Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life. - Anonymous

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What is melasma?

Melasma is a condition in which there is a darkening of the skin usually on the face in the form of tan or brown patches on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Exposure to direct sunlight usually makes it worse. The chances of getting melasma are higher if you’re pregnant or taking birth control pills.

Possible Causes: 

Melasma is a common skin condition in which brown patches appear on the skin. While the exact causes of melasma have not been identified, it is seen when the colour-producing cells in our skin produce too much colour.

Risk Factors: 

People who spend a lot of time in the sun, or those who live in tropical climates are more prone to melasma. Young women tend to get melasma more, and it is associated with the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy are some of the other factors that are associated with melasma.

Melasma affects people with darker skin, such as those of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean descent more than others. 

Signs & Symptoms: 

The most common symptom of melasma is brown patches on the face. Some people get patches on their arms or neck. There is no discomfort related to these patches, but you may not like how they affect your appearance.


The dermatologist at Medcare will usually be able to diagnose melasma with just a visual examination of your skin and can estimate the depth of melasma by looking at it under a woods lamp. In case the doctor wishes to rule out another condition, a biopsy may be prescribed.

Treatment Options: 

At Medcare, your dermatologist may prescribe topical medications that are applied to the patches to lighten the skin. In some cases, a procedure may be prescribed. Procedures to treat melasma include chemical peel, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, laser treatment, or a light-based procedure.

After your melasma clears, you may need to continue with maintenance therapy which includes using a sunscreen lotion and a bleaching cream. 

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الأسئلة الشائعة:


  • I am prone to melasma, what precautions should I take?

    A: If your skin is prone to melasma, you can try to limit your exposure to the sun. Wear a hat when you are outdoors and always use a sunscreen.

  • I think my birth control pills are causing melasma, what should I do?

    A: If you develop melasma after taking birth control pills, you should speak to your gynaecologist, who could prescribe a different pill, or an alternate method of birth control.

  • What type of sun protection creams give the best protection against melasma?

    A: A daily sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50 that contains physical blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is best for you.

  • I saw online advertisements for skin lightening products, should I use these for my melasma?

    A: It would be best to check with your dermatologist before trying any skin lightening products. Some products that claim to lighten the skin have been found to be unsafe.

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