Journal of Dermatology Research and Skin Care

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Mini Review - Journal of Dermatology Research and Skin Care (2023) Volume 7, Issue 5

A brief note on causes, symptoms and diagnosis of melasma.

John Jimbow*

Department of Dermatology, Andreas Sygros Hospital, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

*Corresponding Author:
John Jimbow
Department of Dermatology
Andreas Sygros Hospital, University of Athens
Athens, Greece

Received:28-Sept-2023,Manuscript No. AADRSC-23-116019; Editor assigned: 02-Sept-2023, PreQC No. AADRSC-23-116019(PQ); Reviewed:15-Oct-2023, QC No. AADRSC-23-116019; Revised:21-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AADRSC-23-116019(R); Published:27-Oct-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aadrsc- 7.5.171

Citation: Jimbow J. A brief note on causes, symptoms and diagnosis of melasma. Dermatol Res Skin Care. 2023; 7(5):171

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Melasma is a common, acquired pigmentary disorder characterized by irregular, brown to gray-brown patches on sun-exposed areas of the skin, primarily affecting women of reproductive age. The diagnosis of melasma involves a combination of clinical evaluation, patient history, and, in some cases, dermatoscopic or histopathological examination. This abstract provides an overview of the key diagnostic methods and considerations in the evaluation of melasma.


Melasma, Diagnosis, Pigmentary disorder, Dermatoscopy, Histopathology.


Melasma often referred to as "the mask of pregnancy," is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by brown or grayish-brown patches on the face, melasma can be distressing for those who experience it. I n this comprehensive article, we will explore what melasma is, its causes, symptoms, risk factors, and various treatment options available to manage this skin condition. Melasma is a dermatological condition characterized by the development of brown or grayish-brown patches on the face, primarily on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, and chin. It can also appear on other areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the arms and neck. Melasma is more common in women than in men, and it often becomes more noticeable during pregnancy, earning it the nickname the mask of pregnancy[1].

Causes of melasma

The exact cause of melasma is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development:


Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during pregnancy, can trigger melasma. Additionally, hormonal medications like birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk[2].

Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun stimulate the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. Excessive sun exposure can worsen melasma and increase the pigmentation of existing patches.

Genetics: There is evidence to suggest that genetics play a role in melasma. If you have a family history of the condition, you may be at a higher risk of developing it.

Skin type: Individuals with darker skin tones, particularly those of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, or African descent, are more prone to melasma[3].

Symptoms of melasma

The primary symptom of melasma is the appearance of dark, irregularly shaped patches on the skin. These patches are typically painless and do not cause any physical discomfort. Melasma is often classified into three distinct patterns:

Epidermal melasma: This type of melasma is characterized by the presence of excess melanin in the top layer of the skin (epidermis). The pigmentation is often brown and can improve with treatment.

Dermal melasma: Dermal melasma involves the deposition of melanin in the deeper layers of the skin (dermis). The pigmentation is usually bluish-gray and can be more challenging to treat.

Mixed melasma: Mixed melasma presents a combination of both epidermal and dermal pigmentation, leading to a variable appearance[4].

Risk factors for melasma

Several risk factors can increase an individual's susceptibility to developing melasma:

Gender: Women are more likely to develop melasma, particularly during pregnancy or when using hormonal contraceptives.

Family history: A family history of melasma may increase the risk of developing the condition.

Skin type: People with darker skin tones, including those of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, or African descent, are at a higher risk.

Sun exposure: Excessive sun exposure and inadequate sun protection can exacerbate melasma.

Hormonal factors: Hormonal changes, such as those associated with pregnancy, can trigger melasma or make it worse.

Cosmetics and skincare products: Certain cosmetics and skincare products, especially those that irritate the skin, can contribute to melasma.

Diagnosis of melasma

A dermatologist can typically diagnose melasma based on a visual examination of the affected skin. In some cases, a Wood's lamp, which uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the pigmented areas, may be used to determine the depth of pigmentation. It's essential to rule out other skin conditions that may mimic melasma, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or lentigo[5].


Melasma is a common and often distressing skin condition characterized by brown or grayish-brown patches on the face and other sun-exposed areas of the body. While its exact cause remains unclear, hormonal changes, sun exposure, genetics, and skin type are all believed to contribute to its development. Effective management of melasma involves a combination of strategies, including sun protection, topical creams, chemical peels, laser therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. It's essential for individuals with melasma to consult a dermatologist for a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. With the right approach, melasma can be managed, and its appearance can be significantly improved. Additionally, maintaining proper sun protection and skincare can help prevent its recurrence, allowing individuals to enjoy healthy and radiant skin.


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