William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Melasma facts
- What is melasma? What are signs of melasma?
- What causes melasma?
- Where is melasma seen on the body?
- What are the types of melasma?
- How is melasma diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for melasma?
- What melasma treatments can I have at my doctor's office?
- Do lasers work for melasma?
- How does hydroquinone work in melasma?
- Are there non-hydroquinone alternative treatments for melasma?
- What is Tri-Luma?
- What SPF is recommended for melasma?
- Can melasma be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for melasma?
- Patient Comments: Melasma - Causes
- Patient Comments: Melasma - Location on Body
- Patient Comments: Melasma - Treatment
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
- Melasma is most common in women 20-50 years of age.
- Melasma looks like brown, tan, or blue-gray spots on the face (hyperpigmentation).
- Melasma is characterized by three location patterns (central face, cheekbone, and jawline).
- Melasma is caused partly by sun, genetic predisposition, and hormonal changes.
- The most common treatment is topical creams containing hydroquinone.
- Melasma prevention requires sun avoidance and sun protection with hats and sunscreen.
What is melasma? What are signs of melasma?
Melasma is a very common patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration, almost entirely seen in women in the reproductive years. It typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20-50 years of age. Although possible, it is uncommon in males. Over 90% of those with melasma are women. It is thought to be primarily related to external sun exposure, external hormones like birth control pills, and internal hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy. Most people with melasma have a history of daily or intermittent sun exposure, although heat is also suspected to be an underlying factor. Melasma is most common among pregnant women, especially those of Latin and Asian descents. People with olive or darker skin, like Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals, have higher incidences of melasma.
An estimated 6 million women are living in the U.S. with melasma and 45-50 million women worldwide live with melasma. Prevention is primarily aimed at facial sun protection and sun avoidance. Treatment requires regular sunscreen application, medications such as 4% hydroquinone and fading creams.
Next: What causes melasma?
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
Parenting and Pregnancy
Get tips for baby and you.