Melasma is a common skin problem. It is more common in women, and appears as brown to gray-brown patches on the face, usually on the cheeks or upper lip, but can appear in other areas as well. The cause of melasma is not completely known, but it often occurs with pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement pills, or other hormonal changes. Therefore its thought to be caused by hormones. When the pregnancy ends, or the birth control or hormone pills are discontinued, the skin changes often persist. There are some treatments for this condition, but the discoloration is likely to recur with sun exposure; there is no cure.

Treatments options:
◦ The most important treatment for melasma is sun protection or avoidance. This means wearing sunblock every day of the year and reapplying it every 2 hours, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside
◦ Hydroquinone cream, a topical lightening cream that should only be used for one month at a time
◦ Prescription topical tretinoin creams
◦ Topical azelaic acid or kojic acid preparations
◦ Chemical peels; since many things may worsen this condition it is important that a dermatologist should perform or guide this treatment
◦ If you notice any of the following after treating melasma, be sure to call your dermatologist: skin irritation, more darkening of the skin