Advice and answers from the Cortina Health Team

What is Melasma (hyperpigmentation)

Updated 2 months ago

What is melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition that causes patches and spots, usually on the face, which are darker than your natural skin tone. While common, melasma can be mistaken for another skin condition. Board-certified dermatologists have the expertise required to give you an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.

Is melasma contagious? No

Melasma is most common in women

Many women first see these blotchy patches and freckle-like spots on their face during pregnancy or when they start taking birth control pills. Melasma is so common during pregnancy that it’s sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy.”

For some women, the melasma goes away after their baby is born or they stop taking birth control pills.

Melasma often begins during pregnancy

The blotchy brownish areas and freckle-like spots on this woman’s face are melasma, which first appeared while she was pregnant.

Women who have medium to dark skin tones are most likely to develop melasma. When melasma appears, it can cause tan, brown, grayish brown, or bluish gray patches and freckle-like spots. These usually appear on certain areas of face like the cheeks, forehead, chin, and even above the upper lip. While less common, melasma can develop on the arms, neck, or elsewhere.

What can get rid of melasma?

While melasma may go away on its own, this skin condition can also last for years.

If you dislike the discoloration on your skin caused by melasma certain treatments can sometimes help. Dermatologists recommend treating melasma sooner rather than later. It can be difficult to get noticeable results from treatment if you’ve had melasma for many years.

However, if you are pregnant, wait until you have your baby to treat melasma. If you use a melasma treatment that you can buy without a prescription, it can be difficult to know whether it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Also, melasma may improve and sometimes even go away after you give birth.