Melasma produces dark brown patches of pigmentation on sun-exposed areas, usually the face.
Melasma tends to appear during pregnancy (mask of pregnancy) and in women who take oral contraceptives, although it can occur in anyone. The disorder is most common in sunny climates and in people of Latin or Asian origin.
Melasma produces irregular, patchy areas of dark color that are the same on both sides of the face. The pigmentation most often occurs in the center of the face and on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. Sometimes people have the patches only on the sides of the face. Rarely, melasma appears on the forearms.
The patches do not itch or hurt and are only of cosmetic significance.
Melasma usually fades after pregnancy or when an oral contraceptive is discontinued. People with melasma can use sunscreens on the dark patches and avoid sun exposure to prevent the condition from getting worse.