Melasma is a very common patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration, primarily seen on the upper cheeks, lip, forehead and chin of women 20-50 years of age. Uncontrolled sunlight exposure is considered the leading cause of melasma, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Melasma is most common among pregnant women, called Chloasma, especially those of Latin and Asian descents. People with olive or darker skin, such as Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals, have higher incidences of melasma.
Some patients may not respond as well as others. Melasma lesions tend to darken after the first or subsequent treatments. Key factors in terms of treatment response are whether there is a sufficient melanin in the affected area, the depth of the lesion, and other factors. Regardless of the treatment response, recurrence is common and can be caused by factors such as sun exposure, genetic disposition and hormones. It is important to understand that melasma, like eczema and psoriasis, is a chronic condition that can be controlled rather than cured.