Esthetician's Guide to Melasma

This condition appears in the ASCP SkinPro app


A hyperpigmentation disorder that occurs almost exclusively in women; commonly known as “the mask of pregnancy,” as many women have it while pregnant. Fortunately, it clears spontaneously for many after childbirth.


  • Occurs almost exclusively in women.
  • Triggered by hormones during pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Manifests in three different patterns on the face: centrofacial, mandibular, malar.
  • Triggered by hormones during pregnancy and by the use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. 

Treatment Considerations

  • Avoid sun exposure and apply broad-spectrum SPF daily. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the sunscreen agents of choice, as these two ingredients screen the most UV rays.
  • Glycolic or salicylic acid serums and conservative peels may be effective in cases of epidermal melasma.
  • Natural melanin suppressants may be effective in cases of epidermal melasma.
  • Dermal hyperpigmentation is much more difficult to treat and results are not consistent.

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