What is Melasma ?
Melasma is patches of brown pigmentation, usually in the face. It is more common in women, though men can also be affected. It is also more common in darker skin types. Melasma is usually more prominent in the summer months and fades in winter.
There are several factors that can cause melasma; genetics, sun exposure, birth control pill, pregnancy and some medications.
Most Dermatologists easily diagnose melasma from taking a history and examination of the skin. Using a Wood’s lamp helps distinguish the level of pigmentation within the skin. In some instances a skin biopsy might need to be done to confirm the diagnosis, and ensure the darkening is not due to other causes.
Treatment incudes avoiding triggers such as the birth control pill, sun avoidance and the use of sun protection, skin lightening creams (including prescription only products) and skin peels.