Slide show: Sun damage
Image of melasma
Previous Next 7 of 10 Melasma

Also referred to as "mask of pregnancy," melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a brown darkening of facial skin. The dark patches usually occur on the forehead and cheeks. Melasma might be worsened by sun exposure.

Melasma often affects:

  • Black, Asian and Hispanic people
  • People with darker white or light brown skin
  • Women who use birth control pills or hormone therapy
  • Women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy

Melasma might fade after delivery, in the winter months or when you stop taking birth control pills. But melasma can also last for years.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

See more Multimedia Aug. 18, 2022