Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by increased hormone stimulation. It is most commonly experienced by women who are pregnant (which is why it’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) or taking contraceptives, but can also be caused by cosmetics or medications.
The most common pattern of melasma is centrofacial: on the chin, upper lip, cheeks, nose, and forehead. But it can also show up to a lesser extent on the cheeks, nose, and jaw line.
Studies suggest that up to 75% of women may develop melasma during pregnancy and about 33% of women on oral contraceptives show symptoms as well. However, once hormonal fluctuations subside, such as the end of the pregnancy or the discontinuing of oral contraceptives, the hyperpigmentation often disappears.
It’s important you speak with a skin care professional, especially if you’re pregnant, before beginning treatment for hyperpigmentation.