Chloasma is another term for the disorder known as Melasma, which results in the discoloration of the skin on the face.  Melasma presents as brown spots or blotches that develops over time and eventually fades.  Ultra violet (UV) light aggravates Melasma, by stimulating the pigment cells called melanocytes, which in turn produces an excess of the skin pigment melanin.  Excess melanin creates ugly brown or red spots on the face.  Melasma is not dangerous, and does not indicate future pre-disposition to cancer.  However, Melasma is extremely unsightly, and can lead to psychological and self-esteem issues.

Chloasma, slightly different from Melasma, is also called the “mask of pregnancy”, and only occurs in women who are pregnant or experience hormonal imbalances.  Several factors pre-dispose or aggravate the disorder.  An oestrogen hormone imbalance experienced during pregnancy can aggravate or cause hyperpigmentation of the skin.  Not only will existing birth marks, moles and freckles become darker when experiencing this disorder, but hyperpigmentation can also create the irregular, brown splotches on the face.  Dark skinned individuals tend to experience a heightened discoloration in all areas of their skin.  Additionally, any exposure to the sun or ultra violet (UV) light, as well as scented soaps and cosmetics can also trigger Melasma.

There are several drugs that will promote the Chloasma symptoms.  Oral contraceptives, Stilphostrol, Implanon, Honvol, Etonogestrel, and Diethylstibestrol, either create hormonal imbalances which cause Melasma, or create skin discoloration symptoms which present in a similar fashion.  The actual root cause of the disorder has never fully been determined.  A physician will diagnose your skin by a medical history inquiry, an epidermal assessment and a pregnancy test, if needed.  Doctors also use a device called a Wood’s lamp which they can use to view your skin under UV light.  The Wood’s lamp displays the depth of your skin discoloration as well as particular patterns within the spots.

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that almost 70% of all American women will develop some form of skin darkening during their pregnancy.  Additionally, with subsequent pregnancies, the effects of skin discolorations may be noticeably more significant.  Specific areas of the face which are affected include the upper lip, the nose, the cheeks and forehead. Other areas exposed to the sun may also develop dark, patchy discoloured areas.  Chloasma usually clears up on its own, within a few months after the birth of your child.  You may, however, retain a few freckles or liver spots gained while expecting.