Melasma is a fairly common skin condition that creates the appearance of brown to gray-brown patches of skin, usually on the face. It can also occur on the neck and forearms, and is the result of the body producing too much melanin, that natural substance that colors our hair, skin and eyes.
While the exact cause of it is uncertain, certain factors are known to trigger it, including pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone therapy, cosmetics and anti-seizure medications.
Although melasma can affect anyone, people with darker skin tones and people with a family history of melasma are more likely to get it. Women get melasma at a much higher rate than men, as only 10 percent of people diagnosed with it are men.
The main sign of melasma are patches on your skin that are darker than your normal skin color. The patches most commonly appear on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose and chin.
If you have signs of melasma, contact the doctors at U.S. Dermatology Partners to determine which type of treatment might be right for you.
Melasma can fade on its own, particularly when the trigger is something temporary, like pregnancy or oral contraceptive use. Other options can include using topical lighteners that are available in both prescription and over-the-counter dosage or medical treatments such as a chemical peel, microdermabrasion or dermabrasion to remove the top layers of the skin.
*Results may vary by individual