Freckles, age spots, solar lentigines and post-inflammatory discolouration following an acne breakout, all come under the umbrella term of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can refer to any darkening of the skin and can be instigated by numerous factors. Sun exposure is a leading cause for many pigmentation concerns, however hormonal influences are the key driver for melasma, a type of hyperpigmentation that is in a class of its own.
Melasma typically develops during pregnancy, whilst taking the oral contraceptive pill, or during hormonal therapy. Melasma is identified by blotchy, hyperpigmented areas on the face, typically appearing on the upper lip, nose, cheeks, jawline and forehead and can develop symmetrically on both sides of the face. Melasma is exacerbated by heat and sun exposure and is more common for those with darker skin tones.