What Is Melasma And How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

Diagnosis and treatment of Melasma

What Is Melasma And How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

Melasma is a skin pigmentation condition that triggers the appearance of brown or gray patches on the skin. Mostly, it affects body parts that are often exposed to the sun, including the face, forearms, shoulders, and neck. According to statistics, it is more prevalent in women than in men. Also, expectant women are more likely to contract skin disorders. 

How is it diagnosed?

Visual examination

Doctors can diagnose melasma through a simple visual inspection. If the condition is apparent, your doctor will use his or her naked eyes to examine.

Use of the Wood’s lamp examination

Another diagnosis technique entails of use of the Wood’s lamp. It is a special kind of light that shines on your skin. The lighting allows your doctor to check for any fungal and bacterial infections and determine how deep the melasma has spread into the other layers of the skin.

Biopsy test

If the skin disorder isn’t evident, your doctor may turn to biopsy for further information. The biopsy test involves taking a tiny portion of the skin from the affected skin area and taking it to the lab for testing. The biopsy test is often the last resort after the health professional suspects it could be another skin condition.


In some cases, melasma disappears on its own, and in some, it takes medical intervention. Depending on the severity of your skin disorder, your doctor may recommend:


According to most doctors, hydroquinone is the first treatment option for melasma. It is available in the gel, lotion, or cream forms and is applied directly to the skin patches. You may find from over-the-counter but at milder alternatives, or your doctor may prescribe a more potent cream. When researching for a useful product, be on the lookout for products with vitamin B-3, licorice extract, N-acetylglucosamine, and hydroquinone in mild quantities.  It works by breaking up the skin pigments, eventually lightening the skin. 

Corticosteroids and tretinoin

They also work by lightening up the skin color on the melasma patches. Often found in lotion, gels or cream forms.

Laser treatment

Utilizes concentrated beams of light that are targeted on the affected areas. These beams of light break up the skin pigments, eventually treating melasma. Depending on the severity of the melasma spread, laser treatment may require more in-office sessions to address the melasma.

Chemical peels

They are composed of strong acid concentrations that work by scraping off the upper layers of the highly pigmented skin. It works well under constant application until the melasma is gone.

Protection from the sun

Too much exposure triggers the development of melasma. Protecting your skin from the sun might be the most effective treatment and care practice towards eradicating melasma, as well as preventing its reoccurrence. You may consider avoiding staying in the sun from 10 AM to 4 PM when the sun is hottest. Make sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher, your closest friend. Apply the sunscreen daily on all exposed parts of the skin such as the face, arms, and legs. You may also consider wearing clothes that cover these exposed areas. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from harmful sunlight rays.


For the severest of all melasma conditions, your dermatologist may suggest micro-needling. It utilizes tiny steel needles that are run on the skin with a medical-grade machine. Micro-needling is for the bold, although its effectiveness is guaranteed.

While melasma has been termed harmless on multiple occasions, many people affected by the skin condition suffer from low self-esteem. Seeking treatment ensures that the condition is eliminated, restoring confidence in affected individuals.  


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