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Too much sun exposure causes pigmentation and aging, and melasma is one of the common skin problems that many women face. For the uninitiated, melasma is a tan or dark skin discolouration that is usually found at the upper cheek area. Sun exposure is the primary cause of melasma, but hormonal changes during pregnancy and genetics can play a part too. All these factors may cause our melanocytes, which are the colour-making cells in our skin, to become overactive causing discolouration on our skin.

Although there is technically no cure for melasma, there are treatments available to helps us minimize it. Here are some of the Do's and Don'ts to prevent or the minimize Melasma!

1. DO NOT skip Sunscreen!

Whether you are trying to prevent pigmentation, or are already plagued by it, it is recommended that you wear sunscreen everyday, even when you are indoors. Make sure that the sunscreen you are using is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that can protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember to reapply sunscreen after every 3 to 4 hours, especially if you are outdoors.

2. DO put on a hat!

If you know that you will be under direct sunlight for the day, it is advisable to put on a sun hat for that extra protection.

3. DO get topical creams from your doctor!

See your doctor to get a prescription for topical creams that help diminish  skin discolouration. Creams containing hydroxy quinone, tretinoin, topical steroids, alpha hydroxy acid creams, azelic acid or kojic acid are effective in fighting against melasma but do note that you should only use them at night.

4. DO NOT continue with the pill!

Continuing with your birth control pill will undo any effects of melasma treatments that you are undergoing as the rise in female hormones is one of the causes of melasma.

5. DO check out chemical peels!

A light chemical peel can help to alleviate the condition of your melasma. Chemical peel  helps to inhibit tyrosinase, a critical enzyme in the melanin (pigment) production process. The peel is designed to lighten blemishes and resistant pigmentation, and brighten our complexion quickly and effectively. However, it is recommended that it should be done under the supervision of a dermatologist.

6. DO try a Photofacial!

Photofacial is effective for treating and clearing melasma and it does so by reducing the production of melanoncytes that causes discolouration in the skin. The treatment is fast and targeted, and most importantly, it has got no downtime. Another perk of Photofacial is that while it treats our melasma, it also stimulates the production of collagen in our skin to keep our skin supple and radiant.

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