I've only had melasma (forehead, cheeks, and upper lip which was the worst area) for less than a year, but I am already sick of it. the only thing I can relate its cause to was when I started using an acne ointment that a dermatologist gave me. Horrible. I started my research and first pursued IPL; did it twice and was better at first but came right back. Not willing to continue spending the money I came back to this trusty site and saw all of the recommendations. I am so happy to say that after 2 weeks I'm seeing some improvement. I'm sure it'd be even better if I actually remembered to take the supplements 3x a day instead of when I only remember. What I do: I take each of these items 3x a day: 300mg capsule of raw (whole food) vitamin C, 1000mg capsule of MSM (I looked for one without glucosamine because of my own preference), & 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract (it's 100mg per 10 drops). I used some recommendations of filling empty gelatin capsules with the extract to avoid the taste and it works great. I wish all of you the best. I'll keep you posted if I see more improvements.
MSM, Vitamin C, Grapefruit Seed Extract
I hvae had melasma for few years, like many people, tried everything available, IPL, Hydroquinone etc... Made it better at first and then it came back way much darker. Finally found this website, tried the following treatment:
1000 mg MSM, 1000 mg Vita C and 1000 mg Grapefruit seed extract and so far I have had great results, I am really surprised and happy. A lot of people on this page seems to be confusing grapefruit extract and grapefruit seed extract, no wonder they don't get results, IT IS NOT THE SAME.
(Forest Park, Illinois, Usa)
I started using MSM 100mg twice a day, Vitamin C 1000 mg twice a day and GSE [GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT] 15 drops twice daily, along with Hydrogen Peroxide (similar to using astringent). I am more than pleased with the results. I have Melasma on the side of my cheek & down along the jawline, upper lip, forehead and chest. I have started to see a significant change in my skin. Some areas are breaking up and others are fading. I have had Melasma since my early 20's, but only a few spots, which increased drastically in my subsequent 3 pregnancies. Thanks for the suggestions - I wore virtually no make up to Church on Sunday, which is a first. In fact I don't really like make-up and would rather not wear it. My chest which is sun damaged as well, is looking smoother and lighter. I looked into this site, with hopes of heading towards my 40th birthday (which is in September) looking and feeling better and I am well on my way.
I first started to develop melasma after very short exposure to birth control pills. I had a few patches on my forehead and some on my upper lip (so awful.) But amazingly, I got rid of it 100%. When I went on the contraceptive injection for 6 months shortly before getting married, it started again, and it is now on most of my face, a huge patch in the middle of my forehead, on the sides of my temples, above my eyebrows, on my cheeks and upper lip. Many people comment on it, I hate it. So I'm saving up the money to do what I did before.
This is what cured it the first time: I used a product range made in South Africa called RegimA. These are powerful plant based products with no colourants, perfumes, mica, titanium, animal extracts or mineral oils, and they are not tested on animals. They do contain the lowest possible dose of paraben preservatives though, to protect users from harmful bacteria which love to grow in all that yummy plant-goodness.
I got their AHA peel done at a salon. I think I did it 3 times over the course of 3 weeks. It's not like a chemical peel that literally pulls off a layer of skin, it is quite a gentle, gradual peel that just encourages the dermis to let go of old epidermal cells faster than usual. In addition I used their home care products to repair my skin: a night cream which also contains the AHA acids, the wash which neutralises the night cream in the morning before going out in sunny South Africa (very important), a repairing day cream with natural spf 15, and twice a day I used their vitamin C serum underneath the moisturizers, which lightens pigmentation. I also used their natural sunscreen which has NO titanium or other physical blockers, it contains laminaria algae from the South Sea Islands which helps the coral there to stay alive and colourful even in shallow sunny water. It also has LOADS of skin repairing and protecting plant extracts. Very light, no pore-blocking effect, very effective, non-carcinogenic.
It worked like a charm. My melasma was literally GONE for years. My skin was perfectly clear and smooth.
So now that it's back with a vengeance, after the stupid contraceptive injections (which I have since learned are formulated for dogs, not humans, eek! ) I think I will try it again.
To be honest I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment, so I might first try making my own serums instead. I'm going to try a combination of 3 things: Topical vitamin C serum, Hyaluronic acid serum and MSM serum, and see what happens. If anyone wants to try this with me, here are the recipes.
DIY vitamin C serum:
2 teaspoons of distilled water
1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin
half a teaspoon of L-ascorbic acid crystals
Shake vigorously and store in a dark glass bottle in the fridge for up to 10 days. Apply morning and night (a little bit of redness or flaking is normal, if this happens, reduce to once daily, or stop for a few days, and moisturise your skin well to prevent any scabbing, those will become dark as well and that is working backwards!) PLEASE DON'T USE ASCORBIC ACID POWDER, MUST BE L-ASCORBIC ACID CRYSTALS.
DIY Hyaluronic acid serum:
100ml of very cold distilled water
1 gram of Hyaluronic acid powder
Put into a dark glass bottle and shake vigorously, put in the fridge for 12 hours (it will be a goopy gel when it is disolved.)
Apply morning and night, or add it to your favorite moisturiser.
DIY MSM lotion:
3 heaped teaspoons of pure MSM crystals
half a cup of pure aloe gel
Mix it up and store in dark glass in the fridge. Apply any time.
NOTE: these serums are best made up in small quantities and kept in the fridge. Throw the unused portion out after 7-10 days and make it up new, especially the vitC serum! If it starts to get a little orange it has oxidised and is useless, toss it out. Store bought serums have a TON of preservatives in them, which is better than putting harmful rotten bacteria-infested products on your face, but the best is making it up fresh in small batches.
About the peeling thing: I absolutely do not recommend chemical peels or glycolic peels. They are synthetic and so strong that they need to be buffered with other chemicals to prevent injury, and they peel A LOT of skin off at once, which often causes more pigmentation. Alpha Hydroxy Acids from fruit, milk or other plants are better, but be very careful with this, NEVER use a product with AHA's while you are in the sun, I can't BELIEVE there are day creams with AHA's in them!!! Only use at night, and they must be NEUTRALISED off in the morning, not just rinsed off with water. Get a good quality product which respects these logical principles.
Also avoid mineral based make-up which contains sulphur dioxide as this causes a whole other kind of pigmentation as well.
I really hope this post helps someone, good luck and please let me know if you try any of these remedies and what happens. I will post again when I have tried this for a little while. And remember, beauty is not a mark in the face, it is a light in the heart. Much love to you all.
Hello, for nearly 10 years I suffered melasma and in addition to my freckles, my skin was horrible looking. People have asked if I was a man. Others have asked if I had sharpie marks on my face. Some called me black sesame face. Anyway, that was the past. About 5 years ago I did the whole body detox and changed my diet, eating mainly fish, chicken, raw greens, fruits and lots of water and staying away from beef, tofu, sugar and salt.
Besides my diet, my daily oral supplements include MSM, GSE, ACV, Matcha-green tea. MSM and GSE are very bitter if not taken correctly. The trick to taking those two with the bitter taste is to have the MSM powder in a spoon, squeeze some GSE drops on top of the powder and place the whole thing in your mouth then immediately wash it down with OJ or Grapefruit juice. OJ or grapefruit juice is packed with Vitamin C and vitamin C helps absorb MSM better.
Topically, I cleanse and exfoliate my face twice a day with regular facewash and a toothbrush. I am using O--y regenerist and an old, soft bristle toothbrush. First, I wet my face with warm water to open up pores and then apply face was to the toobrush and work in circular motion on my face for a good 5 minutes and rinse, pat dry and apply vitamin E oil. I don't put alot of vitamin E oil since it is heavy and oily. I am only using 1-2 drops, rub it in my hands and apply to both my face and neck.
For daytime, I am also using physical suncreen after vitamin e oil. There are 2 types of suncreen, chemical and physical. Make sure it is physical, which contains Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium. These are the ingredients that can prevent melasma from getting darker when exposed to sun.
For nightime, I exfoliate then apply a cream for melasma and vitamin E oil. One thing I forgot to mention. I also drink 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil a day. This is excellent for hair and skin. I hope someone can benefit from my remedies and good luck! :)
I have suffered from melasma for 5 years, it has become progressively worse from what I believe a combination of factors, some being, age, toxin overload, medical treatment for acne, huge exposure to the sun from working outdoors, birth control ( which I quit 3 years ago ). I am also a long term acne sufferer, off and on for 20 years and use of medicines internal and external to treat. The acne isn't too bad and I can deal with it. The melasma didn't worry me too much at first, it started on the forehead then last year developed on both cheeks and this year I developed my moustache which is just awful. I now avoid the sun at all costs which is difficult in the climate I live in. I am not a fan of sun-screen because of its adverse effects, but I have SPF 30 in my moisturizer used daily and always wear a hat but NEVER hang out in the sun like the old days.
I started an HQ cream 10 months ago, didn't feel it did anything so stopped and now believe my melasma has darkened. I decided I really have to do something as it is affecting my self-esteem, I had my hormones checked via blood test, hoping that would come back abnormal and give me the answer, but hormones are all in check. So I've been advised to have skin needling and chemical peels ( expensive ) and invasive procedures I've never been a fan of either. I was thinking of going ahead but now reading all these posts I'm back to where I was a while back believing this is an internal problem.
For those that are reading this, I know I haven't told you of any remedies or glimmers of hope but the above gives me the opportunity to express my problems and history with melasma and I can come back to this site with what I experiment with and learn.
I plan on using the GSE, MSN, B-12, cod liver oil, aloe vera, ACV and tumeric. Will update with how it goes.
This site gives hope and support, and know that beauty really does come from the inside.
(Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand)
First of all, blessings to you all for sharing your pains and solutions. If it wasn't for your generous thoughts, I would not be posting today.
My melasma began about 10 years ago. After reading the many posts on this site, most helpful was by Maria of Dallas in regards to an inside/outside approach. My melasma is 50-60% lighter today. The only diet change I made was to STOP drinking black tea (advised in reducing melasma). I switched to non-caffeniated to help get the grapefruit seed extract down.
Here's the treatment I designed for myself with YOUR help, and today has been exactly one week.
-1 ____ Multi Vitamin
-1000 mg of Vitamin C
-3x per day of 15 drops: Grapefruit Seed Extract (liquid). I use mint or chamomile tea to get this down as it's very bitter and I'm unable to take with water.
-Before shower, on a cotton pad, mix apple cider vinegar (50/50, diluted with water) with liquid grapefruit seed extract and rub on off - DO NOT scrub or you'll burn your face causing extra stress which darkens the skin. Just rub on very generously and let it dry - like a toner of sorts. Your melasma turns darker at first when you apply the apple cider vinegar, and then lightens upon drying. I leave on until I feel a slight stinging feeling, and then immediately rinse off in shower. After shower, I reapply ONLY the apple cider vinegar and let dry. Then I use Castor Mineral Oil an massage into face. Afterwards, apply your daily lotions, make-up (Bare Minerals make-up is great as it includes sunblock in all products: concealer, foundation, veil so you get multi-layer sun protection) etc as usual. I also apply extra sunblock throughout day and use a hat when outdoors.
-Before bed, wash face to remove make-up. I use cleanser. Then apply apple cider vinegar (50/50 diluted with water), again followed by Castor Mineral Oil massaged into my face.
This has been my daily routine for 7 days now, and I've seen 50% improvement.
Ingredients you will need: Grapefruit Seed Extract in liquid form, Multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, Apple Cider Vinegar, Castor Mineral Oil, cotton pads, sunblock, hat,
I really hope this is helpful to someone as you all were extremely helpful to me.
Hi there.. I'm so happy to have found this site. I am a 42-year-old woman who developed melasma 11 years ago shortly after giving birth to my third child. I developed it on my forehead, cheeks, upper lip and chin. I used Obagi and managed to permanently obliterate most of the the forehead and all of the upper lip, but after some time the patches on my chin and cheeks came back. Since then, I have used spent thousands on different creams. I was always fastidious about using sunscreen on my face, but could never make inroads into lightening or getting rid of the melasma.
I feel guilty in a way for being so obsessed about this; vain even. But like every woman, I want to look my best and realize that your face is what people see first.
So after studying all of these posts I purchased the following: Grapefruit Seed Extract (2 a day; 15 drops), Acidophilus (1 at lunch), Zinc (1 at lunch), Milk Thistle (2 before bed). I also use Apple Cider Vinegar as a toner (diluted) in the morning and before bed.
After two weeks, I am heartened at the changes I am seeing. My children confirm that not only is the melasma noticeably lighter but that it is breaking up on my cheeks and chin. You can actually see my normal skin colour coming through. The remaining spots on my forehead are stubborn but I will see this through.
I suffered from dark upper lip for ages before finding a remedy. I am 24 now and when I finally decided enough was enough, I had to get rid of this 5 o clock shadow which showed despite concealors, I approached the problem in 2 ways: (a) get rid of hair for good so you are not irritating or damaging the skin (as that could have been the cause of my dark shadow ). (b) Sunblock application. First, I checked with a dermotologist and found out that I didnt have hirutism and needed no hormonal remedies for upper lip darkness. Which also meant that there was no cause within body responsible for this, and the problem may be superficial over the skin only. I decided to get laser therapy ( costing $100 / session, costs may vary) to get rid of hair and between the sessions I tried to avoid hair removal unless extremely necessary in which case I threaded.
Secondly, I took up sunblock religiously. I apply avene emulsion 50 15/30 before sun exposure without fail. If I have to go out again and its been arond 2 hours, I reapply. If I can avoid the sun, I do.
Its been 3 laser sessions ( I might need 2 more ) and 4 months of sunblock use, and voila I have seen amazing results. The progress may be slow to completely rid of darkness but you will notice changes in skin color immediately after 2 weeks with sunblock application alone. Keep at it and you will be soon as happy as I am. :)
I am Anna Farahmand (researcher you can find me on the web) and you answer how to stop melasma in brief:
1- Fresh lemon juice dry fast, so best cheap composite to brightening skin is a mixture of fresh lemon juice with equal amount of glycerol. Also you can eat lemon juice as syrup as well as vinegar to intake enough vitamin C.
2-copper can make pigmentation. So it is good remedy to get rid of gray hair. Nutrition copper bomb is walnut. It can reverse aging if you take 6% of your calorie intake from this nut and make your hair better but also make hyper pigmentation.
3-spinach and onion are best to clear your skin from inside. Onion has enough MSM. Although you can take small amount of MSM medically.
4-nuts have much all minerals you need which are critical for your skincare.
5-if you notice, melasma is mostly visible on your face and your paw, it is because of sun. That's why Muslim women who wear scarf have a better skin, in the other hand they don't go out much time. But if you have pigmentation on all of part of your body without going exposure to sun, you can't heal it. Small size of melasma can be disappeared with laser therapy in many cases
(In The Valley, Ca)
I am 30 and have had melasma for about 5 years. I think it is from taking birth control and spending a lot of time in the sun. It started as just a strip on my upper lip and now I have brown patches all over my face. I have tried IPL, the blue peel, chemical peels and microdermabrasion as well as many other expensive creams and treatments to get this under control. The results have all been temporary at best. I discovered this site about a month ago and have been taking 2,000 mg of MSM with Vitamin C everyday along with using ACV and hydrogen peroxide topically (not at the same time), taking 50 mg zinc picolinate, 15 drops of GSE in my water every morning, and drinking my own homemade kefir.
The MSM and ACV have made my skin very soft and my complexion has cleared up a lot, but I have yet to see a huge difference in my melasma. I have started using my Retin-A and I'm hoping this will help speed up the process. If anyone has any ideas or advice I would be very appreciative. Has anyone had luck with the pycnogenol? If so, where did you get it?
Hi... wanted to provide an update on my progress with remedies for melasma.
My current regime is:
Scrub face twice daily (or more if can fit in) with Apple Cider Vinegar... Stinks... Rub in undiluted to the affected areas until cannot bear the stinging anymore... scrub hard.
Taking following vitamins daily:
1 zinc tablet, 1 selenium tablet, 1 vitamin b3 tablet, 4 vit c tablets, 2 pure msm capsules
Castor Oil ..... massage onto face after apple cider vinegar scrub.
Something is happening - some areas have lightened a lot, other areas are lightening but not so quickly.
I have had comments that I look 'fresh'
I'm not sure what is helping whether it is all of the above or one thing in particular.
I am not seeing the 'miraculous' overnight success that other have talked about. This is the most encouraged I have ever been though. I will continue this regime for at least 3 months to see if there is continued improvement.
Good luck to everyone fighting the same problem
It's been a while since I last wrote to EC. I have been battling melasma for years now and it has become my life mission to find a cure. I have tried everything cosmetic with disastorous results for my face and my wallet. The worst experience I had was IPL laser which made my melasma 100 times worse.
I've tried various concoctions from EC including MSM, Grapefruit, hydrogen peroxide to little avail, , , that being said I've probably not stuck to anything long enough to see a result... I'm a firm believer if there is no improvement in a few weeks there isnt going to be.
I am now on a regime of Apple Cider Vinegar, Vitamin C, zinc and horseraddish as these are about the only things I've not tried, It's been 1 week since I started using ACV and maybe there is a little improvement but nothing as dramatic as the results some have posted. I guess we all have to trial and error various methods to find the magical one that will work.
I promised myself if I find a solution I will tell everyone... so for those of you still battling this I feel your pain and will keep you posted on any improvements I see. Cheers, Maz
I have been using a combination of the follwoing and it seems to be working:
Grapefruit seed extract extra strength, three drops in water with a little juice twice a day. I have found this at most health food stores. With regular strengh you would want to use about 15 drops.
A prescription cream derived from vitamin A every other night on very dry skin. You wash, moisturize, wait 45 minutes to an hour and then use the cream to avoid irritation. It comes in cream and gel. I prefer gel as I am very oily.
On alternate nights I use a prescription hydroquinone cream that also contains some sort of acid and some steroid cream. I use this only on the brown spots and I do the same as with the other cream... wash, moisturize and wait 45 minutes to an hour. It's gotten a bad wrap, but it works for me. You MUST avoid the sun when using it or they will get worse! I plan to taper off and discontinue this cream when the spots are totally gone. I will report back and let you know if they come back. I know that this cream can't be used for extended periods of time.
IMPORTANT: I use a sunscreen containing a physical block EVERY SINGLE day. I say this is important because prior to using this sunscreen the spots would fade and then come back. It's a bummer, but you have to use sunscreen every morning. A physical block sunscreen will contain something like zinc, a physical block, rather than a chemical block. My doctor specializes in melasma and she suggested this. It works. Also, if you are gardening or hiking or at the beach, you MUST wear a hat. It's just part of your life now. You must accept it. Learn to love it.
Also, I discontinued the birth control pill which I believed started the whole thing in the first place. I had been on it for about twenty years with no problem and then I woke up one morning with brown spots all over my face. A giant one across my forehead. I believe my hormones shifted as some other thngs started happening like migraines, etc... these have stopped since stopping the pill. I now use a hormone-free IUD. It works well for me. But it does have copper and some people believe copper causes melasma for some people.
I do have another theory though. I got the brown spots basically overnight after getting an immunization shot for typhiod fever before going to Egypt. I have heard theories that certain medications like anti-seizure medication and anti-malaria medication can cause melasma. I have always wondered if this immunization caused the problem, but I don't know.
I have also improved my diet. It's not strict, but I eat less sugar and starches and more vegetables and fruits. I also consume less dairy now. I try to give my liver a rest now and then and not drink alcohol, but I do like my wine.
My melasma is almost completely gone. I am getting the compliments I used to get on my skin before the brown spots. This combo is what is working for me. I think it takes a lot of dedication to get rid of melasma, but I think the changes made are good for you anyway. It's a pain to wear sunscreen every single day and not get a tan, but you won't wrinkle or get skin cancer, so look at it that way. I was on the pill for a long time, but now I am wondering how good that was for me. And a healthy diet is always a good thing.
I think a combo of interior and exterior will fade the melasma in many people. Just one or the other probably won't work as well and just exterior probably won't do much for long if the interior problem is still there... like you keep taking the BC pills or going in the sun.
BTW, I did try several IPL treatments. Although they made my skin look good for a while I don't think they did anything for my melasma really. They probably aren't worth the money. not for me anyway.
Anyway, good luck!
I am 41 years old suffering from Melasma. I turned to the internet to find remedies to help with my problem. I have it on my cheeks and I am writing on this forum to help anyone out, because someone has helped me. Here's what I tried that did NOT work. First I had 4 IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatments. They did not work and in fact, made the problem worse. I now have lines going down my face where the laser treatment was on my face. As I said, I turned to the internet and I found that many people who suffer from Melasma may have copper overload. Personally I had never heard of this before. I am working on my master's degree in nutritional science, so I always look for the internal/external connection. Here's what I am doing now that IS working. Internally here is what I take daily. Supplements: 3,000 mg of MSM, Priobiotic (whatever brand you choose, look at the dosage, usually 2 capsules). 2000 msg's of Vitamin C with rosehips, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium (combined supplement)1000mg so far. Iron supplement (just one tablet) and I eat a ton of leafy green vegetables and as many natural foods that I can. I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Here's what I use for the external that really seems to work. Exfoliate with clarisonic brush, use a favorite toner that works with your skin type. You can use Hydroquinone 4%, it works for me, but it makes me nervous, but it does work for me. I also used Meladerm, works well and no HQ. I do this every night, I never go to sleep with my makeup on!
I think the key is getting the proper nutrients inside and exfoliating every single day and it does take time but after months I am truly seeing a significant improvement. Put it this way, I don't want to cry now every time I look in the mirror. The IPL treatments put me over the edge that it made it so much worse. Now I am going to try the Grapefruit Seed extract and see what that will do for me. I know that in my younger years I was on the birth control pill, so I know hormones play a role, but my diet of sugar and junk food in my 20's and beyond has had an effect on my skin, I am sure. Now I am just trying to undo some of my past damage and I know I will get there with patience and time.
I just wanted to write to see if I could help someone else fight this annoying problem.
Good luck and I hope something I've said here helps.