Melasma is darkened spots on a woman's face after she has been pregnant or taken birth control pills. Skin contains melanocytes, certain cells that stain dark when you expose them to ultraviolet light. High estrogen levels, with birth control pills or pregnancy, can cause the melanocytes to clump together forever. When a woman with this condition goes out in the sunlight, the clumped melanocytes stain dark and give her the appearance of dark smudges on her face. This study shows that a combination of Retin-A cream, 4 percent hydroquinone to blanch the skin, and cortisone to reduce inflammation, helps control melasma.

Steroid Improves Compliance for Melasma Triple Therapy: Maritza Perez, MD, sponsored session of the American Academy of Dermatology's Academy 2002 conference, New York, August 1, 2002.

Checked 9/5/05

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