Melasma is a commonly acquired hyperpigmentary disorder of the face, but its pathogenesis is poorly understood and its treatment remains challenging. We conducted a comparative histological study on lesional and perilesional normal skin to clarify the histological nature of melasma. Significantly, higher amounts of melanin and of melanogenesis-associated proteins were observed in the epidermis of lesional skin, and the mRNA level of tyrosinase-related protein 1 was higher in lesional skin, indicating regulation at the mRNA level. However, melanocyte numbers were comparable between lesional and perilesional skin. A transcriptomic study was undertaken to identify genes involved in the pathology of melasma. A total of 279 genes were found to be differentially expressed in lesional and perilesional skin. As was expected, the mRNA levels of a number of known melanogenesis-associated genes, such as tyrosinase, were found to be elevated in lesional skin. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that the most lipid metabolism-associated genes were downregulated in lesional skin, and this finding was supported by an impaired barrier function in melasma. Interestingly, a subset of Wnt signaling modulators, including Wnt inhibitory factor 1, secreted frizzled-related protein 2, and Wnt5a, were also found to be upregulated in lesional skin. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the higher expression of these factors in melasma lesions.