Melasma is a common pigmentation disorder that causes brown or gray patches to appear on the skin, primarily on the face.

The most common areas for melasma to appear include:

  • the bridge of the nose
  • the forehead
  • the cheeks
  • the upper lip


Melasma is the malfunction of the melanocytes, the color-making cells, in the skin, producing too much color.

People with darker skin tones having more melanocytes than people with lighter skin are more likely to develop melasma.

Potential triggers for melasma include:

  • changes in hormones from aging, during pregnancy (chloasma), undergo hormone therapy, or taking birth control pills for example.
  • sun exposure without protection.
  • some skin care products.
  • genetic.

Medical procedures for treatment.

The doctor may recommend procedures such as:

  • microdermabrasion
  • chemical peel
  • laser treatment
  • light therapy
  • dermabrasion

Some of these treatments have side effects or may cause additional skin problems. It is best to consult with a doctor about all the possible risks.

If a person has had melasma before, they can try to avoid triggers by:

  • limiting sun exposure
  • wearing a hat when outside
  • using sunscreen

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