(Last Updated On: December 30, 2019)

Liezel A. Gener-Pangilinan MD, Evangeline B. Handog MD, Ma. Teresita Gabriel MD, Benedicto D. Carpio MD, Ma. Angela M. Lavadia MD, Wilson Loginus MD, Johannes F. Dayrit MD


Abstract: Background: Melasma is an acquired hyperpigmentary disorder occurring in the sun-exposed areas of the face and neck. There is little information on its prevalence, epidemiology and clinical characteristics in the Philippines.

Objective: To determine the prevalence, epidemiology and clinical characteristics of melasma in Philippine dermatology patients

Methods: This was a multicenter, cross-sectional study conducted from July to December 2013. The investigators determined the prevalence of melasma in 12,068 dermatology patients from six government hospitals and private centers in Metro Manila, Philippines. The melasma patients, aged 18 years and above, were given self-administered questionnaires with topics related to demographic information and medical history. They were also examined by the investigators (dermatologists) to determine the clinical profile of their melasma.

Results: Of the 12,068 dermatology patients who were seen at the selected hospitals and private centers, 153 (1.26%) were clinically diagnosed with melasma. A majority of the melasma patients were Filipinos (73.20%), aged 41-50 years old (37.91%), with an average age of 42.40 + 9.68 years, and Fitzpatrick skin types III and IV (29.41% and 57.52%, respectively). Melasma was more prevalent in females (81.70%), most of whom had prior history of pregnancy (76.8%). Oral contraceptive use was also reported in 37.6% of the female patients from which 63.83% have used it for only 1 year or less. A majority had no thyroid disease (75.16%) and daily sun exposure was limited to 1 hr or less for most patients (43.14%). Their melasma was mostly malar in distribution (60.13%), epidermal (61.44%), and mild (51.63%) to moderate (27.45%) in severity. The average mMASI score was 4.63 + 3.32.

Conclusion: The prevalence of melasma was low among the Philippine dermatology patients sampled. A majority of the melasma patients were Filipinos, aged 41-50 years old, with Fitzpatrick skin type IV, limited sun exposure, and no thyroid disease. They were mostly females with a prior history of pregnancy. Their melasma was mostly malar, epidermal, and mild in severity. These descriptive data can serve as baseline information for further studies on melasma in the Philippines



Gener-Pangilinan LA, Handog EB, Gabriel MT, Carpio BD, Lavadia MAL, Longinus W, Dayrit JF.
Prevalence, epidemiology and clinical characteristics of melasma in Philippine dermatology patients: a multicenter, cross-sectional study. J Phil Dermatol Soc 2019, 28(1), 15-23



melasma, Asian skin, pigmentation, Philippines

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