St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Melasma

    Chloasma; Mask of pregnancy; Pregnancy mask

    Melasma ispatches of dark skin that appear onareas of the face exposed to the sun.

    Causes

    Melasma is a very common skin disorder. It is most common in young women with brownish skin tone, but it can affect anyone.

    Melasma is often associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is common in:

    • Pregnant women
    • Womentaking birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
    • Women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause.

    Being in the sun makesmelasma more likely to develop. The problem is more common in tropical climates.

    Symptoms

    The only symptom of melasma is change in skin color. However, this can cause distress abouthow you look.

    The skin color changes aremost often an even brown color. They usually appear on thecheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Dark patches are usually symmetrical (matching on both sides of the face).

    Exams and Tests

    Your health care provider will look at your skin to diagnose the problem. A closer exam using a Wood's lamp may help guide your treatment.

    Treatment

    Treatments may include:

    • Creams containing a combination of tretinoin, hydroquione, kojic acid, and azelaic acid have been shown to improve the appearance of melasma.
    • Chemical peels or topical steroid creams
    • Laser treatments can be used to remove the dark pigment if problem is severe.
    • Stopping hormone medicines that may be causing the problem

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Melasma often fades over several months after youstop taking hormone medicines or pregnancy ends.The problem may come back in future pregnancies or use if you use these medicines again.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have darkening of your face that does not go away.

    Prevention

    Using sunscreen every dahelps prevent melasma. Sunscreen use also helps preventskin cancer and wrinkles.

    References

    Habif TP. Light-related diseases and disorders of pigmentation. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 19.

    Sood A, Tomecki KJ. Pigmentary disorders. In: Carey WD, ed. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010.

    BACK TO TOP

          Self Care

          Review Date: 11/20/2012

          Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile