Melasma is a common condition that mostly strikes women. It is typically seen in women during reproductive years, but occasionally occurs at other times. Usually seen on the upper cheeks, forehead, chin and upper lip, melasma can be tough to manage.

Its cause is not immediately known, but pregnancy, skin type and climate are all contributing factors. The pigment-producing cells in our skin becomes overstimulated, leading to patches of brown discolorations.

So, how do you treat melasma? It can be challenging, but there are ways to combat the darkened skin that can cause a lot of anxiety in women. Marta Rendon, MD, a world-renowned, board-certified dermatologist, suggests the most common and effective way to treat melasma is with hydroquinone. This strong skin lightening compound can reduce and even erase signs of melasma. 'Obagi is the #1 physician-dispensed skin care system which contains a prescription-strength 4% hydroquinoine formula to help correct and reduce the signs of skin aging resulting from hyperpigmentation.' Time and again, it is proven to reveal younger, healthier-looking skin. Other lightening products on the market which can be helpful include tretinoin (Retin A), kojic acid and azelaic acid.

Other options for treatment include glycolic peels and lasers. Lasers need to be used very carefully, because a darker skin color can actually make melasma worse. On a daily basis, avoiding the sun and using sunscreen will keep the melasma from getting worse.