three young women using Nivea Cellular Luminous range

What is Melasma? Causes, care & prevention

Melasma is a form of skin discolouration. Here is everything you need to know about what melasma is, its causes, if you can get rid of or prevent it, and a skincare routine you can adopt to reduce its appearance.

Understanding melasma on the skin

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition characterised by brown or grey-brown patches, typically appearing on the face in irregular patches, fairly symmetrically distributed. These patches often develop gradually over time and are caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin colour.

Hormonal changes, sun exposure, and genetics are common factors contributing to melasma and while it isn't harmful, the uneven skin tone can be distressing for those affected. This prompts many to seek treatment options such as topical creams, chemical peels, or laser therapy to help lighten the affected areas. 

Melasma on the body

Where on the Body is Melasma Commonly Found?

Melasma is commonly found in areas of the body that are regularly exposed to sunlight. The most typical locations include the face, particularly the cheeks, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip. These areas are more susceptible to the development of melasma due to their constant exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

While less common, melasma can also manifest on other parts of the body such as the arms, neck and back, presenting unique challenges for both women and men.
man using NIVEA MEN Anti-Age Power 2in1 Serum
  1. Melasma in Women:
    Melasma predominantly affects women, particularly during periods of hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancy or while using hormonal contraceptives. These hormonal changes can stimulate melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin, leading to the development of melasma patches, especially on sun-exposed areas of the face. While melasma is not harmful, it can be frustrating for many women due to uneven skin tone. 

  2. Melasma in Men:
    Although less common, men can also develop melasma, with hormonal changes, sun exposure, genetics, and certain medications serving as common triggers. While melasma in men may not receive as much attention, it can still cause significant distress and affect self-esteem. 

    Treatment options and preventive measures for melasma in men are similar to those for women, emphasising sun protection, skincare targeting pigment spots and, if applicable, hormone management. To help address pigment spots in men, consider incorporating products like the NIVEA MEN Anti-Age Power 2in1 Serum, which blends Hyaluronic Acid with the patented anti-pigment ingredient Luminous630, offering advanced spot reduction for dark spots.
What causes melasma

4 Common Causes of Melasma

Melasma can be triggered by various factors, with four primary causes being:
  1. Hormonal Changes: 
    During pregnancy, hormonal changes can trigger an increase in melanin production, resulting in the onset of melasma. This condition, often referred to as "pregnancy mask," commonly manifests as dark patches on the face. 

    Similarly, during menopause, hormonal fluctuations can also stimulate melanin overproduction, contributing to the appearance of melasma or exacerbating existing pigmentation concerns. These hormonal shifts emphasise the importance of sun protection and diligent skincare practices to manage melasma prone-skin effectively.

  2. Sun Exposure: 
    Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun stimulates the production of melanin in the skin. Prolonged or excessive sun exposure without adequate protection can exacerbate melasma and contribute to its formation.

  3. Genetics: 
    Genetic predisposition plays a significant role in the development of melasma. Individuals with a family history of the condition are more likely to experience it themselves, suggesting a hereditary component.

  4. Hormone-based Medications: 
    Certain medications containing hormones, such as hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, can trigger melasma in susceptible individuals by disrupting the natural balance of hormones in the body.

    Understanding these causes can aid in implementing preventive measures and effectively managing melasma.
How to get rid of Melasma

4 Ways to Help Get Rid of Melasma

young woman smiling

1. Sun Protection:

Shielding your skin from harmful UV rays is crucial in managing melasma. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF50+) daily, even on cloudy days, and reapply regularly. Additionally, consider wearing wide-brimmed hats and clothing that covers exposed areas when outdoors and get into the shade when the UV index is high.


2. Topical Treatments or Skincare Products:

Over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments can help lighten and even out pigmented areas. Ingredients like Hydroquinone, Retinol, Kojic Acid and Vitamin C are commonly used to target hyperpigmentation spots related to melasma. Additionally, NIVEAs patented product Luminous630® acts on existing pigmentation to lighten spots and reduce their size, while balancing new melanin production to prevent their reappearance, for even and luminous skin 

If you have sensitive skin or existing skin conditions, consult a dermatologist before starting any new skincare regimen.

3. Chemical Peels:

Professional chemical peels performed by a dermatologist can help exfoliate the skin and reduce the appearance of melasma. Chemical peels work by removing the top layers of skin, revealing fresher, less pigmented skin underneath. Different types of peels, such as Glycolic Acid or Salicylic Acid peels, may be recommended based on your skin type and severity of melasma. However, care must be taken, as these treatments can sometimes cause melasma to worsen or lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

4. Oral Medications:

In certain cases, if melasma is related to a hormonal deficiency, oral medications may be prescribed by a dermatologist to regulate hormonal imbalances and improve melasma symptoms. Care should be taken, however, as these drugs are not without side effects and should only be used if the doctor considers it necessary.
In other cases, it may be advisable to stop taking certain medicines or hormonal contraceptives if these are responsible for the appearance of melasma.
Facts Overview

Melasma Facts

Characteristics: Development of brown or grey-brown patches, typically appearing on the face, particularly on the cheeks, forehead, chin and above the upper lip

Cause: Commonly associated with hormonal changes or excess sun exposure

Prevention: Sun protection measures, including regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, seeking shade and wearing protective clothing could help prevent the development or worsening of melasma

Treatment: Topical treatments, medications, chemical peels and dermatological procedures are available. Some skincare routine solutions may also improve skin radiance and reduce dark spots.

