funk Diva
It’s the second day of summer. Many travelers are in route to some of the most exotic destinations with white sands, tiki bars and lots of sun! We all would agree that a nice bathe in the summer rays on South Beach would be a complete thrill. However, individuals who suffer with skin conditions that are worsened by ultraviolet (UV) rays, are likely appalled by the thought of stepping out into the heat this time of year.
I’ve witnessed the direct assault that UV rays have imposed on my mother’s skin after discovering nearly 3 years ago that she had a condition called melasma- hyperpigmentation of the skin usually on the forehead, nose bridge, and cheeks from overexposure to UV rays. The causes of melasma are often attributed to hereditary, hormonal imbalances, and/or due to an excessive amount of sunlight exposure without adequate UV protection. And while its affects are indiscriminate, females of Asian, Indian and African descent are highly prone to this condition.
The impact of having your skin, especially your most noticeable feature, your face, transform from clear and radiant to hyperpigmented and aged is probably one of the most devastating occurrences anyone can experience. The dark patches that occur can severely mutate ones physical features while causing emotional, psychological and social stress. With excess UV light exposure, the dark patches spread and cause severe inflammation and sensitivity, however here are four general approaches to help manage this:
Wearing a large brimmed hat, 100% UV protective sunshades (i.e. CRYSTAL by Funk Diva) and a broad-spectrum sunscreen that helps block both UVA and UVB rays with at least 30 Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Light blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide should be key ingredients to help lessen the effects of harsh sun exposure. Apply 20 mins before going outdoors and every two hours as needed.
Topical creams like hydroquinone 4% (i.e. Rodan and Fields Reverse Lightening Regimen), tretinoin, corticosteroids, and treatments such as azelaic acid or kojic acid have been clinically proven and effective at fading and/or lessening the effects of hyperpigmentation associated with melasma. Some of these treatments are prescribed by your dermatologist.
Non-invasive procedures that include laser and light therapy have been shown to extend the remission time of melasma exacerbations. Although minor risks are associated with their use such as hypopigmentation, post-procedural inflammation, and a possible reoccurrence of the condition over time, it has been effectively used to help manage various forms of melasma.
Micro-needling another effective option in combination with broad-spectrum sunscreen and topical lightening products in patients with much more resistant cases of melasma. This can be performed by a dermatologist or licensed esthetician.
As mentioned, large brimmed hats can assist in blocking those harsh UV rays from coming in contact with your skin. However, there are also cosmetic products and liquid foundations that include broad-spectrum SPF to help cover the dark patches associated with melasma. Rodan + Fields Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid offers immediate protection with 30 SPF while providing a lightweight finish that leaves the skin amazingly smooth and radiant.
Vacationing this summer doesn’t have to be difficult for those of you suffering with melasma if you take the right approach in prevention and management. For more information on how to determine your skin type and view details on how to obtain dermatologist-approved skincare, visit the Funk Diva Shop and click the link “FREE Personalized Skincare Assessment” to get an instant result.
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2. Melasma. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed June 20th 2019
3. Tamega Ade A, Miot HA, Moco NP, Silva MG, Marques ME, Miot LD. Gene and protein expression of oestrogen-beta and progesterone receptors in facial melasma and adjacent healthy skin in women. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2015;37(2):222–228.
4. Mazurek K, Pierzchala E. Comparison of efficacy of products containing azelaic acid in melasma treatment. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016;15(3):269–282.