Melasma: All we need to know
Melasma is a skin problem that causes dark and discolored patches on the skin.
There are more than 1 million cases in India each year. It mostly affects people above 19 years of age. 
- Not self-treatable
- Laboratory tests and imaging not required
- Chronic: Can persist for years or can be lifelong
Also known as: chloasma or mark of pregnancy (when occurs in pregnant women)
It can affect both men and women but is more common in women
The main cause of melasma is not clear. Some of the possible causes are:
- Birth control pills
- Hormone therapy
- Stress and thyroid disease
- Sun exposure
The patches of melasma more commonly occur on body parts such as cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin.
Self-diagnosable: Patches of discoloration but usually darker than the natural color of skin. The common color of the patches is brown or grey-brown. Patches occurring on the face are symmetrical and occurs on both the cheeks.
People may experience: darkening of skin
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Doctor can diagnose melasma just by looking at the patches.
- Rarely, a test known as Woodâ€™s lamp examination may be done in order to exclude bacterial and fungal infections.
- Skin biopsy, to check for the other skin disorders can be done to confirm the diagnosis.
For pregnant women, melasma disappears on its own.
Self care: apply sunscreen to protect skin from the harmful UV Rays of the sun.
Medicines: the doctor may suggest steroids, depigmenting agents, vitamin A derivative and topical antiseptic. Also, creams used to lighten the skin can help in reducing patches.
Specialists: for further concern, contact a doctor or a dermatologist. At mfine, you will receive a holistic treatment plan for optimum health.