A localized brown coloration in the skin associated with pregnancy or the menopause.

Chloasma is most obvious on the face, but it also occurs on the nipples and around the genitals. The cause is thought to be a disturbance in hormone production that leads to a rise in the amount of melanin (brown pigment) formed in the deeper layers of the skin. It may occur in women using oral contraceptives. Although chloasma is sometimes disfiguring, it usually disappears at the end of pregnancy or after the menopause.

In severe or persistent cases, some success in reducing the pigment has been achieved with drugs. Surgical "planing" of the affected area sometimes is performed to remove the discoloration.

Very rarely, chloasma is a sign of an ovarian tumor.

Chlo*as"ma (?), n. [Gr. to be green.] Med.

A cutaneous affection characterized by yellow or yellowish brown pigmented spots.


© Webster 1913.

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