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What is melasma?

Melasma is a symmetrical skin discoloration (tan, brown, blue or black) found on sun-exposed areas of the face. It is commonly seen on cheeks and nose, but can extend to forehead and jawline.

What causes melasma?

Women with darker skin tones (especially Hispanic, Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern) are at greatest risk. Melasma is also associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This makes it common in pregnant women, women who are taking oral contraceptives, and women taking hormone replacement therapy during menopause. Sun exposure is strongly associated with melasma.

What are the common Sites?

The common sites are cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, jaw line, and upper lip.

Is melasma hereditary?

There seems to be some genetic correlation in those who develop melasma. If you have close family and relatives who have had this condition, you may be more likely to develop melasma.

What is the role of sunscreen in melasma?

Melasma is a condition with multiple causative factors. Some are internal and difficult to modify and some are external and modifiable. Sun exposure is such an external factor that can be controlled. We recommend regular use of sunscreens as both a prevention and treatment for melasma.

What treatment options are available?

Wearing a sunscreen even when indoors is recommended. Repeat of sunscreen every 4 hourly is essential. There are a lot of treatment options available for reducing the pigmentation such as Skin Lightening Creams, Chemical Peels, Lasers etc.

Does Melasma Recur?

Unfortunately yes. Hormonal disturbances or sun exposure can cause recurrence of melasma.