What is Melasma - Condition and Causes?

Being 33 and male, I was diagnosed by my derm as having melasma. I had a chemical peel, picked the scab, and it left a dark mark exactly where the scab was. My question is, is melasma just a word to describe a condition or is it a condition with a specific cause? If it is a condition with a specific cause (hormones), there's no way my derm could know this about me without some objective lab exams, right?

Doctor Answers (5)

Melarase creams for melasma

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Melasma is a skin condition characterized by facial discoloration, likely caused by a combination of hormones, sun exposure, and inflammation. I usually treat this condition with Melarase creams. Raffy Karamanoukian Los Angeles


Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Melasma

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Melasma is a multifactorial condition, usually caused by sun exposure and hormonal factors.  Check out torontodermatologycentre.com website for some more information about melasma

Anatoli Freiman, MD
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Melasma is usually the result of estrogen (female hormone), genetic predisposition, and sunlight

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Melasma is usually the result of estrogen (female hormone), genetic predisposition, and sunlight. It is unusual in males.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

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Melasma - Condition and Causes?

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Hi Mike.  Melasma is a condition associated with excess pigmentation (color) of the face.  It occurs most frequently in women that are undergoing hormonal changes such as birth control, pregnancy and menopause.  It is often referred to as the "pregnancy mask".  The hormonal changes cause production of excess melanocytes (colored skin cells) and this in turn shows up on the face as patches of brown skin.

Even though it occurs most commonly in women, men also can be diagnosed with Melasma.  The condition is usually diagnosed using the medical history and an analysis of the pigment patterns, sometimes with a UV lamp to view the pattern below the surface of the skin.

At our facility, Melasma is treated using high strength hydroquinone bleaching programs (6% - 8%).  It is cautioned that a resting period of 1 month be used after three successive months of using hydroquinone at these strengths.  We have found the HQ bleaching programs to be the most effective management tool for Melasma.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

What is Melasma

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Regarding: "What is Melasma - Condition and Causes?
Being 33 and male, I was diagnosed by my derm as having melasma. I had a chemical peel, picked the scab, and it left a dark mark exactly where the scab was. My question is, is melasma just a word to describe a condition or is it a condition with a specific cause? If it is a condition with a specific cause (hormones), there's no way my derm could know this about me without some objective lab exams, right
?"

Sounds like you and your Dermatologist need to do a lot more talking. Melasma is a large area of irregular hyperpigmentation of the face. It does NOT have one specific cause by is seen in multiple conditions notably pregnancy, in women taking birth control pills, in exposure to sun or UV rays, those taking a certain anti-seizure medication, Addison's disease etc.

It IS correctable in many cases. Speak with your dermatologist.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.