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Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation. While its exact cause is unknown, it mainly occurs in the context of pregnancy, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and other hormonal imbalances. Men are rarely affected.

Melasma is commonly referred to as the “pregnancy mask” as it appears symmetrically on the cheeks and forehead of pregnant or lactating women in the shape of a mask. It may manifest on the upper lip, chin, and jawline as well and can persist long after childbirth. 

There is quite a bit that can be done to improve melasma. Our dermatologists evaluate what is best for each patient’s skin and prescribe a customized prescription formula accordingly. Here are the prescription compounds we prescribe for this condition: (in no particular order): tretinoin, niacinamide, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, kojic acid, mandelic acid, etc.

Strict sun protection is a must, including sunscreen with SPF greater than 30 and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Read Dr. Allison Truong's article on treating melasma here.