What is Melasma?
Melasma is a skin condition characterized by brown or blue-gray patches of skin or freckle like spots. It often appears on the face, cheekbones or chin line, but can appear on any sun exposed area of the body. Melasma typically darkens or lightens over time with sun exposure, getting more noticeable in summer and less in the winter.
What causes Melasma?
Melasma is caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that produces skin color. It is affected or accelerated by sun exposure, genetic predisposition and hormones. Melasma is seen more in women than men, more in people with fair than dark skin and most often in pregnant women. It is sometimes called, “the mask of pregnancy”.
How is Melasma diagnosed?
The condition is easily diagnosed by a dermatologist through visual examination. A biopsy may sometimes be necessary for further examination in a laboratory. While melasma is a harmless skin condition, it is always advised to have a dermatologist examine the area and make the diagnosis as some skin cancers can mimic melasma.