Commonly known as the mask of pregnancy it can also develop in non pregnant women. It is a light or dark brown pigmentation that occurs symmetrically in sun exposed areas of the face. Most commonly it affects the central part of the face including cheeks, nose and forehead. It occurs most often in dark skinned people of which only 10% are men. Melasma is more commonly associated with excessive hormonal influence including pregnancy, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy and is aggravated by sun exposure.
Melasma can be difficult to treat but good results can be obtained through a combination of sun protection, exfoliating, lightening agents & tyrosinase inhibitors that block melanin production. Professional treatments such as chemical peels are effective in breaking up this pigment but require patience due to the depth of the pigment. Using a physical block sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen with active ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide must be applied daily.