What Causes Pigmentation?

Photo by ASashka/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by ASashka/iStock / Getty Images

What Causes Sudden Dark Patches on Your Skin?

Your skin has color-making cells that often work overtime, resulting in unsightly brown or gray patches. These discolored patches are known as melasma, and they occur more often in women, particularly those who are pregnant. Hence its nickname, “the mask of pregnancy.” 

Melasma is triggered by the sun (no surprise there!) and other things like hormonal changes, birth control pills, and sometimes, skin care products. Annoyingly, it can appear almost anywhere on your face — including the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, above the upper lip, and chin — and on your neck and décolletage. 

Using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater with both UVA and VUB (or ‘broad spectrum’ protection) every day is the best way to prevent and even reverse the appearance of melasma.

The skincare foundation recommends seeking out the shade, wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed sun hat, coupled with sunscreen, as the best melasma preventative.

SHIREEN MUSTAFA