An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is that adage more true than with the treatment of Melasma. Melasma is a skin condition that causes a darkening, or hyperpigmentation, of the skin, usually on the face. Melasma is not harmful; its effects are purely cosmetic. But those who suffer from the hyperpigmentation of Melasma are usually eager to correct it.

Melasma Causes and Treatments

Melasma is usually caused by hormones. That is why women who are pregnant or on the birth control can develop Melasma. Sometimes after giving birth or going off the pill, these women see their condition reverse. But other times Melasma develops for unknown reasons and getting rid of it can be very difficult.

There are many treatments for Melasma, including laser therapy and bleaching creaMelasma Causes and Treatmentsms. But they are usually costly and only somewhat effective. Some evidence exists that the supplement MSM can be effective as a Melasma cure. But often, Melasma is a condition that needs to be managed on an ongoing basis, with a combination of Melasma prevention and treatments.

One of the best things you can do to keep the dark spots from appearing or worsening, is to be aggressive about protecting your face from the sun. This is because exposure to the sun can cause Melasma spots to appear and will almost always darken those that already exist. Basically there are two ways to protect your face from the sun's rays: with sunscreen and sun protection clothing.

Sunscreen Use and Melasma

The use of sunscreen is likely to be your best defense against the dark spots that Melasma causes. There are two basic things to keep in mind when using sunscreen to prevent Melasma:

  1. Pick the best sunscreen for Melasma. It's important to choose a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and one with a high SPF (basically the higher the better).
  2. Use it consistently. Just as important as choosing the best kind of sunscreen is that you apply it consistently. This means at least once every two hours when you're exposed to the sun. (And remember, sun exposure can include things like driving your car. You don't have to be basking on a beach somewhere for the sun to worsen your Melasma.)

SPF Hats for Melasma

SPF hats provide an additional layer of sun protection for your face because they have SPF protection woven into the fabric. When used together, sunscreen and SPF hats provide the one-two punch for keeping sun exposure, and Melasma's effects on your face, at bay.

Remember, always see a physician to make sure that what you're dealing with is really Melasma. And once you're sure, get busy preventing it so you can reduce – or maybe even eliminate – costly Melasma treatments.