While most pesky skin conditions like acne and eczema are equal opportunity offenders, melasma is a special kind of joy that’s reserved mostly for women. It's estimated that 90% of people who suffer from melasma are women, according to the British Association Of Dermatologists. What's more, many don't even realise they have it — which can make things worse with mistreatment.
"Melasma affects the skin of the face with irregular brown and grey-brown areas of discolouration," dermatologist Michael Swann, MD explains. "The cheeks, nose, forehead, chin and upper lip are most commonly affected." Like all skin issues, it can range from light to severe — a few patches or spots above the upper lip to a full face of discolouration. Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide To Great Skin, adds that melasma is more common in Asian and Mediterranean skin.
But what can you do about it? And how do you prevent it from multiplying this summer without avoiding pool and park days? We checked in with the experts.