Melasma, or also known as Brown/Dark Spots, is a type of hyperpigmentation that results in dark, blotchy spots on the face, neck, chest and sometimes forearms. Melasma can occur in anyone, but is much more frequently found among women, especially women who are pregnant when it is called chloasma, and is sometimes referred to as the “pregnancy mask.” Although not a painful or dangerous problem, Melasma can be very distressing emotionally because of its alteration of the appearance. Melasma is not always a permanent condition. It may disappear in a woman several months after she gives birth, but may reoccur after unprotected exposure to the sun. While there is no cure for Melasma, there are safe and effective treatments in order to undo and reverse the appearance of it.
While the precise cause of Melasma is unknown, certain individuals have a genetic predisposition to developing this condition and it more frequently occurs in people with brown skin. Sun exposure can also make the development of Melasma more likely, so women in tropical climates are more prone to the condition.
Sometimes patients may achieve symptom relief if they stop taking estrogen and progesterone, the hormones linked to the disorder. Other treatments for Melasma may include topical skin-bleaching agents, chemical peels, microdermabrasions or dermabrasion and laser treatments.