Melasma is a condition that appears most commonly during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills. It is sometimes referred to as the 'mask of pregnancy', although the condition may be found in men as well. The condition usually fades on its own, although treatment may be helpful if it does not.
Appearance of Melasma
Melasma appears as a dark, pigmented area on the skin. It is most common on the cheeks, forehead and on other areas of the face. Some patients even notice melasma on their forearms or on their neck. Ultraviolet light from the sun may stimulate melanocytes (pigment producing cells) in the skin, causing them to produce excess pigment, which may trigger melasma.
Although the condition usually fades on its own after giving birth or once the woman stops taking birth control pills, there is still the risk of reappearance. To prevent the condition from reappearing after fading, women are advised to wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and avoid excessive sun exposure. Talk to a skincare professional if you notice these symptoms. While melasma is not considered a major medical concern, it may be a cosmetic concern for some people. Consult a skincare professional for treatment options and to learn more about melasma.