Heat Makes Your Melasma Worse According To This Dermatologist



OK, first up: high heat and winter don’t usually go in the same breath. But during the winter, many utilize space heaters and other forms of intense heat indoors to stay warm. Having a concentration of the heat on your skin for extended periods of time could make your melasma worse, explains board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. 

“If you have melasma, then you want to avoid any sources of heat—whether it’s getting too close to the oven, hot yoga, infrared saunas, blow dryers, and space heaters. These are really bad for melasma,” says Bowe. 

If you do all that you can to attend to your melasma, and you can’t figure out why it’s getting worse, start looking for your common heat sources. If you use heat lamps and space heaters (likely more prominent now that we are encouraged to eat outdoors), don’t spend too much time in super close contact. If you use a blowdryer everyday, consider switching to low heat, which is better for your hair anyway. Opt out of infrared saunas, if you are one to typically frequent them. Consider switching from extra hot workout classes to standard ones. Some lifestyle changes, like say cooking, aren’t as easy, but just be mindful while you’re in the kitchen and do the best you can.

As for topical treatments, arbutin is a safe, natural brightener. “Arbutin is a naturally occurring compound in the leaves of a variety of different plants, including pear trees and the bearberry plant, that prevents the formation of melanin,” says board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., noting that the overproduction of melanin in certain areas is what makes up dark spots and melasma patches. “It functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor to provide skin brightening effects. This happens because when your skin and these cells come in contact with UV light or intense heat, the tyrosinase enzyme is activated. Arbutin blocks this.” 

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