We speak to leading Singaporean dermatologist about melasma, a pigment disorder that primarily affects pregnant women who spend time in the sun and ways to protect against it.
Women go through many changes while they are pregnant as a result of their changing hormones. Many women experience morning sickness, random food cravings and mood swings. A less common condition, but one that is certainly worth being aware of in sunny Singapore is melasma, sometimes known as the mask of pregnancy when it presents in pregnant women.
What is melasma?
Melasma is a pigmentation disorder that manifests as a discoloration of the skin and usually occurs on the face. The most common type of melasma occurs in the centre of the face however in other cases, it can present on the cheekbones or jawbone.
What are the leading causes?
The exact cause of melasma is unknown, however, experts have narrowed down some of the factors that aggravate the condition as being hormonal, congenital or medicinal. All of these factors exacerbate the likelihood that the skin will darken when exposed to ultraviolet light.
How common is melasma?
According to dermatologist and director of the Specialist Skin Clinic & Associates, Dr Cheong Wai Keong, Melasma does not affect pregnant women exclusively but it is significantly more common in women compared to men.
Ultimately, melasma is not harmful to one’s physical health, however in Dr Cheong’s experience, it’s appearance can have lasting negative psychological implications. Mothers are very careful to make sure that their children have sufficient sun protection and it is important that they take the same precautions to protect their own skin.
How can the skin condition be treated?
Dr Cheong explains that while the pigment disorder cannot be prevented, effective use of sunscreen can prevent the spots from becoming darker and more prevalent.
Sunscreen should be applied every two hours at a minimum, and even more when spending time in the water. Women who have a history of melasma may want to take additional precautions such as carrying an umbrella or avoiding direct sunlight as much as possible.
There are multiple factors to take into account when choosing the right sunscreen including how heavy it is, whether or not it is waterproof and what it actually protects against. Essentially, not all sunscreens are created for the same purposes.
La Roche-Posay recommends Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid, scientifically formulated to provide strong UV coverage and protection against melasma in pregnant women* while at the same time being gentle enough for skin prone to sensitivities.
The sunscreen uses La Roche-Posay’s patented “XL-Protect technology which protects against both UVA and UVB rays as well as protecting the skin from free radicals.
Lastly, Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid is also known for having a lightweight texture that leaves no white marks, non-sticky and is absorbed quickly by the skin. Dr Cheong believes that sunscreen is the best method of preventing and minimising darkening of the skin that can occur during pregnancy.
So with all those tips in mind, pregnant women will have no problem going out into the sun! #PlaySafeintheSun with Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid.
Find out more about the product from this video:
Want to learn more about Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid, get a free 1 week trial kit & discover more suncare tips? Click here to learn more!
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*In Morocco. Lakhdar H et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2007; 21(6):738-742