Melasma is a skin condition characterised by blotchy pigmentation occurring in a somewhat symmetrical fashion on the face. Common areas include the forehead, upper lip and upper cheeks.
It is primarily found in adult women between the ages of 20 and 40 but can affect men as well. Melasma often darkens in summer and lightens in the winter and is made worse by heat. Melasma can affect self confidence and be debilitating for some.
Melasma is caused mainly by hormonal factors, frequently onset by pregnancy, the contraceptive pill or those with polycystic ovaries (PCOS). It is further enhanced by sun exposure.
Melasma primarily presents as patches of lighter or darker brown pigmentation, usually to the cheeks, forehead and upper lip of affected individuals. Due to its high occurrence in pregnant women, it has been referred to as the mask of pregnancy.
Melasma is generally classified according to where the pigment is located in this skin; more superficially in the epidermis, deeper in the dermis, or a combination of both. Those with deeper dermal pigmentation are much more difficult to treat. We see and treat a combination of epidermal and dermal melasma at Youth Lab and can recommend treatments suitable for both.