How to Prevent your Melasma from Flaring

Written by Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on March 26, 2020 No Comments

melasma flare-up

Melasma is a common dermatologic condition where the affected patient develops speckled tan-gray patches on the face in a characteristic pattern. It most often appears on the forehead, on the cheeks under the eyes, on the upper lip, and on the jawline. It classically affects women more than men and onset often starts in their 30s and 40s. The brown patches can be embarrassing and very stubborn to treat. And, unfortunately for many, may never completely go away so preventing flares is crucial to managing melasma.

How to prevent your melasma from flaring:

Avoid exposure to ultraviolet light

Sun protection is critical to controlling melasma. Patients often notice a flare after only one unprotected outdoor exposure. Wear an SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum physical blocking sunscreen, hat and other protective clothing.

Limit unnecessary hormones

We know that melasma often flares during pregnancy or after starting hormonal contraceptives. If your melasma is difficult to control and flares easily you may consider speaking to your Gynecologist to discuss alternatives to traditional hormonal contraceptives like the copper IUD. The role of dietary changes is unclear, but one could try limiting soy products to see if that helps.

Try a blue light filter

As if you needed another reason to cut back on screentime, newer research suggests that even blue light can trigger a melasma flare so try adding a filter to your cellphone, desktop or laptop screens. Also look for the ingredient iron oxide in your sunscreen. This provides a make-up-like tint and does a good job at filtering out visible light wavelengths like blue light.

Limit heat exposure

Dermatologist know that it isn’t just direct sun exposure that triggers a melasma flare, but also heat exposure. Consider avoiding sauna, hot baths, or hot yoga. Set your hair blowdryer to a cooler setting. Don’t put your face directly over the stove while cooking. Just be aware of the exposure you are getting and try to avoid it.

Keep a good skin care regimen

A good skin care regimen can be both protective and therapuetic, especially if it contains ingredients like vitamin C, kojic acid, azalea acid, and many others. Consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best plan for your needs.

Start maintenance treatments

I love helping my patients gain control of their melasma and depending on what I see I may recommend a series of in-office chemical peels, microneedling, low level lasers, or even oral therapy. Thankfully, melasma is a condition that can usually be managed in person or through teledermatology. Please follow our link below if you would like to set up an appointment today.


Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD

Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD is a board certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon specializing in the practice of both cosmetic and medical dermatology. Dr. Geddes-Bruce is fellowship-trained in cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery. She served as Chief Resident at one of the nation’s top dermatology programs – The University of Texas at Houston and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Leave a Reply