Skin Condition » Melasma

What is melasma?

Melasma is a very common dyspigmentation presenting with patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial discoloration. It is almost entirely seen in women in the reproductive years, typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20-50 years of age. However, it is uncommon in males. It is thought to be primarily related to external sun exposure, external female hormones such as birth control pills, and internal hormonal changes in pregnancy. Most people with melasma have had a history of frequent sun exposure. Melasma is common among pregnant women, especially those of Latin and Asian descents. People with olive or darker skin, like Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals, have higher incidences of melasma.


Prevention is primarily aimed at facial sun protection and sun avoidance.


Treatment requires regular sunscreen application and lightening creams. Photofacial IPL and Qswitch YAG 1064 can be the treatment options. However, IPL is for only superficial melasma. If it has been used for mixed type or dermal melasma, hyperpigmentation may develop. Currently, there are several studies supporting combination therapy between Q swtich NdYAG (Medlite C6) and intradermal TM to treat melasma showing better results.


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