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7 Easy And Effective Home Remedies For Melasma

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Fight Melasma With Home Remedies

Melasma or hyperpigmentation is a skin condition where brown to gray-brown patches appear on the face. While the exact cause is not known, exposure to the sun is considered a trigger. All natural remedies such as topical application of lemon juice, diluted apple cider vinegar, aloe gel, onion juice, lactic acid, or a mix of oatmeal powder, milk, and honey may help.

A type of skin disease, melasma, also known as hyperpigmentation, presents itself as brown to gray-brown patches on the face. The cheeks, the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the chin, above the lips, are some of the areas where the patches commonly appear. It can also occur on the forearms and neck–generally, areas that are exposed to the sun more.1

Various Causes Of Melasma

Melasma is found more in women with men comprising just 10 percent of the melasma patients. More prevalent among people of color, the stimulation of melanocytes leading to increased melanin production is likely to be a cause for melasma. One of the main triggers is sunlight or UV radiation.2 Malfunctioning of the thyroid gland, pregnancy, stress, anxiety, etc are also believed to cause melasma and so are certain cosmetics and medications.

Pregnancy is considered another cause for melasma outbreak. Female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone seem to trigger it. Pregnancy-related outbreak, commonly called the “mask of pregnancy” or chloasma, usually resolves on its own within a few months after delivery.3

How Can You Prevent It?

While there is no guaranteed cure for melasma, you can prevent it to a great extent by protecting yourself adequately from the sun.4 Wearing a sunscreen every day and reapplying it every two hours, wearing wide-brimmed hats when outside etc are believed to give you the protection you need to keep the disease at bay and also to reduce the risk of existing melasma worsening. Remember to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before stepping out. A combination therapy using hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids has been found to be more efficient than monotherapy in melasma.5

Home Remedies For Melasma

Though there are quite a few chemical medications and ointments, depigmenting agents, and peels available to treat or rather reduce the effects of melasma, many people discontinue using them as the results take time to show. There are many natural treatments that are believed to cure melasma and are definitely less damaging than chemicals. Here are some natural remedies endorsed by users:

1) Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is believed to be the best way to cure melasma. The acidic nature of lemon juice, along with vitamin C, help remove the outer layer of the skin–the hyperpigmented skin in this case–thus making it a natural skin lightener.

How To Use

  • Extract the juice from one fresh lemon.
  • Apply it on the affected areas and gently rub it around for one minute.
  • Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Use twice a day for three weeks.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it a powerful bleaching agent. This is helpful in melasma as it can help make the skin smoother and more radiant.

How To Use

  • Mix one part apple cider vinegar and one part water.
  • Apply this solution on the melasma spots and allow it to air dry.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Gently pat dry the skin.
  • Use once a day.

3) Turmeric

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It has antioxidant and skin-lightening properties. Turmeric can also reduce the melanin content in the skin and help fight melasma.

How To Use

  • Mix five tablespoons of turmeric powder with 10 tablespoons of milk to make a paste. (Use whole milk as it has lactic acid and calcium that help exfoliate and soften the skin)
  • Add one tablespoon of gram flour to thicken the mixture.
  • Apply this paste evenly on the affected area.
  • Allow it to dry keeping it for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Do it once every day.

4) Onion

Onion juice comprises a range of sulfur-containing compounds that helps fade dark patches or discoloration on the skin. Onion juice can also restore your natural skin tone as well as provide nourishment to skin cells.

How To Use

  • Finely chop two to three onions, put it in a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze it to extract the juice.
  • Measure the onion juice and mix it with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar.
  • Apply it on the affected area with a cotton ball.
  • Leave it for 20 minutes.
  • Wash it off with warm water.
  • Do this twice daily for a few weeks.

5) Aloe Vera

This is another excellent home remedy for melasma. The aloe vera gel contains mucilaginous polysaccharides that can alleviate hyperpigmentation and restore the original color of the skin.

How To Use

  • Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the fresh gel.
  • Apply the gel thoroughly on the affected area and gently massage for one or two minutes.
  • Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Then wash it off with lukewarm water.
  • Do this twice a day for a few weeks.

6) Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a natural exfoliating agent. It can effectively remove brown spots on the face and dissolve dead skin.

How To Use

  • Mix together two tablespoons of oatmeal powder, two tablespoons of milk and one tablespoon of honey.
  • Apply it on the affected area.
  • Wait 20 minutes and rub off the mixture with water.
  • Pat the face dry with a clean towel.
  • Do this twice or thrice a week for a month.

7) Lactic Acid

Lactic acid was found to be an effective and safe peeling agent in the treatment of melasma.6 Lactic acid is naturally found in sour milk products, such as yogurt, koumiss, laban, kefir, certain cottage cheeses, and kombucha. Though research suggests that full strength pure lactic acid needs to be used as a peel, applying yogurt or any of these sour milk products should also get you some good results.

Now that you know of the various options available to tackle melasma, use them as directed and get a natural cure.

References   [ + ]

1. Cestari, Tania Ferreira, Lia Pinheiro Dantas, and Juliana Catucci Boza. “Acquired hyperpigmentations.” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia 89, no. 1 (2014): 11-25.
2. Melasma: Who Gets And Causes. American Academy of Dermatology.
3. Melasma. British Skin Foundation
4. Lakhdar, H., K. Zouhair, K. Khadir, A. Essari, A. Richard, S. Seité, and A. Rougier. “Evaluation of the effectiveness of a broad‐spectrum sunscreen in the prevention of chloasma in pregnant women.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 21, no. 6 (2007): 738-742.
5. Gupta, Aditya K., Melissa D. Gover, Keyvan Nouri, and Susan Taylor. “The treatment of melasma: a review of clinical trials.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 55, no. 6 (2006): 1048-1065.
6. Sharquie, Khalifa E., Mohammad M. Al‐Tikreety, and Sabeeh A. Al‐Mashhadani. “Lactic acid as a new therapeutic peeling agent in melasma.” Dermatologic surgery 31, no. 2 (2005): 149-154.