Melasma (“Pregnancy mask”)

Image of a woman suffering from melasma

Melasma is a common skin problem. It is the appearance of brown to greyish spots on the skin of the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip due to overproduction of the pigment melanin. Women are much more likely than men to get melasma. It occurs quite often during and after pregnancy, which is why it is called a “pregnancy mask“.

What are the causes of melasma?

The causes of melasma may be the following:
– Intense sun exposure
– Hormonal factors – pregnancy, taking contraception, hormone replacement therapy, impaired ovarian function, etc.
– Endocrine factors – diseases of the thyroid and adrenal glands
– Genetic predisposition
– Medications – provocation after taking medication
– Cosmetic products 

How to treat melasma?

Treatment of melasma is difficult and sometimes requires months, even years. The gold standard for the solution of this problem is the locally applied formulations in the form of creams, gels and lotions containing active ingredients that regulate the colouring of the skin, such as:
– Hydroquinone 2-4%
– Tretinoin and corticosteroids
– Other topical medicines containing azelaic acid, codic acid and others
– Chemical peeling
– Laser therapy – applied ONLY in the absence of an effect of the above-mentioned methods

How to protect the skin from the occurrence of melasma?

The best solution is the daily use of a wide-spectrum sunscreen with a high factor (at least 30 or 50) and, of course, a responsible attitude to sun exposure.