Melasma skin care routine

NIVEA’s Skin Care Routine for Melasma Prone-Skin

Introducing a targeted skincare routine can help reduce the appearance of melasma and promote a brighter, more even complexion. Here's a tailored skincare regimen using NIVEA products, which suits melasma prone-skin:
young woman using Nivea Cellular Luminous630 Anti Dark Spot Night Cream

Gentle Cleanser:

Cleanse your face to remove dirt and impurities to promote better absorption of skincare products. The NIVEA Refreshing Face Wash Gel is enriched with Lotus Flower and Hydramine® to effectively cleanse the skin and remove impurities, while maintaining the skin's moisture level.


Anti-Spots Serum:

Apply an anti-spot serum to help fade pigmentation spots and even out skin tone. NIVEA Cellular Luminous630 Anti-Dark Spot Face Serum contains Luminous630® that acts on existing pigmentation while balancing the new production of melanin. Its formula helps to lighten spots, reduce their size and minimise their reappearance, for more even and luminous skin.


Moisturiser with SPF:

Moisturising hydrates and nourishes your skin, helping to maintain its natural moisture balance and support the skin barrier function. The NIVEA Cellular LUMINOUS630 Anti-Dark Spot Day Fluid SPF50 is a deeply moisturising and lightweight day cream that helps to visibly reduce dark spots. It’s enriched with NIVEA's patented ingredient Luminous630® but also with cell-activating* moisturising Hyaluronic Acid as well as protecting Vitamin E and UVA/UVB filters.

*Stimulation of natural hyaluronic acid production in vitro

Night Cream:

At night is when the skin repairs and rejuvenates itself. Using a nourishing night cream helps replenish moisture levels, promotes cell turnover, and supports the skin's natural renewal process.

The NIVEA Cellular Luminous630 Anti Dark-Spot Even Tone Night Cream formulated with NIVEA’s patented ingredient Luminous630® and cell-activating* Hyaluronic Acid helps regenerate and strengthen the skin while you sleep. Regular use alongside other Luminous630® products in your routine can help to gradually fade dark spots over time.

Caution: make sure you only use products containing LUMINOUS630® a maximum of 4 times a day.

*Stimulation of natural hyaluronic acid production in vitro

The Significance of Daily Sun Protection:

Whist the NIVEA Luminous630 products mentioned above contain high SPF, ensuring consistent protection from the sun throughout the day is vital to safeguard the skin from harmful sun rays and preserve skin vitality and glow. Sunscreen should be reapplied regularly, especially during prolonged sun exposure to maintain optimal protection against UV damage and support the effectiveness of brightening and anti-pigmentation skincare products.

How Does NIVEA Luminous630® Help to Reduce Brown Spots on Skin Prone to Melasma?

NIVEA's patented Luminous630® ingredient is the result of 10 years meticulous research and 50,000 tested molecules. Luminous630® works at a cellular level to balance new melanin production at the source and help to reduce dark spots.

By acting on melanin production and promoting a more even skin tone, Luminous630® contributes to a brighter and more radiant complexion and supports the overall goal of reducing the impact of brown spots on the skin.

Melasma at a Glance

Melasma, a common skin condition, manifests as brown or grey-brown patches primarily on the face, often triggered by hormonal changes, sun exposure, genetics, or certain medications. It affects both women and men, with patches commonly found on the cheeks, forehead, chin and above the upper lip. 

Treatment options range from topical medications to procedures like chemical peels or laser therapy, while prevention involves sun protection and hormone management. It is also possible to improve skin radiance and reduce pigmentation spots by using a tailor-made skincare routine like the one offered by NIVEA.

FAQ - Melasma

What is melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition characterised by brown or grey-brown patches, typically appearing on the face and other sun-exposed areas.

Who is most likely to develop melasma?

Melasma primarily affects women, particularly those with darker skin tones, although men can also develop it. It often occurs during pregnancy or while taking hormonal contraceptives.

Where on the body is melasma commonly found?

Melasma is commonly found on the face, including the cheeks, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip. However, it can also appear on other sun-exposed areas such as the neck and forearms.

What causes melasma?

Melasma is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors, including hormonal changes, sun exposure, genetics, and certain medications or cosmetics that sensitise the skin to sunlight.

How can melasma be treated?

Treatment options for melasma vary and may include topical medications like hydroquinone or retinol, procedures such as chemical peels or laser therapy, and maintaining a strict sun protection regimen.

Can melasma be prevented?

You can reduce the risk of melasma by practising diligent sun protection, avoiding hormonal triggers if possible, and adhering to a gentle skincare routine with products aimed at brightening and protecting the skin.