Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition causes dark, discolored patches on your skin.
It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too.
Symptoms of melasma
Melasma appears as either large, flat, irregular patches on various parts of your face, or freckle-sized spots that are called macules. They may appear on the bridge of your nose, above your upper lip, on your cheeks, forehead, and chin, and sometimes on your neck and forearms (though this is not as common). Melasma is simply an excessive amount of dark pigmentation. There are no physical ailments associated with the condition beyond the cosmetic symptoms.
Melasma itself is due to an increase in the amount of pigment in your skin. What causes it is not entirely known, but experts are fairly certain that a variety of factors can trigger it. Melasma can be brought on by:
- An excessive amount of sun exposure
- Being in the second or third trimester of pregnancy
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Receiving hormone replacement therapy
The most common reason for getting melasma is excessive exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet rays), and the condition is often triggered during summer months.