Melasma aka “mask of pregnancy” literally means dark skin. It affects both men and women

Commonly affected areas

  • Apples of the cheeks
  • Jaw line
  • Mid forehead
  • Areas around the mouth.

Pigment cells in the skin when stimulated become hyperactive and produce an excess of the unwanted pigment leading to a patchy discoloration. Some common triggers include

  • oestrogen supplements
  • Pregnancy
  • birth control pills
  • Sun exposure

Some women on oral contraceptive pills containing oestrogen develop Melasma. This doesn’t mean that they should discontinue the pill. They can opt for treating the Melasma but a separate effective regimen.


Oestrogens have the above side effects on the skin only on Sun exposure. The most important step in preventing Melasma is to avoid Sun exposure i.e., visible light, UVA and UVB. A true broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF greater than 30 should be applied multiple times a day. Sunscreen’s containing a physical block like Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide make the best ones. Newer formulations with micronizing technology are easier to use.

Wide brimmed hat of greater than 3 inches, extra-large sunglasses protect your face from the Sun. Try to avoid sun exposure between 10AM to 4 PM.


These are available alone or in combinations. Hydroquinone is the most popular one and comes in combinations of over the counter 1-2% and prescription strength of 4-12%.

Tretinoin, azeleic acid and topical steroids are other prescription medication which help in the bleaching process.

Some over the counter preparations contain mild amounts of hydroquinone, kojic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid and retinol.

Consult our doctor to find a preparation suitable for you.


Click here for the cost for Melasma.