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Also referred to as "mask of pregnancy," melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a brown darkening of facial skin. Melasma likely occurs from a combination of factors, including exposure to sunlight and an increase in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Melasma often affects women with dark skin and those who take oral contraceptives or hormone therapy, or who are pregnant. The dark patches usually occur on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. Melasma typically worsens after sun exposure.
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