Dark Spots on the Face: What Causes Melasma?

Melasma is an extremely common skin condition that presents in darker patches of skin, usually appearing on the face. It is believed to affect between 1.5 and 33% of the population. It can affect anyone but tends to be more common in women, where it will most often show up as brown patches on the forehead, nose bridge, and cheeks on the face. Of course, it can appear on other parts of the body as well, such as the neck, shoulders, and forearms.

What Causes Melasma?

Although this is a very common skin condition that affects many people in the population, there isn’t a great deal known about its underlying cause. It is known to be caused by the malfunction of the color-making cells in the skin called melanocytes. However, what causes this malfunction isn’t totally understood, though certain risk factors do seem to be at play.

Risk Factors for Melasma

While they aren’t always present, in most cases, one or more of the following factors are involved when a patient presents with melasma:

  • Sun exposure: Exposure to UV rays has been shown to trigger melasma.
  • Female sex: Melasma disproportionately affects females, impacting them about nine times more often than the male population.
  • Skin color: In many cases, melasma is found in people with light brown skin tones. Of course, it can affect all races.
  • Genetics: There seems to be a genetic correlation to melasma, as about half of melasma sufferers say they have close relatives who also have the condition.
  • Pregnancy: Melasma is a condition that is very common during pregnancy. This is believed to be associated with the excess hormones present during pregnancy.

Diagnosing Melasma

A visit to a dermatologist, such as Dr. Bertha Baum at Aventura Dermatology, is the best way to determine if you are experiencing melasma. Other conditions can mimic the symptoms, so in many cases, a biopsy can be taken to rule out other problems. However, in most cases, Dr. Baum can diagnose this condition during a visual exam.

Treatment for Melasma

If melasma patches do not fade, then there are treatments available, such as hydroquinone cream, tretinoin, and corticosteroids. Light therapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and other treatments can also be tried if the condition continues to be problematic.

Schedule a Consultation for Melasma Treatment in Aventura, FL

If you suspect that you may be experiencing melasma, there’s no reason to delay treatment. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Bertha Baum at Aventura Dermatology today by calling (754) 544-9030.

Book An Appointment Online Now


"*" indicates required fields

A member of the DermCare© family of companies.

dermcare logo

Please welcome the newest addition to our team, Maria Subacheva, Aesthetician!

Maria Subacheva LME

Maria Subacheva,


Scroll to Top