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Melasma (Greek: "a black spot") is an acquired light - or dark-brown hyperpigmentation that occurs in the exposed areas, most often on the face, and results from exposure to sunlight; may be associated with pregnancy, with ingestion of contraceptive hormones, or possibly with certain medications such as diphenylhydantoin, or may be idiopathic.


Unknown. Estrogen preparations alone, however, given to postmenopausal women do not cause melasma, despite sun exposure. However, pregnancy causes melasma, and combinations of estrogen and progestational agents, as used for contraception, are the most frequent cause of melasma.


Melasma doesn't cause any other symptoms besides skin discoloration but may be of great cosmetic concern.

A uniform brown color is usually seen over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. It is most often symmetrical (matching on both sides of the face).

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