Why do you have black patches on your skin?

Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli

By Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli
MBBS, DHMS-Harvard, Masters in Clinical Dermatology

October 11th, 2022

Melasma is a typical skin condition. Your skin will develop spots of discoloration that are dark. When it affects pregnant women, it is also known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy.” Men can also get the illness, although women are significantly more likely to do so.

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 90% of those who acquire melasma are female. 

Your dermatologist could employ a specialized tool, such as a Wood’s lamp or dermatoscopy, to obtain a close-up view. These tools, put on (or close to) your skin, allow your dermatologist to assess how far into your skin’s layers the darker pigment has penetrated. If you’re trying to treat melasma, having this knowledge is really beneficial.

Melasma can occasionally resemble other skin conditions. Your dermatologist could do a skin biopsy, which entails the removal of a tiny portion of the skin, to rule this out. During your medical visit, a dermatologist can swiftly and securely perform a skin biopsy.

Where does melasma often develop?

Melasma often develops on your cheekbones, nose, chin, forehead, upper lip, and surrounding skin. Sometimes, it impacts your back, neck, and arms. Melasma may really damage any area of your skin that is exposed to the sun. Because of this, most melasma sufferers observe that their symptoms are worse in the summer.

Why is melasma common?

Skin conditions like melasma are highly prevalent, especially among pregnant women. It affects 15% to 50% of expectant mothers. Melasma can affect 1.5% to 33% of people, and it often appears during a woman’s reproductive years and infrequently during adolescence.

Typically, it begins between the ages of 20 and 40.

Melasma Symptoms

Discolored patches are a symptom of melasma. The patches are darker in color than your normal skin. It frequently affects the face and is symmetrical, with identical markings on both sides. Melasma can also appear on other parts of your body that are frequently exposed to the sun.

Brownish spots are typically seen on the: cheeks forehead nasal bridge chin

Additionally, the neck and forearms may be affected. Although skin darkening has no health risks, you could experience self-consciousness due to how it appears.

How is Melasma identified?

Melasma is frequently diagnosed by a visual examination of the afflicted region. Your healthcare expert could also carry out certain tests to rule out particular reasons.

An examination with a Wood’s light is one testing method. A unique form of light is held up to your skin in this manner. It enables your medical expert to examine your skin for fungal and bacterial infections as well as to assess how many layers of skin are affected by the melasma.

They could also take a biopsy in order to look for any significant skin problems. For testing, a little portion of the damaged skin must be removed.

What causes Melasma?

Melasma has two basic causes: hormones and radiation, including ultraviolet, visible, and infrared (heat) light.

The sun’s ultraviolet and infrared rays have a major role in aggravating melasma. Other potential melasma causes include:

  • Anti-seizure drugs: Medicines that stop seizures might be a factor in the development of melasma. Clobazam (Onfi®), an anti-seizure drug, is an illustration.
  • Melasma has been seen in those who take oral contraceptives that contain progesterone and estrogen (contraceptive medication, birth control).
  • Diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic (man-made) version of the hormone estrogen, is also known as estrogen. It is frequently employed in the treatment of prostate cancer. Once more, there is a correlation between elevated estrogen levels and melasma.


Consult a skin specialist if you have any of these melasma symptoms who focuses on treating skin conditions with advanced medicine and technology.

Why do you have black patches on your skin?
Why do you have black patches on your skin?
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