Melasma is a skin condition that presents as a brown patchy discoloration on the face, most commonly on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, temples and nose. This condition usually affects women, although men can be affected.
Melasma most often affects those with darker skin color, and exacerbating factors include pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and, of course, sun exposure.
Genetics are also important and people with a family history of melasma are more likely to develop melasma themselves.
While there is no cure for melasma, many treatments have been developed. Sunscreens are essential in the treatment of melasma, and they should be broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB. Treatments include a variety of “bleaching” creams, chemical peels, and laser surgery.
Special cosmetics may be used to camouflage the pigmentation as well.