Best Treatment for Melasma (A Complete Overview)

Melasma is a curse for every people especially the female ones. It not only destroys the beauty of a pretty lady but also crushes her personality.

If you have melasma, I know you are ready to do anything to get rid of it. The good news is you can erase your melasma if you start treating it properly.

And the bad news is the market is flooded with cheap and chemical-based melasma treatment products with the fake promise of curing melasma completely. Don’t believe them.

Here I explained the different types of melasma treatment to give you an overall idea. It will help you to decide when you can treat melasma by own and when you need to talk with a dermatologist.

Let’s see.

Find Out the Reasons Behind Your Melasma

It is the first and must-do step for every problem. No one gets birth with melasma. It has several reasons to appear. You have to identify the exact factor responsible for your melasma. It will help to cure your melasma easily and effectively.

The most common reasons for melasma are hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, and excessive sun exposure. The hormonal imbalance means the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone may be caused by the taking of birth control pills, side effects of drugs, and hormonal therapy.

Some health problems like thyroid problems and extreme stress may trigger hyperpigmentation which finally leads to melasma. Another possible reason for melasma is pollution and not cleansing the face properly. Pollution makes facial skin weaker to fight against melasma.

And the common melasma factor for everyone is excessive sun exposure. If you want to treat melasma you have to limit sun exposure by any means.

To reduce melasma, make sure you identified the exact culprit behind the disgusting melasma.

Melasma Treatment

I divided melasma treatments into two parts. The first one is primary level melasma treatment and the second one is a little difficult to treat. You can do the first one by yourself. And for the second one, you have to take the help of a specialist.

Primary Level Melasma Treatment

This method works better on the initial stage of melasma. In this stage melasma just starts appearing on the topmost layer of your facial skin. You can treat it easily with some OTC products. It may be cream, lotion, serum, pigment cleanser, etc.

These products contain various types of skin-lightening ingredients on a lower scale. It includes 2% hydroquinone, kojic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, azelaic acid, vitamin C, and more. All these ingredients are safe for skin lightening.

If you want my recommendation, I listed here 3 different products that will help you to get rid of melasma of melasma.

Image Product Title Short Description   Price
backpac InstaNatural
Brightening
Facial Cream
* Fades all types of hyperpigmentation.
* Comes with Stem Cell Technology.
* Effective and safe for all skin types.
Check Price
backpac Admire My Skin Ultra
Potent Brightening
Serum
* Proven serum for skin lightening.
* Works Great on Melasma.
* Get effective result within 4 weeks.
Check Price
backpac La Roche-Posay
Pigmentclar
Cleanser
* Gives deep cleansing with creamy lather.
* Lightens skin for glowing look..
* Brand is recommended by
90,000 dermatologists worldwide
Check Price

Note: If you use these three products at the initial stage of melasma, you won’t need to set an appointment with a skin specialist for costly treatment. The initial stage means from day 1 to 6 months.

But, if you had neglected melasma and the situation gets worsen now. I think your melasma is now beyond the level of at-home treatment. You should consult with a dermatologist for the cure of melasma permanently. He will do some examinations on your skin and recommend you the best suited treatment for melasma.

Let see which in-office treatment is waiting for you.

In Office Melasma Treatment

If your melasma spreads to the deeper layer of the skin, simple OTC treatment won’t give you the expected result. In this situation, only a professional dermatologist can help you. There are several types of treatments available for melasma. Which one will suit depend on the condition of your melasma.

Remember, I am not a dermatologist and I don’t know the condition of your melasma. So, I don’t want to suggest you any type of in office melasma treatment.

Here I will try to give you some ideas of professional melasma treatment. It will help you to discuss with the skin specialist. And never try to do it on your own.

Let’s see.

Melasma Cream

This melasma cream isn’t an OTC product. You can only use it if your dermatologist told you to use. That’s why I don’t mention any brand name. Here I will tell you the three ingredients used in the most used melasma cream and what they do to the skin. This cream is familiar as triple cream.

Ingredients: Hydroquinone + Tretinoin + Fluocinolone Acetonide

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is the vigorously used ingredient for melasma cure. It is also available in various skin-lightening OTC products in a lower concentration than the product your skin specialist will suggest for you.

USFDA’s guideline for using hydroquinone in an OTC product is below 1.5-2% (Source). Because uncontrolled use of hydroquinone may cause long-term skin problems.

Hydroquinone is highly effective to diminish the dark patches and spots from the skin surface. It could be hyperpigmentation, melasma, freckles, dark spots, age spots, sunspots, and liver spots. And it covers all causes of melasma like pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations, sun exposure, and more. (Source)

Hydroquinone lightens skin by inhibiting the pigmentation process of the skin. It blocks the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme which is responsible for melanin production. (Source)

Tretinoin

Tretinoin is widely used for its anti-aging benefits and repairing of skin damage caused by the sun. It is also used to treat acne.

In melasma treatment, it helps to recover the sun-damaged skin. When your skin gets repaired, it will function normally. And a healthy and well-functioned skin can depigment faster than the damaged skin.

You can get it as part of melasma combination cream or alone as a form of cream, ointment, and lotion.

Read Also: Best sunscreen for melasma and hyperpigmentation

Fluocinolone Acetonide

It is a kind of corticosteroid. It is mainly used in melasma cream to minimize the impact of hydroquinone and tretinoin on the skin. The possible impacts of hydroquinone and tretinoin are redness, itching, burning sensation, dryness, and scaly skin. (Source)

Fluocinolone Acetonide or corticosteroid helps to minimize these problems as much as possible. It doesn’t mean you won’t get any signs of those problems. It just suppresses the problems in a bearable state.

Application Process

This cream is usually suggested to use before bed once daily. First, you have to clean your facial skin properly and make it dry. Then apply this cream on ½ inch normal skin along with the melasma affected area. Be very gentle while applying melasma cream. Just create a thin layer and don’t rub too aggressively.

Note: Never try to use this cream without any suggestion from a dermatologist. It could create a disaster if you use it wrongly.

Results

You may see the initial improvement within a week. But, for the complete result, you have to use this cream for one to three months depending on the condition of your melasma.

Oral Medication

There are also some oral medications available for melasma treatment. But I won’t tell you anything about this here. Please talk to a skin specialist if you want to cure melasma from inside. Because it isn’t good to take any sort of oral medication by reading a blog post.

Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is just peeling of your pigmented skin of the epidermis layer. The degree of peeling can vary from superficial to deep depending on the condition of your melasma, skin type, skin tone, and age.

Here different types of chemicals (usually acids) are used to peel the topmost pigmented skin. And only the expert will decide which chemical would use for the skin peeling process.

The most common chemicals used for peeling are-

  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Jessner’s solution
  • Tretinoin
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)

The chemical remains for several minutes on your skin after applied. During this time, you have to go through some minor pains and burning sensations. Don’t get panicked, it’s not unbearable.

And a slightly burning sensation will accompany you for several days after finishing the procedure. And your skin will get a reddish color. You can cover it with makeup after few hours of that session. But, it is better not to use anything on the treated skin for a few days except the expert suggested medication.

Cost

Depending on the condition of your melasma and the area it covered, the melasma treatment cost may range from $150 to $600. It is for a superficial chemical peel. The cost of deep chemical peel is huge. It may be ranging from $3500 to $5000.

Laser Treatment for Melasma

It is another way to treat melasma. But, the laser isn’t the first-line treatment for melasma. If your skin doesn’t get cured of melasma with topical and oral medication, then you should go for melasma laser treatment.

It gives quick results compared to other melasma treatments. But it has some side effects as well. And laser treatment for melasma is highly expensive. I recommend you consult with more than two dermatologists before going to get laser treatment.

Sun Protection

Whatever treatment you used to cure melasma, you should protect your skin from sun rays to get the expected result. Otherwise, the result will be a big zero.

Even it will make your skin vulnerable than before. Because during melasma treatment your skin will remain super sensitive.

There are two types of sunscreens available in the market, chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen only protects from ultraviolet rays.

On the other hand, mineral sunscreen contains either zinc oxide or titanium oxide. These ingredients help to block all sorts of light to give your skin better protection. And they are comparatively safe for your skin.

But which SPF number you would like to use for sun protection? The common misconception about SPF is higher the number means better protection. Honestly, if you are thinking alike, you are wrong.

If you want to know about it, here my detailed post about what does SPF really means?

Want my quick recommendation? Use sunscreen with SPF30 or above.

The Last Words

Melasma is curable only if you take the right step at the very beginning. So start treating melasma before it turns into a monster. Protect yourself from the sun and live a healthy and sound life, without melasma.

Thanks.