Melasma is a common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. More likely to affect women and people with darker skin tones, melasma affects more than six million women in the U.S. Although the exact causes of melasma are unclear, common triggers include sun exposure, pregnancy, birth control pills, and cosmetics.
Melasma usually appears on the cheeks, forehead, chin, bridge of the nose and above the upper lip, but it can also appear on the forearms or neck. Although it is not harmful, many people dislike the way melasma looks and seek treatment to make it less noticeable.
If you have melasma, dermatologists recommend the following tips for achieving a more even skin tone:
Sometimes melasma will fade on its own, particularly if it is triggered by pregnancy or birth controls pills, melasma can fade. However, if your melasma does not go away or you want to keep taking birth control pills, see a board-certified dermatologist to discuss available treatments for melasma, such as prescription medications or in-office procedures.