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.
I found the biggest improvement with Mandelic/Malic acid. I first used Nucelle's SPA System and saw big benefits, but because the price, I switched to Mama Lotion.
Still, I didn't get rid of the melasma completely. I was having other problems too, such as acne, stomach problems, numbness and migraines, etc. so I saw a nutritionist who put me on a food plan to cleanse my system. It was only $120 to see the nutritionist and I've been on this plan for a couple of months. I notice HUGE improvements overall. I feel wonderful! She suggested fasting, but I haven't done it yet.
I pretty much cut everything out of my diet (wheat, dairy, sugar), I have great recipes to follow which contain mostly fruits, vegetables, brown rice or brown rice pasta and raw nuts (some lean meats). I try to buy mostly organic when I can afford it. I have my fruit in my morning smoothie and I add Nature's Plus Source of Life daily and KYO green. At night I take flaxseed oil, milk thistle and probiotics.
I think you not only have to treat the skin on the outside, but on the inside too! I wish I could share my food plan with all of you!!!
(Brooklyn, New York)
Hi, I have tried numerous suggestions from this site to help my melasma. I have had this for over 12 years now. I have had The Fraxel laser done and it lightened it, but came back this past summer. I use SPF 45. I am taking MSM 3 x a day, along with 2 Vit. C. and drinking Grapefruit Extract 3 x a day. Not sure what helped, good news is it has lightened and not become darker. I recently purchased a product called Environ their Evenescence line of products is for Melasma. This product would be $83.00 from my Dermatologist. I bought it at Firstforskincare.com for $45.00. This product is working. I highly suggest trying this product and within 2-4 weeks you will see a difference. I hope this helps. Thank you to everyone for all the great ideas.
(Los Angeles, Ca)
I have a very sensitive skin. I suffered from acne "infestation" in my teen-age years, and left some marks of tiny craters on my face. In short, my pores are visible to others at a few-feet distance.
I have read most of the articles posted here and other websites about brown spots / melasma / age spot. I have been suffering from this skin disorder due to over sun-exposure which happened more than 10 yrs ago. Like everyone else, I have tried a lot of treatments with the exception of laser cure because I can't afford it. I have NOT stopped looking for the best possible therapy that would help at least fade my blemishes which are very visible on cheeks. I am thankful for all the contributions made in this site, and I have tried few of them. I came across this website in May, and since then, became more EAGER to find possible ways, and cure for my brown spots. Knowing that you are not the only one suffering from this skin disorder somehow made me more hopeful than discourage. I've wanted to write and share something since May, but I waited until there was a visible sign of change on my face. This is the account of my 3 months self-therapy:
Every night (as always), I sleep with a clean face. Since May, I have tried using Organic ACV (with Mother) on my face as my toner. On the first month, I diluted ACV with water and apply the mixture on my face using cotton. During the 1st month, my skin peeled off. For few weeks, my facial skin was so tender because of ACV, that it became a mild sore. To my amazement, the portions of skin that were peeled off remained my true skin color without the brown spot after it got healed (from being tender). When my face got used to the ACV, I stopped diluting it. Every night, I still apply undiluted ACV on my face. My friends who didn't see me for at least 3 months noticed that the brown spots were lighter. I also tried making my own moisturizer using Organic at least 98% Organic Aloe Vera, Vit. E, and few drops of Organic Tea Tree Oil, and Lavander Oil. From time to time, I replace the oils with Jojoba. Orally, I am taking Glutatione which is according to my research is considered the best, and mother of all anti-oxidants. I eat as much as possible organic food, and drink ACV tonic regularly 3x a Day (I use the brand _____). If I could, I avoid eating pork, junk food, and too much processed food. I rather eat room temperature food than have it warmed in microwave.
I am also using Juice Beauty moisturizer with SPF 20 during day time. So far, this is one of the best products I have tried with more than 90% organic ingredients. Sometimes, labels say organic, but the percentage is another thing. (This also applies when I am looking for food label. So, be careful). I put on Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation/Powder to matte my oily skin. Some researches mentioned that whatever we put or apply on our body, about 60% or more is absorbed by our skin - meaning that's what comes in our body.
