What is Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin concern that causes brown to grey patches, usually on the face. This hyperpigmentation usually occurs on the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the chin and the upper lip, but may also appear on other areas of the body, such as the forearms and neck.

While some ethnicities are more predisposed to melasma than others, hormonal influences are thought to be a significant contributing factor. Therefore, it is believed that birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes).

Treatment Options for Melasma


Topical creams including 2% or 4% Hydroquinone cream, other compound fading creams, retinoic acid (trentinon), and glycolic acid.


The regular use of sunscreen will prevent the development of melanocytes and darkening of melasma.



Prevention is primarily aimed at facial sun protection and sun avoidance, including the use of a good sunscreen.

What Causes Melasma/Chloasma?

  • Typically women in the reproductive years (20-50 yrs of age) are affected.
  • Birth control pills, pregnancy, and changes in hormones can trigger Melasma.
  • Sun exposure or heat can worsen the condition, affecting the cells that control pigment (Melanocytes).

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