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Melasma is a common skin condition that can be easily and safely treated. It is often a form of grey to brownish patches of hyperpigmentation and may be associated with the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. It is especially common in pregnant women (sometimes called 'the mask of pregnancy'), women taking oral contraceptives, and women taking hormone replacement therapy during menopause.

Though it can affect anyone, young women with brownish skin tones are at greatest risk. It generally consists of brown spots/patches on both sides of the face, especially on the cheeks, upper lips, nose and chin. Although it may be alarming at first glance, the treatment options are simple, easy-to-use and practical. A combination of lightening and exfoliation products, along with sun protection can be helpful for some types of melasma.

A morning application of sunscreen and reapplying it throughout the day can greatly improve the appearance of melasma, all the while repelling free radicals and harmful UV-ray damage. You may want to add on a chemical peel or a topical cream as well. Consult your dermatologist for the best plan for you.

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