Melasma Symptoms and Causes

Melasma causes and treatments

Melasma is a common skin condition which causes brown or grayish-brown areas on your skin, most often on the face.

Incidence: Common
○ Occurs in 50-80% of pregnant women and 33% of those will have it lifelong.
○ Treatable by a medical professional
○ Usually self-diagnosable
○ Lab tests or imaging not required
○ Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

People see melasma on their cheeks, forehead, on the bridge of their nose, lower chin, and/or above their lip. It has been known to appear on other parts of the body that tend to get sun. Melasma may fade on its own after pregnancy or after an affected woman goes off birth control pills but any sun exposure will tend to bring it back again.

Cause of melasma: Melasma is caused from birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma. Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes).

What does melasma look like?

Melasma / Chloasma requires a medical diagnosis: Melasma is readily diagnosed by recognizing the typical appearance of brown skin patches on the face. Dermatologists are physicians who specialize in skin disorders and often diagnose melasma by visually examining the skin. A black light or Wood's light can assist in diagnosing melasma, although is not essential for diagnosis. Mixed melasma is the most common form which means the discoloration is due to pigment in the dermis and epidermis. Rarely, a skin biopsy may be necessary to help exclude other causes of this local skin hyperpigmentation.

Melasma symptoms
Melasma treatments
Treat melasma

Treating Melasma:

Self-care treatment for melasma: We do not recommend any self-care treatments for melasma. We recommend a consultation with one of our award-winning, board-certified dermatologists for best assesment and treatment.

Our Clinical Treatment for Melasma:

Under our board-certified dermatologist’s care, most people with melasma have a good outcome. Melasma can be stubborn, though. It may take a few months of treatment to see improvement. It is important to follow our provider’s advice to ensure that you get the most benefit from treatment. It also can help avoid skin irritation and other side effects. After your melasma clears, you may need to keep treating your skin meaning ongoing maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy can prevent melasma from returning. Our board-certified dermatologists will also give you specific care on how to prevent future outbreaks of melasma. Make an appointment today with one of our board-certified dermatologists. [ Learn More }

Our dermatologist’s reach success more frequently

Melasma can be stubborn, though. It may take a few months of treatment to see improvement. It is important to follow our provider’s advice to ensure that you get the most benefit from treatment. It also can help avoid skin irritation and other side effects. After your melasma clears, you may need to keep treating your skin. Your dermatologist may call this maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy can prevent melasma from returning. Our board-certified dermatologists will also give you specific care on how to detour future outbreaks of melasma. Make an appointment today with one of our board-certified dermatologists.