Understanding the Differences Between Melasma and Hyperpigmentation
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Understanding the Differences Between Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

Jul 20, 2023

Understanding the Differences Between Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

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Worried about your skin condition? Get in touch with best of our skin specialists in Pune. For a skin treatment, book an appointment with our dermatologists near you +919584584111

What Is Melasma and Pigmentation?

Causes Of Melasma

Treatment For Melasma

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed dark patches on your skin? You might be wondering whether these patches are signs of melasma or hyperpigmentation. Let’s find out!

These two skin conditions are commonly misunderstood, leading to frustration and confusion for those trying to get rid of them. But fear not because understanding the difference between melasma and pigmentation can help you properly identify and address the issue.

In this article, we will explore the difference between pigmentation and melasma, their causes and treatment options. 

Let’s get started!

What Is Melasma and Pigmentation?

What Is Melasma and Pigmentation?

To find out the difference between melasma and pigmentation, first, understand what melasma and pigmentation are.

Pigmentation refers to the discolouration of the skin, and it is caused by the production and distribution of pigments, which give colour to different tissues.

In the skin, pigmentation is produced by melanocytes, specialised cells that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin is responsible for the colour of the skin, hair, and eyes and helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

However, when there is an overproduction or underproduction of melanin, it can result in conditions such as hyperpigmentation (dark-coloured patches), hypopigmentation (light-coloured patches), or uneven skin tone.

Melasma is a common skin condition and a type of hyperpigmentation that results in brown or greyish-brown patches. It typically occurs on the face, particularly on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and upper lip, but it can also occur on other body parts frequently exposed to the sun, such as the neck and forearms. Melasma is more common in women than men and is most commonly seen in individuals with darker skin tones. Knowing the causes of the condition can help to find the melasma treatment

Causes Of Melasma

The exact causes of melasma vs hyperpigmentation are not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development. Melasma occurs when there is an overproduction of melanin pigment. In people with melasma, the melanocytes make more melanin than usual, leading to dark patches on the skin. 

  • Hormonal Changes: Melasma is common in women and is often associated with hormonal changes and fluctuations, as seen with pregnancy, birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy. 
  • Sun Exposure: Another important trigger for melasma is sun exposure, and many melasma patients have a history of long hours of sun exposure, like police, outdoor workers etc 
  • Genetics: Genetics play a role in predisposing a person for melasma. People with a family history of melasma are more likely to get it later in life. 
  • Age: Melasma is usually a disorder of the middle ages when hormonal imbalances are common. 

Pigmentation, on the other hand, can be caused due to a variety of reasons and causes and can be seen at any age. 

  • It can occur due to pre-existing skin diseases such as the pigmentation seen after acne, eczema or injury called post-inflammatory pigmentation. 
  • Sun exposure and hormonal changes can also lead to overall changes in skin tone and cause skin pigmentation, including tanning, dullness and uneven skin tone. 
  • Genetic conditions like birthmarks and moles can also present as dark or light-coloured pigmented patches. 
  • Allergies and skin irritation as such caused by cosmetics, fragrances, or even certain medicines like antibiotics, anticonvulsants etc., can cause changes in the pigmentation of the skin. 

Treatment For Melasma

Treatment For Melasma


Melasma vs hyperpigmentation differ in treatment and treatment outcomes. Understanding the difference between melasma and pigmentation can help to find suitable treatment options.

Treatment for skin pigmentation disorders depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. It can range from topical treatments, such as skin-lightening agents, to procedures, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy. It is also important to use sun protection measures to prevent further damage to the skin.

However, melasma treatment typically involves a combination of sun protection measures (such as wearing protective clothing and sunscreen), topical medications (such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, or corticosteroids), and sometimes, procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy. 


Wrapping Up!

While they both involve the overproduction of melanin in the skin, there are some key differences between them.

Melasma tends to occur in specific areas of the face, such as the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip and is often caused by hormonal changes, sun exposure, and genetics. On the other hand, pigmentation can refer to a range of skin discolouration issues, including hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and uneven skin tone, which a variety of factors, such as sun exposure, inflammation, and age, can cause.

Understanding the difference between melasma and pigmentation can help you identify the right treatment option.

If you are in Pune and looking for effective treatments for melasma or pigmentation, look no further than Clear Skin Clinics. With our personalised approach and state-of-the-art technology, you can achieve the clear, even-toned skin you deserve. Book your consultation today!

For treating your skin condition, feel free to get in touch with one of our best dermatologists in Pune. You can also call on +919584584111 to book an appointment at one of our skin clinics near you.


Dr Dhanraj Chavan

About the Author: Dr Dhanraj Chavan

Dr. Dhanraj Chavan is a globally trained, young, and dynamic dermatologist. He is a Consultant Dermatologist and Varicose Vein Specialist at Clear Skin, VeinMD, and HairMD.

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