Melasma Birth Control

Can birth control pills cause melasma? How can one avoid melasma and be on the pill?

Doctor Answers 4

Hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone) and Melasma

Melasma is a benign skin condition characterized by hyperpigmentation. The causes are numerous, including sun exposure, genetics, hormones, and sun exposure.

Melasma may worsen with birth control pills, exogenous estrogens, pregnancy, estrogen replacement therapy, and even plant estrogens in your diet. Stopping birth control pills may lighten existing melasma but may not resolve it completely.

Our office uses a very aggressive protocol to diminish melasma. However, as long as you're on birth control pills without getting treatment, your melasma will worsen.

Speak to an experienced physician about your melasma as there are numerous effective programs to reduce the hyperpigmentation.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Birth Control & Melasma

As hormone levels may change during events such as pregnancy or due to birth control pills, brown, uneven patches can appear on a woman’s face when the skin is exposed to the sun. It seems that sunlight triggers the pigment-producing cells in the skin to go into overdrive. Called the melasma, these dark patches may persist and not improve even with bleaching creams.We commonly treat these brown spots or patches with chemical peels (which exfoliate the outermost layer of skin, removing the dark spots), light therapy and lasers(the energy blasts away pigment).
You can create more even toned skin through the state-of-the-art treatments we offer. But long-term results depend on staying out of the sun and wearing a daily broad-spectrum sun protection whenever you are out in the sun, driving in your car, or sitting by a window (the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through glass).

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Melasma can be related to birth control use

Melasma is a splotchy brown discoloration that occurs on the face and neck.. It tends to occur in women who are pregnant (often called the Mask of Pregnancy) or taking ior taking oral contraceptive pills.  Not all patients on birth control will develop Melasma.  In fact, Melasma may occur in women who do not take birth control pills.  The exact cause of Melasma is unknown but hereditary and hormones both play a role. 

Sunlight exposure is another important factor in the development of Melasma.  The single most important thing you can do is protecting yourself from the sun.  This is because the pigment-producing cells in the skin called melanocytes that are responsible for Melasma are stimulated by the sun’s UV rays. Even when it is cloudy outside, the sun’s rays can penetrate the skin. For daily use, select a facial moisturizer with sunscreen that offers “broad-spectrum protection (covers both UVA and UVB) with at least SPF 45 or more. If you plan to be outside for a significant period of time, wear a hat!

Margaret Mann, MD
Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Melasma and birth control pills

Melasma is hyperpigmentaion of the skin that can be brought on by any change in hormone levels. So yes, it can occur from birth conrol pills.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 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.