What is melasma?

Melasma is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches, usually on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.

One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every two hours. Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.

Women are far more likely than men to get it. It is so common during pregnancy that it is sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.” Hormones seem to trigger it.

What are the signs of melasma?

Common signs (what you see) of melasma are brown or gray-brown patches on the face. These patches most commonly appear on the:

  • Cheeks
  • Forehead
  • Bridge of the nose
  • Above the upper lip
  • Chin

Some people get patches on their forearms or neck. This is less common.

it does not cause any symptoms (what people feel). But many people dislike the way it makes their skin look. If you dislike these patches, sun protection and treatment can help.

Who gets melasma?

It appears on women’s skin much more often than men’s skin. Just 10% of people who get melasma are men.

People with darker skin, such as those of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean descent are more likely to get it. People who have a blood relative who had the condition also are much more likely to get it.

What causes melasma?

What causes melasma is not yet clear. It likely occurs when the color-making cells in the skin (melanocytes) produce too much color.

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Also Read: How to Exfoliate Safely by Skin Type

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