MELASMA - Overview, Facts,Types&Symptoms, Medication and Diagnosis


Melasma is a type of skin pigmentation disorder that causes brown or gray patches to appear, and it is usually seen on the face. Other common areas of appearances include:

  • Bridge of the nose
  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Upper lip

It may also appear on the areas that are mostly exposed to a lot of sunlight such as:

  • Forearms
  • Neck
  • Shoulders


Doctors do not fully grasp the essence of melasma. It may be because of melanocytes (color-making cells) malfunctioning the skin that causes them to produce too much. As a result, people with darker skin tones, or those with more melanocytes than people with lighter skin, are more likely to develop melasma.

There may be a genetic component to melasma, as well as pieces of evidence imply that people whose close relatives have experienced melasma tend to develop it. However, potential triggers also include;

  • Changes in hormones due to pregnancy
  • Exposure to sun
  • Skin irritation due to certain skincare products


The first sign of developing melasma is the discoloration of patches of skin. Even though it does not primarily cause other physical symptoms, the appearance of these patches is a nuisance to some people.


Dermatologists consider cases of melasma easy to diagnose when the patient is put through a visual examination. But since melasma resembles other skin conditions, doctors might consider doing a biopsy or use a Wood’s light—a device used to look more closely at the skin.



There is no necessity for treating this disease, but if hormonal changes have caused by it such as those that occur during pregnancy or birth control intake, it will fade after giving birth or when you stop taking pills.

Melasma can last for a few years or the rest of their lives. If you wish to remove it and it does not fade over time, although treatments do not work for everyone, you can seek treatment to help eliminate or fade the patches. Still, there is also a possibility of melasma coming back even after successful treatment.

The following are treatments:

  • Hydroquinone is often used by doctors as the first line of treatment for melasma. They can be bought over the counter, but doctors can prescribe stronger creams as well.
  • Corticosteroids and tretinoin come in creams, lotions, or gels, which helps lighten the color of melasma patches.
  • Dermatologists sometimes prescribe combined creams that contain hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and tretinoin
  • And additional topical medications like dermatologists prescribing the use of azelaic acid or kojic acid as a prescription by a health professional.

Medical procedures include microdermabrasion, chemical peel, laser treatment, light therapy, and dermabrasion. Some medicines may be subject to side effects and can cause additional skin problems. The best way to combat these risks is to talk to a doctor or a dermatologist before these treatments.

If a person experienced melasma before, some things trigger the risk of melasma resurfacing again, and there are measures they must adhere;

  • Limit your sun exposure
  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear a hat or use an umbrella when outside

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