Melasma also known as the mask of pregnancy is hyperpigmentation that forms patches of brown to gray-brown patches on the face. It’s most often found on the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, chin and above the upper lip. Melasma occurs when the color making cells in the skin or melanocytes produce too much color. If you have a darker complexion you’re more prone to melasma because you have more active melanocytes than someone with a lighter complexion.
Common causes include:
Sun exposure: Ultraviolet or UV light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes. Even just a small amount of sun exposure can make your melasma return after fading. It often gets worse in the summer with continued sun exposure.
Change in hormones: Melasma is common in pregnant women, is often called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy. Birth control pills can also trigger melasma.
Not all hyperpigmentation is Melasma. To be properly diagnosed, you will need to see a Dermatologist.
Hydroquinone-this can be found in a 2% strength OTC or 4% strength with a prescription, to help lighten the skin.
Tretinoin- a prescription vitamin A or all-trans retinoic acid enhances skin lightening.
Professional treatments that may help include: chemical peels, microdermabrasion and dermabrasion.
Melasma is a difficult skin condition to treat because sun exposure, the main cause, is present in our everyday lives. It’s very important to wear sunscreen every day and reapply every 2 hours. If you know you will be in the sun for long periods of time, be sure to wear a wide brim floppy hat for more coverage.
We recommend PCA SKIN Pigment Gel and Colorscience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Sun Protection Brush SPF 50 for best results.