Could Melasma Be Stress-Related?

What started off as a small brown spot on my forehead a couple of years ago has now become a large very dark brown square with 2 smudges either side of my nose and a dark brown smudge above my top lip. I was wondering if this is linked to my high stress levels as it started to develop when I embarked on a university nursing course.

Doctor Answers 4

Treatments for melasma and skin pigmentation in Los Angeles

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Melasma does have a stress component, as stress can affect cortisol and hormonal patterns in the body.  Sun exposure and hormones play an important role as well.  I use a Melaquin Skin Brightening protocol for the treatment of melasma, in addition to chemical peels and lasers in my Los Angeles office.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Can Stress Affect Melasma?

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Hi London.  It is known that changes in hormonal levels can affect the appearance of Melasma.  There is also some research to indicate that Melasma and be linked to stress with the "release of MSH by the hypothalmus".  

Besides hormonal changes, other triggers that can make Melasma worse are extreme heat and humidity and sun exposure.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Melasma and Stress

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Melasma is caused by excessive pigmentation in the skin, leading to brown patches on the face, usually in women.  Common triggers include pregnancy, hormonal contraception, and sun exposure.  There is no evidence that stress can worsen or cause melasma.  There are several effective treatment options for this often chronic skin discoloration.  Best of luck.  

Stress does not increase the severity of melasma

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Stress does not increase the severity of melasma. Melasma is due to genetics, hormones, and sun exposure and is not worsened with anxiety, although anxiety does diminish quality of life.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist

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.