Melasma
Melasma

Melasma is a common acquired skin disorder that presents as a bilateral, blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation.

Melasma is more common in women than in men, with an onset typically between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Melasma is most common in people who tan easily or have naturally brown skin. It is less common in people with fair skin or coloured skin. It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women.

It isn’t totally clear what causes melasma, oestrogen and progesterone sensitivity are also associated with the condition. This means birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma.
Melasma can be frustrating to treat, both for the patient and the treating therapist. It is slow to respond to treatment, especially if it has been present for a long time, even in those who get a good result from treatment, pigmentation may reappear on exposure to summer sun.
Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes).

Brownish coloured patches usually appear on the:
- cheeks
- forehead
- bridge of the nose
- chin
- upper lip