Helpful Information for Pigmentary Disorder Patients
Vitiligo is a condition where the skin loses its color due to the loss of pigmentation. White and light-colored patches appear on the skin, and most of the time, it is not painful. Melasma is a similar condition where gray or brown patches appear on the skin. Typically, it occurs on the chin, forehead and nose. While it is important for everyone to wear sunscreen going outside, it is even more vital for individuals with these conditions to use sunblock frequently. Without adequate protection, people with these conditions will experience tanner skin around the lighter patches, resulting in more apparent discoloration.
Protect Your Skin All Year Long
A lot of people know to use sunblock during the summer when the sun is out longer. However, it is still crucial to use it during the autumn, winter and spring. The spring sun is often an unknown culprit of skin damage. Since the sun may not be out as long, people are less likely to really feel the heat, yet the ultraviolet rays are much stronger than in the winter. It only takes 15 minutes for sun damage to occur, and that damage will be much more pronounced for those with melasma or vitiligo.
No matter what time of year it is, you should always apply sunscreen before going outside. People with these skin conditions sometimes notice a tingling sensation in the skin, but the right sunblock can prevent that feeling.
Use the Right Type of Sunblock
Sunlight contains UVA and UVB rays. You need protection that safeguards you from both. For people with skin conditions in particular, it is paramount to use sunscreen that has been rated at least four stars. This should be readily visible from the packaging. You also want to use sunblock that has an SPF of at least 30. Little evidence exists that suggest sunscreens with higher SPF levels actually provide additional protection, so if you have an existing skin condition your safest bet is to stick with SPF 30.
Reapply Throughout the Day
You do not want to apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and then forget it. You should reapply it at least once every two hours. This is especially true if you will be out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the time of day when the sun is highest and most dangerous. You should especially do this if you will be out in the water all day. You can use sunscreen with a waterproof base, but we recommend that you continue to reapply regularly.
Individuals with vitiligo and melasma need to use sunblock often. Not only will it keep pigmentation more even, but it will also protect them against other complications. Over a million people develop skin cancer every year, and is often due to excessive sunlight exposure. Wearing sunscreen year-round can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
See a Professional
If you think you or a loved one may have vitiligo or melasma, please schedule an appointment with one of our professionals at Windsor Dermatology. An accurate diagnosis will lead to the best course of treatment for you. We are here to help you manage your skin condition, so you can enjoy life to the fullest.