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Hyper pigmentation or chloasma Overview

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Hyper pigmentation or chloasma Overview

Melasma is a tan or dark skin discoloration. It’s also called chloasma, Melasma can effect any one but it is more common in women  especially pregnant women for the reason it is called as “mask of pregnancy,”and people those who are taking oral or patch contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of Melasma are patches of discoloration on skin, where as patches  are darker than your typical skin color which typically occur on the face and body places  often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.

Brownish colored patches usually appear on the:

  • cheeks
  • forehead
  • bridge of the nose
  • chin

Causes and risk factors associated with Melasma

Skin color is determined by pigments called melanin that are produced by specialized cells (melanocytes) of the skin. Female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone to produce more melanin pigments. But Sometimes, the melanin production goes awry; either too little or too much melanin is produced which causing skin pigmentation disorders.

  • Genetic predisposition is also a major factor in determining whether someone will develop melasma.
  • Some melasma can be seen in patients suffering with thyroid.
  • Some other causes like stress, allergic reaction to medication and cosmetics.


  • Melasma is usually diagnosed visually or with assistance of a Wood’s lamp (340 – 400 nm wavelength)
  • Some other diagnosis methods are
    • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
    • Actinic lichen planus
    • Hydroquinone-induced exogenous ochronosis


  • The discoloration usually disappears spontaneously over a period of time after giving birth or stopping the oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Some creams are prescribed that lighten the skin and some steroids are recommended to lighten the affected areas.
  • In some conditions chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion are possible options.
  • Treatments to hasten the fading of the discolored patches include
    • hydroquinone
    • Tretinoin,
    • Azelaic acid
  • Cosmetic camouflage can also be used to hide melasma.

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