For the last three months, my skin and health has improved a lot. I cannot ascribe the improvement to ONLY one thing. I guess it is a combination of all of the above. I am happier with what I see, and feel. I guess there is no short cut to everything good. We just have to be patient. Most of all, we have to have a positive and good mental attitude. The spiritual side of my life helps me a lot in achieving a positive and healthy attitude in life. Remember, what we see on the mirror is just skin deep. The true beauty lies inside us - our soul and spirit.
melasma - I have tried juice of onion with equal amount of hydrogen peroxide as my face toner and in 2 weeks, my 'pigmentation' faded away. Thanks, i love yr website!
(Cleethorpes, Linconshire/united Kingdom)
Hi, I used to have beautiful olive skin, until I moved to Hawaii and started to breakout with acne. I went to a dermatologist who prescribed an acne medication that could produce sunspots as a side effect. I didn't think much about it until I developed two tiny sunspots on my cheeks. I tried everything to get rid of them, goji berry extract, retionol products, expensive photofacials. Nothing worked omly seemed to make them worse. Over the next two years theygradually grew to about the size of a quarter but not very dark and could be covered with makeup. My father in law mentioned oregano oil. So I decided to use it. I put it on my entire face, it burned really bad but I was determined to get the two sunspots off. This was one of the worst decisions I have ever made in my life. About three days afterwards I developed a horrible case of Melasma. I have huge dark brown spots on my upper lip, cheeks, forehead and nose. It has made me look 10-15 years older and my confidence has effected my social life. I went to the doc and she said that the heat from the oregano oil onsetted Melasma and there is no cure for it. The best thing to do for it is sunscreen, hats everyday and stay out of the sun. DO NOT USE OREGANO OIL it has ruined my face.
Melasma: I've ethnic skin and due to chronic acne I had post inflammatory hyper pigmentation as well. I got microderm done on my face 4 times at 1-2 weeks interval, without realizing that my skin was too sensitive. I used retin A as well. It left me with dark patches on both sides of my cheeks. A dermatologist said it was melasma. after that I tried many things: lot of sunscreen, azeleic acid, lemon turmeric. but nothing seemed to work. infact I damaged my skin more by being aggressive on it. I decided to give my skin some time. I stopped using too many things on it. totally avoided the sun. and finally when it wasn't very sensitive I started using papaya for exfoliation. i scoop out one table spoon from the ripened papaya and mash it in my hands and slather on my face. if i want deep exfoliation i leave it for 20 mins (else 5 mins) and then rub my face with palms in circular motion. i can see dead skin cells from face in my palms.afterwards i apply fresh aloe juice and then rosehip oil and I'm very happy with the results. the hyperpigmentation is not fully cured but it has faded quite a lot. i still avoid sun. I'm not sure if it was melasma or only post inflammatory hyper pigmentation. whatever it was papaya has lightened it through gentle exfoliation and i'm hoping for great results in future ( I have used it only for 2 weeks). Hope it may also help someone. It doesn't treat hyper pigmentation but just exfoliates effectively. so other lightening agents can still be used along with it. Good Luck.
I've battled dark skin spots (hyperpigmentation) for nearly 11 years; I've tried everything out there and found that Tri-Luma is very affective. My discoloration is aggressive and Tri-Luma has worked when my skin has been at its worst. Tri-Luma is a topical skin cream; should be applied in the morning about ten minutes before applying make up and again at night for best and fastest results. Tri-Luma is by prescription only and is very expensive; my dermatologist offers it to his patients at a nicely reduced price but some warehouse clubs like Costco also offer it between $175-$190 a tube. Don't need much, a tube lasts about 2-3 months.
Ive had melasma which has covered nearly 40% of my face. It started about a 1 1/2 years ago. I got a little spot on my nose and around my upperlip. 6 months ago it started very quickly to spread. I went to several Dr even cleveland clinic and they gave me creams but nothing worked. They all told me the same thing. "Theres nothing you can do, it will probably get worse." I wasnt willing to believe that. I started reading natural cures and heard about apple cider vinegar and tried it. It got a little better. So I realized that there has to be a cure otherwise it wouldnt have helped at all. I had a spot on my fingernail which I believed was fungus. I also had granuloma Annular on my neck and when I put Apple cider vinegar on it it helped the nail and eliminated the granuloma completely. So then I realized they had to be connected to the melasma. I began my mission. I had been to several Dr. I knew that all 3 were related, they all told me I was crazy that there was no connection. I knew if I could find what cured my fingernail it would cure the melasma. Each dr perscribed something diffrent nothing worked. So I began doing more research on the internet and realized what I needed was Doxycylene and prednisone to cure it. Sure enough it worked 5 days later the bacteria in my nail is gone and so is the melasma. I think mine was caused from a bacteria in my body. Dont give up you just need to know where its coming from..... Good luck!!!!! Suzy
(Vancouver, Bc, Canada)
I just wanted to let those of you who are suffering from melasma know that you can fix it!
I have been contracting the dreaded upper lip and blotches on both sides of my cheeks slightly since mid 20's. Last winter I became very ill with the flu AND mono ( usually very healthy ) and felt fatigued ALL THE TIME. After I thought I felt a bit better, I drove cross country. The sun was beaming down on me through the windshield the entire time (which I never thought to wear sunscreen while driving). Anyway, I arrived at my destination and new town for the summer with even darker and uglier patches (probably the sun and clearly my health was a bit shakey). Needless to say I was horrified with my skin! I never want to wear makeup and had to pour it on everyday to hide the ugly brown blothes! I went to an esthetician and she told me I had melasma and that it is incurable (great). She talked me into getting a really expensive chemical peel which made my skin look okay for maybe 2 days until I went on a hike with my dog for even a 1/2 hour. I was getting fed up. I didn't believe the sun could make a symmetrical brown mask on my face and knew it had to be something more as I was still feeling fatigued. I did TONS of research. I started juicing..which sort of helped.. I've been taking MSM, turmeric, vit C, Vit D, apple cider vin toner morning and night, also started using castor oil as a face wash (which makes your skin feel so good and glowy! ). I just started taking probiotics and I can already see my lip completely fading. My energy is sky rocketing also. Clearly I have some autoimmune issues!! I suggest you all start taking probiotics because I think they are working the most of all as they help regulate intestinal function which in turn helps out your entire mind/body!! Sorry for the rant but I know you all understand how tough having this problem is! Do the right thing and buy some probiotics.
I found this about melasma in one of my newsletters from Dr. Jonathan Wright (Washington state):
Both retinoic acid (a natural, acid form of vitamin A) and azaleic acid (a natural component of human skin) can lessen the abnormally heavy pigmentation of melasma, but in 2002 Chinese investigators reported another simple but effective remedy.
The researchers investigated the effects of pycnogenol (a standardized antioxidant rich extract of the bark of the French pine tree Pinus pinaster) against melasma in thirty women with the condition.
After standardized measurements of area and degree of melasma pigmentation, each woman took 25 milligrams of pycnogenol three times daily for 30 days. Both the area covered by melasma and the intensity of the pigment were significantly reduced. The "general effective rate" was 80 percent and no side effects were reported. Other symptoms also decreased during the 30 days, including fatigue, constipation, pains in the body, and anxiety.
The researchers wrote: "To conclude, pycnogenol was shown to be therapeutically effective and safe in patients suffering from melasma."
I hope this helps!
I've had melasma around my mouth, around my eyes and across my forehead which was 4 times darker than the rest of my face for more than 10 years. I've tried everything from fade cream which did fade it but it came back within a few weeks, to acv, peroxide, onion juice, potato juice, castor oil the list goes on and on. Nothing truly help until I tried Organic 100% pure Rosehip oil(rosa canina oil).
I 1st tried 100% organic pure rosehip seed oil (rosa rubinginosa oil) which is a light color, used it twice a day for 6 months, it was a nice moisturizer but did nothing for the melasma. So I wanted to try another brand of rosehip oil bc of the review I read from the previous EC post. I decided to try the Organic 100% pure Rosehip oil (rosa canina oil) which is a dark amber color, little bit thicker, richer and better overall quality oil and great moisturizer than the rosa rubinginosa oil. Wow, what a difference. I used it twice a day and within 3 months my skin tone started to even out nicely, I don"t have to cake on the foundation anymore I can go without. The melasma is so light, its not noticeable.
I think that the origin of the oil makes a huge difference. The rosehip oil (rosa canina) source chile, andes mountain vs rosehip seed (rosa rubinginosa) there are others like rosehip oil (rosa mosqueta) etc. But make sure its 100% rosa canina.
Melasma Remedy Treatment (Rosehip Seed Oil and Squalene Oil)
I've tried just about everything for pregnancy induced melasma. It was embarassing and was getting to the point that even makeup couldn't cover it. I was reserved to just use sunblock and dermablend concealer for the rest of my life, but then I happen chanced on something that worked.
I had previously tried EVERYTHING, even that nasty skin bleaching cream, but nothing worked. I started making my own beauty products and purchased a couple of oils to make a natural anti-aging cream for my eyes. However, I was lazy and just mixed the two oil 50/50 and put it around my eyes, accidentally getting some on my temples (where the worst of my melasma is)... A few hours later I looked in the mirror and was FLOORED at what I saw. The melasma was significantly lighter. I begin putting it on my entire face and in just two days it is 75% gone. I am NOT exaggerating. I didn't need concealer today and just used a light BB cream and it blended in nicely. I imagine after a few more weeks, it should be all but gone. I am going to add a few more EO's and carrier oils to a serum too and test those out. If you want it to fade, while smoothing your complexion out, use RoseHIP seed oil (not rose oil) and squalene oil (derived from olive oil). Mix the two 50/50 in a bottle and apply liberally on your skin. It is also helping with the thin and dry skin on my hands and I'm testing it on scars and stretchmarks too.
I have tried almost every remedy on this site for the last two years to help my melasma: hydrogen peroxide, grapefruit seed extract (GSE), MSM supplementation and horseradish. In addition, I have tried Tri-Luma cream from my dermatologist. I also have worn 50 sunscreen every day from La Roche Posay. Though I appreciated everyone's posts, unfortunately, nothing seemed to work.
Until now. I wanted to share this with everyone on the message board because I found the suggestions here so helpful. Basically, I started taking 200mcg of selenium, a mineral that's supposed to help with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Within three weeks of taking it, my fatigue had improved AND...my melasma was completely gone. I was shocked and did some research. Turns out that in the same way that yeast overgrowth can affect some people with melasma, there are other people with thyroid problems who are more affected by melasma as well.
(In case the link doesn't work, here the info:Association of Melasma with Thyroid Autoimmunity and Other Thyroidal Abnormalities and Their Relationship to the Origin of the Melasma*
RUB?N J. LUTFI, MIGUEL FRIDMANIS, ALEJANDRO L. MISIUNAS, OSCAR PAFUME, ENRIQUE A. GONZALEZ, JORGE A. VILLEMUR, MIGUEL A. MAZZINI and HUGO NIEPOMNISZCZE)
I should add that I also take fish oil, evening primrose oil and a B vitamin, but the melasma didn't go away until I started with the selenium. HOWEVER, selenium can be toxic at high doses (400mcg)--PLEASE consult with your doctor to find if you are deficient or have other thyroid problems. This probably won't help everyone unfortunately, but those few of you with undiagnosed thyroid issues it may help. And since selenium is quite inexpensive, that's nice too. :)
(Rowville, Victoria ,australia)