Melasma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on December 16, 2022

Melasma is a skin condition that affects many people around the world. It is characterized by dark patches or spots on the face, neck, or chest and can be caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills. However, it may also be caused by sun exposure or genetics. Melasma usually appears as symmetrical brownish discoloration of the skin and can range from mild to severe in severity.

Melasma is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, but its exact cause remains unclear. Treatment for melasma varies depending on its severity and may include topical creams such as hydroquinone, glycolic acid peels, laser therapy, retinoids, and other medications. Sun protection using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is also recommended in order to help reduce further melasma progression and recurrence of the condition.


Melasma is a skin condition that causes dark patches on areas of the face and body due to excessive production of melanin. While the exact cause of melasma is unknown, sun exposure and hormones are thought to be two major contributors.

When exposed to sunlight, the body produces more melanin in order to protect itself from harmful UV rays. This increased amount of melanin may lead to the development or worsening of melasma symptoms such as darkening pigmentation in some regions of the skin. Additionally, fluctuations in hormone levels can also contribute to melasma flare-ups. During pregnancy, for example, a surge in hormones can cause melasma patches called “The Mask Of Pregnancy”. Any hormonal changes caused by starting or stopping birth control pills can also trigger melisma outbreaks as well as medications containing estrogen or progesterone.

Sometimes thyroid disease and stress may also lead to melanin.

Signs & Symptoms

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by an increase in melanin, the substance that gives color to the skin, leading to dark patches on areas such as the face, chest, and hands. A variety of factors including hormonal changes, sun damage, and certain medications can cause hyperpigmentation. One type of hyperpigmentation is known as melasma, which commonly appears during pregnancy due to increased levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

The signs and symptoms associated with melasma include brown or grayish-brown patches on the forehead, cheeks, or upper lip. These patches usually appear symmetrically on each side of the face, but may also be seen across other areas exposed to sunlight such as arms, neck, and forearms.


Melasma can be a difficult condition to diagnose, as its symptoms are nonspecific and the cause is not always clear. The medical evaluation process for melasma requires an in-depth look at the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.

Most often, a doctor will begin by asking questions about the patient’s lifestyle, such as sun exposure and the use of cosmetics or medications. This helps to narrow down potential causes for the hyperpigmentation patches on their skin. A physical examination of the affected areas is also necessary to distinguish them from other dermatological conditions that may have similar features.

In some cases, further tests may be recommended by a doctor if they suspect underlying hormonal imbalances or infections that may be causing melasma. These lab investigations typically involve wood’s lamp examination, skin biopsy, hormone level tests, thyroid function studies, and blood chemistry panels to assess organ functioning levels.


Melasma is a common skin condition that causes dark, discolored patches to appear on the skin. It can affect any area of the body, but it is most often found on the face. Treatment for melasma typically involves using topical creams, sunscreen, retinoids, chemical peels, and even laser therapy.

Topical creams such as hydroquinone are one of the most popular forms of treatment as they can lighten existing spots while also preventing new ones from developing. Sunscreen is also important to include in your skincare regimen as it helps protect against harmful UVA/UVB rays that can worsen melasma symptoms. Retinoids may be prescribed by your doctor to help increase cell turnover and reduce pigmentation levels in affected areas. Chemical peels are another effective option as they exfoliate away dead skin cells and reveal brighter-looking complexions beneath. For severe cases of melasma, laser treatment may be recommended to help reduce pigmentation. The treatment is performed by a dermatologist and will be done under local or general anesthetic. It involves the use of a laser to heat the skin’s pigment cells and destroy them.



Sun protection is an important factor when it comes to preventing the onset of melasma. A common skin condition, melasma is characterized by dark patches on the face and is quite difficult to treat. To keep your skin healthy and free from melasma, prevention strategies are key.

The most effective way to prevent melasma from occurring in the first place is to always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. The sun’s UV rays can easily penetrate through clouds and cause harm to the skin, so it’s important to apply sunscreen no matter what kind of weather you’re experiencing. Additionally, seek shade whenever possible and cover up exposed areas of your body with clothing or a hat while outdoors. Taking these steps will help shield your skin from sun damage that can lead to melasma development over time.


The conclusion to managing melasma is one that should be tailored to the individual. Melasma can cause a variety of issues in terms of self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being. As such, it is important for an individual with melasma to build a treatment plan that works best for them in order to achieve their desired results.

Various treatments exist for managing melasma, ranging from topical creams and ointments to chemical peels and laser therapy. In addition, lifestyle changes such as avoiding direct sun exposure and using sunscreen daily can help reduce the appearance of melasma over time. It is also important to note that no matter what type of treatment individuals choose, they must remain consistent with it in order to ensure optimal results.

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on December 16, 2022

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