Melasma is dark pigmented patches of skin that appears on the face. Melasma is one of the medical community’s annoying oddities that no one can quite figure out. We do know that it is hormone related and that sun exposure makes it much worse. Dark pigment in the skin is produced by overactive melanocytes (small cells that create pigment in our skin).

Here is the top do’s and don’ts when fighting melasma:

1. Don’t spend an entire fortune on skin care and treatments and then slather on subpar sunscreen, or worse forget it entirely.

2. Do think of sunscreen as your first line of defense. Sunscreen keeps the skin from sustaining as much “injury” from the sun. (Melasma is made worse by stimulation of melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment!) Apply your sunscreen every 2 hours when out in the sun.

3. Don’t hang out in the sauna or hot tub. Studies show that heat can cause the melanocytes to rear their ugly heads and start to pump out extra pigment.

4. Do get religious about your skin care routine. Consistency is key when applying skin lightening products so don’t go to bed without dousing yourself in the creams your skin care professional recommends.

5. Don’t rush. It’s going to take 3-6 months to see a big change either way. Compliance is the key

6. Discontinue any contraceptives if you see melasma happen after its consumption.

7. Do not self-medicate. Not all dark patches are Melasma. For accurate diagnosis and treatment visit a physician preferably a dermatologist.