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28 February 2017Last updated
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Features | People

Ask the expert: I’ve developed patches on my face

This condition, which in the past was called the mask of pregnancy, has been found to be related to hormones

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
18 Apr 2016 | 02:07 pm

I’m a 36-year-old mother of three. After the birth of my second child, I started to develop dark-coloured patches on both cheeks, and over the past two years the patches have spread further to my forehead, nose and upper lip. A dermatologist diagnosed it as melasma, and prescribed some creams, but these have not been helpful. Is there a cure for this?

The diagnosis of melasma appears correct. This condition, which in the past was called the mask of pregnancy, has been found 
to be related to hormones.

Many women who consume oral contraceptive pills have been found to have this condition as well, further underscoring the influence of hormones.

An individual’s genetic predisposition also has strong causative linkage. Females of child-bearing age, particularly those in the Asian region, constitute the majority of the sufferers. The condition has also been seen affecting men. Among the available treatments, there is a wide range of over-the-counter skin lightening creams and lotions, but they are hardly of any therapeutic effect.

More professional treatments including chemical peels, deep diamond dermabrasion and lasers can help depending on the severity of the condition. Avoidance to excessive sun exposure pre- and post-treatment is also of paramount importance in achieving treatment results.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.