Melasma is a skin condition in which brown patches, also known as hyperpigmentation, form on the face. Melasma is most commonly found on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, and the area above the upper lip. Although men and women may develop melasma, it is most common in women; this may be attributed to hormonal influences, such as pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, or hormone replacement therapy.

Since melasma may be worsened by sun exposure, sunscreen plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of melasma. Melasma may also be treated with a combination of prescription topical depigmenting agents, such as hydroquinone, as well as chemical peels and laser treatments.

What causes it

Melasma is caused by an increase in melanin production, which is stimulated by hormones from pregnancy or from taking birth control pills. Sun exposure can also cause Melasma and make it worse. Other factors that may contribute to Melasma include genetics, skin irritants, and certain medications.

What can be done

Commonly prescribed treatments include topical creams containing hydroquinone, retinoids and corticosteroids to lighten the affected areas. Chemical peels can also be used to remove the dark pigment from skin cells. Laser treatment is another option for those looking for a more aggressive approach. Although Melasma can be easily treated in most cases “curing” Melasma is not possible at this time so treatment maintenance is recommened. Finally, protecting your skin from the sun is essential in preventing Melasma from occurring or worsening.