Chloasma Melasma

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Melasma is an area of tan or brown coloring that usually appearson the face.

What is going on in the body?

A woman with skin that pigments easily may develop melasma if she is pregnant or taking oral contraceptivesand then goes out in the sun. The pigmented area often appears like a mask across the cheeks and forehead or on the upper lip.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Melasma often occurs in women who are pregnant. For this reason, this condition is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy. It may also appear in womenwho take oral contraceptives.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Melasma causes tan or brown patches to appear on the face. These patches do not itch and are not red or swollen.

Diagnosis & Tests

How is the condition diagnosed?

A healthcare provider can diagnose melasma based on its physical appearance.

Prevention & Expectations

What can be done to prevent the condition?

In order to lower the risk of melasma, a woman can avoid oral contraceptives and stay out of the sun.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

There are no long-term effects from melasma.

What are the risks to others?

There are no risks to others, as melasma is not contagious.

Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment of melasma includes:

  • bleaching creams
  • skin care products and peels that contain glycolic acid
  • skin peels
  • sunscreens that extend into the UVA blocking range
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects depend on the specific products used to treat the melasma. Some people may have a mild allergic reaction to the cream or bleach.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    The darkened skin of melasma usually fades somewhat after a woman gives birth or stops usingoral contraceptives.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral