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Best Treatment for Melasma on Face

Best Treatment for Melasma on Face

Are you struggling with melasma, those stubborn patches of brown or grayish pigmentation on your face? Melasma is a common skin condition that can cause frustration and self-consciousness. It is characterized by the appearance of dark, irregularly shaped patches, primarily on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin. While melasma doesn't pose any health risks, its impact on self-esteem and confidence can be significant. The good news is that there are effective treatments available to help minimize the appearance of melasma and restore a more even and radiant complexion.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by the development of dark, brown, or grayish patches on the face. It typically appears on areas of the face that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin. Melasma occurs due to an overproduction of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin, and is more prevalent in women, particularly during pregnancy or while taking hormonal contraceptives. Sun exposure, hormonal changes, and genetic factors are believed to contribute to the development of melasma.

Causes of melasma

Hormonal Changes: 

Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can trigger melasma. This is why it is commonly seen in pregnant women or those taking hormonal contraceptives.

Sun Exposure: 

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can stimulate the production of melanin, leading to the development of melasma. Sun exposure without adequate protection can worsen the condition.

Genetic Predisposition: 

Family history and genetics play a role in melasma. If a close family member has melasma, there is an increased likelihood of developing the condition.


Melasma is more common in individuals with darker skin types, including those of Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or African descent.

Other Triggers: 

Certain factors such as certain medications, thyroid disorders, and cosmetic products that irritate the skin can contribute to the development of melasma

Symptoms of Melasma

Dark, Patchy Discoloration: 

Melasma typically presents as dark, brown, or grayish patches on the face, most commonly on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin.

Symmetrical Distribution: 

The patches of melasma often appear symmetrically on both sides of the face.

Irregular Shape: 

The patches may have irregular borders and vary in size and shape.

Increased Pigmentation with Sun Exposure: 

Sun exposure can darken the patches of melasma, making them more noticeable.

No Associated Symptoms: 

Melasma does not cause any physical discomfort or itching. It is primarily a cosmetic concern.

How to Get Rid of Melasma on Face?

Sun Protection: 

Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF daily, even on cloudy days, and reapply it every two hours. Additionally, use wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and seek shade when the sun is at its strongest.

Topical Treatments: 

Your dermatologist may prescribe topical creams or ointments containing ingredients like hydroquinone, retinoids, corticosteroids, or azelaic acid. These can help lighten the pigmentation and even out the skin tone over time.

Chemical Peels: 

Dermatologists may recommend chemical peels that contain exfoliating agents like glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid. These peels can help improve the appearance of melasma by removing the top layer of the skin and promoting new skin cell growth.

Laser Treatments: 

Certain laser treatments, such as fractional laser resurfacing or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, can target and reduce melasma pigmentation. These procedures work by breaking up the excess pigment and stimulating collagen production.

Lifestyle Changes: 

Avoiding triggers like hormonal contraceptives, minimizing stress, and adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise may help in managing melasma.

Best Treatment for Melasma

The best treatments for melasma include:

Topical Hydroquinone: 

Hydroquinone creams are commonly used to lighten melasma patches by inhibiting melanin production.

Topical Retinoids: 

Retinoid creams, such as tretinoin, help to exfoliate the skin, promote cell turnover, and fade melasma pigmentation.

Chemical Peels: 

Chemical peels with ingredients like glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid can effectively lighten melasma and improve skin texture.

Laser Therapy: 

Laser treatments, such as fractional laser resurfacing or IPL therapy, can target and reduce melasma pigmentation.

Combination Therapy: 

Dermatologists may recommend a combination of topical treatments, chemical peels, and laser therapy for more effective results.

Sun Protection: 

Strict sun protection measures, including wearing sunscreen, hats, and seeking shade, are essential to prevent melasma from worsening.

Take Away

Melasma, those frustrating patches of pigmentation on the face, can impact self-confidence. However, effective treatments exist to minimize its appearance. Strategies like topical creams, chemical peels, laser therapy, and sun protection can help lighten melasma and restore a more even complexion.


Q: What deficiency causes melasma?

A: No specific nutrient deficiency directly causes melasma, but some studies suggest that deficiencies in vitamins like D, E, and folic acid may be linked to an increased risk of developing melasma.

Q: What is the fastest way to cure melasma on the face?

A: There is no guaranteed "fast" cure for melasma. Treatment effectiveness varies, but a combination of approaches such as topical creams, chemical peels, laser therapy, and sun protection can help fade melasma over time. Consistency is key for noticeable results.

Q: What should you avoid with melasma?

A: To manage melasma, it's important to avoid triggers that can worsen the condition. These include unprotected sun exposure, hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (unless necessary), and irritating skincare products.


Understanding Melasma, By Jaime Herndon, on May 4, 2023

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