Facial Melanosis Types and Treatments

Facial Melanosis is the hyperpigmentation of facial skin.The situation of the skin gets worse when the the skin is exposed to sunlight and the harmful UV rays affect the skin. Sometimes, an ordeal arises when facial melanosis becomes a chronic problem.

Types of Facial Melanosis:

This particular type of skin condition has various types. Some of them are:


It is characterized by hyper pigmentation and white patches on the lower cheeks, forehead and the nose.

These patches on the facial skin are caused due to excess production of melanin in the epidermal layer and the dermal layer.It  happens due to an increase in the melanocytes or dermal melanophages.

Can be due to sunlight,radiation effects,hormonal changes,medication (like oral contraceptives),NSAIDs,physiological like pregnancy.

If due to oral contraceptives it occurs due to excess of estrogen. The condition of the patches which result due to facial melanosis, usually subside when women stop consuming contraceptives and after pregnancy. But, it might also becomes a chronic problem when the patches due to hyper pigmentation, do not fade away permanently. They continue to appear and disappear.


Riehl’s Melanosis: is nothing but pigmented contact dermatitis.This is one of the forms of facial melanosis, which is caused due to pigmentation caused due to dermatitis. It is characterized by brown patches on the face. It was researched in the recent years and observed that this form of hyper pigmentation is caused due to the chemical reaction of certain oils and chemicals. People who use certain types of cosmetics, vermilion, hair dyes, fragrances, tar and rubber are often patients of facial melanosis.

Riehl’s Melanosis


Lichen Planus Pigmentous: This is one of the types of facial melanosis, which is characterised by brown patches on the facial skin. However, there might be patches on the areas where the skin rubs against skin or touches the skin causing friction between the skin. The cause of this condition is lesser known. But, it is believed that the condition is caused due to minerals, hair dyes and certain chemicals.

Periorbital Melanosis: This is one of the types of hyper pigmentation which is caused due to the skin around the eyelids, the dark circles around the eyes. This is caused usually caused due to smoking, alcohol and also due to the lack of sleep. Also due to prominent cheek bones,thin skin .Periorbital Melanosis

Exogenous Ochronosis: This is a very rare compilation of a long term use of hydroquinone, though hydroquinone itself is used in this type of pigmentation.

Perioral Pigmentation: This is one which includes a pigmentation patch around the mouth.This is usually caused because of certain cosmetics,fruits,certain toothpastes,added food colours,etc.

Facial Acanthosis Nigricans: This condition is often seen when people are suffering from Addison’s disease or they have Adrenal dysfunction

Erthema Dyschromia Perstans

Nevus of ota:

Post Inflammatory Hyper pigmentation


Diagnosis of facial melanosis is straight forward. But to fit it into a subtype is difficult, and the diagnosis often overlap. Most important is if the hyperpigmentation goes unexplained it needs to be evaluated for adrenal dysfunction.

Hyperpigmentation Diagnosis


There are various types of treatments which are provided to each of the conditions of  facial melanosis. The treatments of facial melanosis are as follows:

– To avoid the exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun is one of the primary treatments of facial melanosis.

– To discontinue factors which have proven to be a triggering factor for facial melanosis.

– The usage of physical (have added advantage of camouflage)and chemical sunscreen lotions is one of the factors which helps in diminishing the pigmentation on the face.

– The topical depigmenting agents are also a form of treatment for facial melanosis. Few agents which are used as an ingredient in the topical lotions are: Hydroquinone, Retinoids and mild steroids,liquorice extracts,Kojic acid,vitamin c …

– oral medications like tranexamic acid, glutathione ,vitamin c also play a role

  Chemical Peels is often used as a safe treatment for facial melanosis. Chemical peels have proven to be more effective when used in a combination with topical agents. Some of them are:

  • Hydroxy Acids, Glycolic Acids
  • Retinol Peels
  • Jessners Solution
  • TCA
  • Lactic Acid

– A person may choose a laser treatment to treat the patches caused due to hyperpigmentation. Generally, the YAG laser treatment is used for the treatment of patients who are suffering from the conditions of facial melanosis. Apart from the YAG laser form, there are other forms of treatments that are used, which include- Q Switched form of a laser treatment and Alexandrite Laser Treatment.

Facial Melanosis is something many of you might face. But the treatments for facial melanosis has been proven to be most effective the earlier the particular condition is diagnosed. It is however essential to consult a reputed Dermatologist to make sure that the diagnosis and treatments are done accurately. Visit us at Sankhya Hospitals or Book an Appointment with us so that our reputed dermatologists can help you overcome this condition.

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