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Dark Patches On Face

Are you developing dark patches on your face? This may be a skin condition called melasma. This article discusses about the causes, risk factors, symptoms and treatment of dark patches on skin.

Dark Patches On Face

Dark Patches On Face

Dark patches on skin, is a condition in which some areas on the skin appear darker than skin surrounding those patches. It is in fact hyperpigmentation and occurs more commonly on the face, especially on the cheeks, forehead, and the area over the upper lip. In most cases, the dark patches on face can appear on both sides of the face and usually in a similar manner. Sometimes, these dark patches or melasma may also occur on other areas of the body, which are exposed to the sun.

The shade of these darker-colored patches on face can range from tan to deep brown. Melasma often affects women more than men and, is possibly linked with hormonal changes. This is a commonest reason that dark patches on face are often noted during pregnancy, or in women taking oral contraceptives or hormone treatments. The dark patches on face generally last until the entire pregnancy. It ,ay resolve on its own when the individual discontinues taking hormonal medications and protects themselves from the sun. The patches gradually lighten over many months. However, for some people, the discoloration never disappears completely.

Causes and Risk Factors of Dark Patches on Face

The exact causes of dark patches on face are not precisely known. Darker-skinned people may be more prone to this problem than fair-skinned individuals. Dark patches on face condition can also be triggered by stress and sun exposure in some people. Some experts also believe that progesterone and estrogen sensitivity is linked with this condition. This is possibly one of the reasons that pregnancy, hormone therapy and oral contraceptives can all trigger dark patches on face. Other risk factors of dark patches on face include the use of certain drugs, like medicines for thyroid disease and ovarian problem, increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

What are the Symptoms of Dark Patches on Face?

Dark patches on face lead to the formation of discolored areas, which are darker than the usual skin color. These brownish colored dark patches on face usually occur symmetrically on both the sides of the face. Rarely, these can also develop on other areas of the body which often get exposed to the sun, like the forearms and neck.

Discoloration of the skin is not physically harmful, but the individual can feel self-conscious about their look and may be cosmetic concern for many.

How are Dark Patches on Face or Melasma Diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose melasma just by looking at the skin and the dark patches on face. They can also use an ultraviolet light lamp to see the patterns and depth of skin more clearly. The diagnosis of dark patches on face can be made after taking a medical history, understanding the possible underlying causes and related medical conditions. To confirm the presence of any relevant medical condition, appropriate investigations like blood tests or scans may be ordered.

How are Dark Patches on Face Treated?

Protection from the sun is a vital part of treatment of dark patches on face. The more one avoids the sun, the less likely they are to develop this condition. Dark patches on face in women, which is caused by pregnancy or birth control pills, disappears on its own. Skin lightening cream and topical steroids can be applied to the affected skin regions to lighten the dark patches. Procedures like dermabrasion, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are also effective treatments for the problem of dark patches.

How Can Dark Patches on Face Be Prevented?

Dark patches on face can be prevented by limiting the skin’s exposure to the sun. When going out in the sun, one should take preventive measures like applying sunblock, using a sunscreen of SPF 30 or more, and wearing a hat. For other conditions, appropriate treatment of the medical cause can help in managing dark patches on face.

What is the Prognosis for Dark Patches on Face?

Discoloration mostly fades away or disappears as hormones stabilize in the body and sun exposure becomes limited. Individuals, who find discoloration unsightly, can undergo treatments to fade off the stubborn dark patches on face. They can also use cosmetics to even out their skin color.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Melasma: Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/melasma-treatment
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Melasma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/melasma/symptoms-causes/syc-20375111
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Melasma: Signs and Symptoms. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/melasma-symptoms
  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Melasma: Who Gets and Causes. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/melasma-causes
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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