What is Melasma?

  • Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches to appear, usually on the face.

  • It frequently appears on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip.

  • It also can appear on other parts of the body that has had significant sun exposure, such as the forearms and neck.


  • Ultraviolet (UV) light from sun exposure stimulates melanocytes to produce pigment in a disorganized way coming to the skins surface in a patchy.

  • Heat (sauna, BBQ, stove or fire) has also been known to trigger melasma.

  • Pregnant women often get melasma. When melasma appears in pregnant women, it is called chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy. Birth control pills and hormone replacement medication also can trigger melasma.

  • Skin care products can also worsen melasma if that product is irritating. 


  • One of the most effective treatments for melasma is sun avoidance and protection. It is also recommended you wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeve protective clothing when exposed. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need. 

  • Chemical peels and LASER for melasma must be performed by an experienced practitioner that has knowledge working with and managing melasma.