Melasma is a common skin hyperpigmentation problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck. Women are far more likely than men to get melasma.
Common melasma triggers include:
- Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes. In face, just as mall amount of sun exposure can make melasma return after fading. Sun exposure is why melasma often is worse in summer.
- Change in Hormones: It is very common during pregnancy, thus also referred to as ‘the mask of pregnancy’. Birth control pills and hormone replacement medicine can also trigger melasma.
- Cosmetics: Skin care products that irritate the skin may worsen melasma.
One of the most common treatments of melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours. However, the more severe melasma cases require in-clinic treatments (mentioned further below).