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What is Melasma?

melasma as a pigmentary condition that causes gray-brown patches, usually on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and above the upper lip. Melasma can also appear on other parts of the body that are exposed to the sun, like the forearms and neck.

Melasma does not cause any symptoms that you feel, but it can change the way your skin looks (and maybe your confidence levels too!).

What Causes Melasma?

Melasma can be caused by a combination of factors, including: sun exposure, hormones and genetics.

Much like other forms of hyperpigmentation, melasma is exacerbated by exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun stimulates melanocytes (color-producing cells in the skin) to produce too much pigment, resulting in gray-brown patches on the face. Melasma is often worse in the summer, when we spend more time outside in the sun.

In addition to (and sometimes, independent of) sun exposure, hormones seem to trigger melasma. Up to 70% of pregnant women suffer from melasma, and the condition is sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” Hormonal contraceptives and other hormone therapies can also instigate melasma.


Although we don't know the exact cause of melasma, there is a common thread amongst those who are affected.

Hormones: The role hormone abnormalities play in hyperpigmentation is especially influential when it comes to melasma. An imbalance of hormones affects melanin production in the skin, causing melanocytes to produce too much color.

Melasma is so common during pregnancy that melasma is sometimes called "the mask of pregnancy."

Genetics: Some have a genetic disposition to melasma as it tends to show up in families. Those with medium to dark skin are most commonly affected.

UV Light: UVA and UVB rays from the sun are major players in causing hyperpigmentation and worsen melasma. Recent studies show blue light emitted from computers and televisions can worsen melasma.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments in the reduction of melasma. PRP Treatments utilize your blood’s platelets, which are loaded with growth factors that initiate the healing process in the body. One of the growth factors released from platelets has been shown to have a dose dependent effect on inhibiting the enzyme that creates melanin, therefore decreasing melasma. PRP treatments can also increase skin volume and tone, resulting in more ‘glowing skin,’ countering the effects of melasma.

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