Melasma, a photoaging disorder

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2018 Jul;31(4):461-465. doi: 10.1111/pcmr.12684. Epub 2018 Jan 12.


Melasma is a common hyperpigmentary disorder. The impact on the quality of life of affected individuals is well demonstrated, demanding new therapeutic strategies. However, the treatment of melasma remains highly challenging. Melasma is often considered as the main consequence of female hormone stimulation on a predisposed genetic background. Although these two factors do contribute to this acquired pigmentary disorder, the last decade has revealed several other key players and brought new pieces to the complex puzzle of the pathophysiology of melasma. Here, we summarize the latest evidence on the pathophysiology of melasma, and we suggest that melasma might be a photoaging skin disorder affecting genetically predisposed individuals. Such data must be taken into consideration by clinicians as they could have a profound impact on the treatment and the prevention of melasma.

Keywords: UV; angiogenesis; elastosis; melasma; photoaging skin; sebocytes; visible light.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanosis* / genetics
  • Melanosis* / metabolism
  • Melanosis* / pathology
  • Melanosis* / prevention & control
  • Skin Aging* / genetics
  • Skin Aging* / pathology