A condition characterized by brown or gray patches on the face, typically occurring during pregnancy or due to hormonal changes.

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Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by the development of dark, irregular patches on the skin, typically on the face. While not physically harmful, it can have a significant impact on an individual’s appearance and self-esteem. This article aims to provide factual information about melasma, including its symptoms, causes, effects, associated dangers, available treatments, and whether it is treatable.


The primary symptom of melasma is the appearance of dark, brown or gray-brown patches on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to sunlight, particularly the face. These patches are typically symmetrical and can occur on the cheeks, forehead, nose, upper lip, and chin. Melasma does not cause any physical discomfort or itching.

Who Suffers from It?

Melasma is more commonly observed in women, particularly those with darker skin tones. It is estimated that over 90% of cases occur in women, often during pregnancy or while taking hormonal contraceptives. However, men can also develop melasma. Additionally, individuals with a family history of melasma are more likely to experience it.

Effects of Melasma

While melasma is not physically harmful, it can have a significant impact on an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. The visible patches on the face can lead to feelings of self-consciousness, especially if they are prominent or cover a large area.

Dangers Associated with Melasma

From a medical standpoint, melasma is not dangerous. However, the emotional and psychological impact can be substantial. In some cases, the condition may persist for an extended period, leading to prolonged distress.

Is Melasma Treatable?

Yes, melasma is treatable, but complete resolution may not always be possible. Common treatments include:

  1. Topical Treatments: These may include creams or ointments containing ingredients like hydroquinone, retinoids, or corticosteroids to lighten the skin.
  2. Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin, which exfoliates the top layer and can help improve melasma.
  3. Laser Therapy: Certain types of lasers can target the pigmentation in melasma, helping to break it down and reduce its appearance.
  4. Combination Therapies: Dermatologists may recommend a combination of treatments for more effective results.
  5. Sun Protection: Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective clothing is crucial in managing melasma.


Melasma is a skin condition characterized by dark, irregular patches on the face. While it is not physically harmful, it can have a significant impact on an individual’s appearance and self-esteem. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can help manage the condition and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by melasma. Seeking advice from a dermatologist is recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment planning.

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Other dermatological conditions treated at Al Farid Hospital.