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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

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Adult Skin Problems

Photo of melasma (pregnancy mask) on woman

Melasma ('Pregnancy Mask') on Cheek

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© ISM / Phototake -- All rights reserved.

An example of hyperpigmentation is melasma (also known as chloasma). This condition is characterized by tan or brown patches, most commonly on the face. Melasma can occur in pregnant women and is often called the "mask of pregnancy;" however, men can also develop this condition. Melasma frequently goes away after pregnancy. It can also be treated with certain prescription creams (such as hydroquinone).

If you have melasma, try to limit your exposure to sunlight. Use a sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) at all times, because sunlight will worsen your condition. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best; although, sunscreens with Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) will also provide good protection.

Consult with your doctor before treating the condition yourself. Read more about Melasma.

Reviewed on September 15, 2009

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