Role of oxidative stress in melasma: a prospective study on serum and blood markers of oxidative stress in melasma patients

Int J Dermatol. 2017 Sep;56(9):939-943. doi: 10.1111/ijd.13695. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


Background: Melasma is a common pigmentary disorder presenting in the dermatological clinic. Many factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis, however, the cause still remains elusive. Recently the effect of oxidative damage has been proposed in the etiopathogenesis of melasma. This study was undertaken to evaluate the role of oxidative stress in patients with melasma.

Material and methods: Fifty patients with melasma, age 18 years of age and older, and an equal number of age and sex-matched controls were included in the study. Baseline severity assessment using the modified Melasma Area and Severity Index (modified MASI score) was done in all patients. Serum malondialdehyde, blood superoxide dismutase, and blood glutathione peroxidase levels were measured in cases and controls group and results were compared.

Result: The serum levels of malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, and blood glutathione were significantly higher among the cases compared to controls. The difference in the serum concentrations was significant between the two groups (P < 0.01). A positive correlation was found between these enzyme levels and severity of melasma (modified MASI score); however, this correlation was statistically significant with serum malondialdehyde only. The level of oxidative stress among the male and female melasma patients was not statistically different.

Conclusion: Oxidative stress was found to be increased in cases of melasma compared to the control group in this study. This substantiates the role of oxidative stress in etiopathogenesis of melasma; however, further studies are required to reach a definitive conclusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Facial Dermatoses / blood*
  • Facial Dermatoses / etiology
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood*
  • Melanosis / blood*
  • Melanosis / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase