Tell a Friend: Digg StumbleUpon Facebook Furl Google Propeller Reddit Technorati Twitter YahooMyWeb


Samantha Garnett

Senior Editor

Related Articles:

What is Hyperpigmentation
By Samantha Garnett
What Causes Age Spots?
By Samantha Garnett
Got a suggestion for an article or special feature? Contact us!


Is There a Cure for Melasma?

Effective treatments for the symptoms of melasma...
By Samantha Garnett,

Melasma is a skin condition that affects thousands of people all over the world. It is sometimes called chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy" and is most prevalent in women. In it's most common form, melasma occurs on the face in the form of dark pigmented patches and discolorations. These dark areas are usually flat and typically develop gradually over time. Melasma often occurs after hormonal changes such as pregnancy or by the use of oral contraceptives. Even though melasma is only cosmetic and does not present any other symptoms, the condition is often extremely detrimental to the individual's self confidence. Fortunately there are some effective treatments that can assist in reducing the appearance of the dark discolorations of the skin caused by melasma.

in many individuals, melasma will target only specific areas such as the cheeks, upper lips or forehead. For this reason, companies have created skin creams that can be used on the face to lighten the dark areas. Many of these creams contain an ingredient called hydroquinone which is a chemical skin lightener that can be used in various concentrations ranging from 2%-10%. Over the counter hydroquinone creams are available in a maximum of 2% concentration. For concentrations higher than 2%, a prescription is required. Many of these prescription strength products also combine the hydroquinone with Tretinoin, which helps to significantly increase cell turnover. Some individuals prefer not to use hydroquinone and instead opt for more natural skin lighteners that use proven ingredients like Kojic Acid or Arbutin. Check our annual Skin Care Roundup for a review of these kinds of natural skin lightening products.

Other treatments include facial peels and laser. Facial peels come in various forms but often include alpha hydroxyacids or heavy exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid. These peels are also available in various strengths, with higher concentrations only available by prescription. Laser treatments can also be administered by a doctor or professional and have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation in many individuals with melasma.

Unfortunately there is one "cure" for melasma. In cases of pregnancy induced melasma, the skin will often return to normal slowly after the pregnancy has concluded. Similarly, in many individuals, melasma caused by contraceptives will also slowly recede if the pill is discontinued. Some makeup companies also manufacture "coverup" products that can hide the dark patches sufficiently while a treatment program is under way. During any treatment, a strong sunblock should also be used to cover the dark patches to prevent the sun from darkening the skin. Melasma affected areas are very prone to darkening from even smallest amounts of UV exposure. Ultimately the best "cure" will most likely be a combination of different products and treatments.

Related Articles
What is Hyperpigmentation?
By Samantha Garnett
What Causes Age Spots?
By Samantha Garnett

Related Reviews
Skin Care Roundup Part 8: Skin Lighteners
By Michelle Klein

Reader Comments
Comment Submission is Currently Closed

ARgghh By threebabyboys

"I just developed melasma after my third pregnancy. The first two I had a little bit of the mask of pregnancy but it went away in just a few months. This time it is much more stubborn and has not faded for almost 18 months! I have been looking around for treatments but have not had any luck. My doctor put me on triluma but so far no results. I'm getting very frustrated and starting to lose hope...."
Tell a Friend: Digg StumbleUpon Facebook Furl Google Propeller Reddit Technorati Twitter YahooMyWeb


Copyright ? All Rights Reserved. The statements on have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. The products displayed on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. has sponsorships or affiliations with some of the trusted brands and merchants mentioned on this website. For more information, view our about page. The reviews on this website are posted at the time they are written and are generally not updated. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate or needs to updating, please contact us. For advertising or affiliate sponsorship opportunities, please contact us. All trademarks, logos, and service marks are registered and/or unregistered trademarks of their respective owners.