Learn About Melasma

What is the definition of Melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition that causes patches of dark skin on areas of the face exposed to the sun.

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What are the alternative names for Melasma?

Chloasma; Mask of pregnancy; Pregnancy mask

What are the causes of Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin disorder. It most often appears in young women with brownish skin tone, but it can affect anyone.

Melasma is often associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is common in:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
  • Women who are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause.

Being in the sun makes melasma more likely to develop. The problem is more common in tropical climates.

What are the symptoms of Melasma?

The only symptom of melasma is a change in skin color. However, this color change can cause distress about your appearance.

The skin color changes are most often an even brown color. They often appear on the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Dark patches are often symmetrical.

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What are the current treatments for Melasma?

Treatments may include:

  • Creams that contain certain substances to improve the appearance of melasma
  • Chemical peels or topical steroid creams
  • Laser treatments to remove the dark pigment if melasma is severe
  • Stopping hormone medicines that may be causing the problem
  • Medicines taken by mouth
Who are the top Melasma Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Maulana Azad Medical College

Venereology And Leprology, Lady Hardinge Medical College 
New Delhi, DL, IN 

Rashmi Sarkar is in New Delhi, India. Sarkar is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Melasma. She is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Melasma, Trichorrhexis Nodosa, Autosomal Recessive Hypotrichosis, and Pigmented Purpuric Dermatosis.

Highly rated in

Ajou University School Of Medicine

Suwon, KR 

Hee Kang is in Suwon, Republic of Korea. Kang is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Melasma. She is also highly rated in 9 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Melasma, Pigmented Purpuric Dermatosis, Incontinentia Pigmenti, and Liver Spots.

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Highly rated in

Division Of Dermatology

Faculty Of Medicine 
Bangkok, TH 

Vasanop Vachiramon is in Bangkok, Thailand. Vachiramon is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Melasma. They are also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Melasma, Liver Spots, Hypomelanotic Disorder, and Vitiligo.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Melasma?

Melasma often fades over several months after you stop taking hormone medicines or your pregnancy ends. The problem may come back in future pregnancies or if you use these medicines again. It may also come back from sun exposure.

When should I contact a medical professional for Melasma?

Call your provider if you have darkening of your face that does not go away.

How do I prevent Melasma?

The best way to lower your risk for melasma due to sun exposure is to protect your skin from the sun and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Things you can do to lower your exposure to sunlight include:

  • Wear clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.
  • Try to avoid being in the sun during midday, when ultraviolet light is most intense.
  • Use high-quality sunscreens, preferably with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 30. Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB light.
  • Apply sunscreen before going out into the sun, and reapply often -- at least every 2 hours while in the sun.
  • Use sunscreen year-round, including in the winter.
  • Avoid sun lamps, tanning beds, and tanning salons.

Other things to know about sun exposure:

  • Sun exposure is stronger in or near surfaces that reflect light, such as water, sand, concrete, and areas painted white.
  • Sunlight is more intense at the beginning of the summer.
  • Skin burns faster at higher altitudes.
What are the latest Melasma Clinical Trials?
Efficacy and Safety of Topical Cysteamine for Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation: A Randomized Control, Double Blinded-trial
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The Effect of Topical Anesthetic Using Lidocaine 2.5%/Prilocaine 2.5% Versus Lidocaine 7%/Tetracaine 7% Cream on Patients' Pain and Operative Experience During Treatment With QSwitched 532nm Laser
What are the Latest Advances for Melasma?
The 495th case: young female-hyperandrogenemia-severe insulin resistance.
Series of Fourteen Cases of Topical Imiquimod 5% in Lentigo Maligna: Treatment Modalities and Clues for Detecting Recurrences.
Tired of the same old research?
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Split-Face Comparative Analysis Of Micro-Needling With Tranexamic Acid Vs Vitamin C Serum In Melasma.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : November 10, 2020
Published By : Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Light-related diseases and disorders of pigmentation. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 19.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Disturbances of pigmentation. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 36.