How To Get Rid Of Melasma In 8 Weeks
Melasma is hard to get rid of. But did you know that there’s a treatment which contains five ingredients that can help you get rid of it 8 weeks? Here’s the review:
Skin condition like melasma is a lifelong suffering that none of us ever agreed to, but we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future. It causes hyperpigmentation that makes the skin look uneven and patchy with brownish to dark grey colour. If you’re living with it right now, then you probably know what I’m talking about. Whether you’ve had it since after giving birth or it’s just recently developed due to sun damage or liver problems, you’ll be happy to know that there are effective treatments that you can buy over-the-counter and we’ll go through it together.
Melasma is actually a lot older than you’d think. Archaeologists and historians have found literature apparently pertaining to melasma as far back as 360BC. The entries in question described a condition where the skin would gradually darken, aggravated by lengthy exposure to sunlight and heat. Sounds familiar? The first modern day report we have on melasma comes from 1931, more than 80 years ago. The reporter described the case of a young woman, who had hyperpigmentation around her upper lip, which worsened when she was exposed to sunlight. A doctor close to the reporter suspected that it might be due to a skin problem called Berloque Dermatitis, a condition that causes streaks of hyperpigmentation. This was because the patient used Eau de Cologne, a perfume from Germany containing an ingredient called Bergapten, which seemed to cause the condition. But the reporter shot down that claim, essential saying that it couldn’t be dermatitis because she used the same exact perfume on her lip and didn’t experience hyper pigmentation at all. So, it became evident that they had something new on their hands – not just perfume stains. This was when melasma was first named, as ‘chloasma virginium periorale’. The name ‘chloasma’ is pretty much synonymous with melasma nowadays.
The biggest probable cause of melasma is sun damage. Direct exposure to UV rays kick-start our body’s melanin production. It’s important to note that melasma isn’t a side effect of sunburn. There was a study conducted on melasma patients back in 1961 and none of them had sunburn.
Who are more likely to get it?
- Individuals with light to medium skin tone.
- People who live in sunny parts of the world.
- Anyone who stays under the sun.
- Pregnant women
- People who have liver problems.
Women are more at-risk in terms of getting melasma. A good majority of melasma patients are pregnant women, which is what gives it the nickname ‘mask of pregnancy’. It’s also more common in women since a leading cause of it is birth control.
Hormone replacement therapy, stress or ovarian tumours can also cause Melasma. We don’t know just yet how many people in the world have melasma, but we know that it’s increasing due to a rise in temperature and an increase in the time people spend under the sun every day.
How to get rid of melasma:
So now that we’ve got the bad stuff out of the way, it’s time for some good news! While there’s no cure for melasma that would work out for everybody, it’s good to know that there’s one treatment that can help lessen its appearance. You’ve probably tried a lot of products before but did you know that there are five powerful ingredients that have been proven effective to treat melasma? Use them altogether everyday (twice a day) and you’re probably going to see results between 8-12 weeks (depending on your skin type). So, without further ado, let’s begin.
- Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a bleaching agent used to remove dark hyperpigmentation and bring the skin back to a normal color. It’s completely natural and derived Japanese rice wine. A study was done in China with forty women suffering from melasma. The researchers made up a solution of 10% glycolic acid with 2% hydroquinone (Group A) and added in 2% kojic acid (Group B). There were two groups in total; Group B was given the solution with kojic acid, and the other group wasn’t. They were tested over 12 weeks, and 60% of the women in the Group B significantly improved the appearance of melasma by 52.5%. Also, two of the patients were completely free from melasma after the study, and it seemed to be due to kojic acid. It’s important to know that there were reports of skin irritation in the study and it’s better to do a patch test prior to using kojic acid.
- Glycolic Acid
As you might have noticed, glycolic acid played a part in the study discussed above. So we already know it works synergistically together with Kojic acid. It’s a peeling agent, so it works by letting the hyper-pigmented skin peel off instead of bleaching it to be lighter. It also allows other ingredients in melasma treatments, like bleaching agents, to dig in a little bit deeper and get better effects. It’s basically removing the dead skin cells on the top of the skin so that other whitening actives can penetrate the skin better. This explains the difference in the results we talked about earlier. Glycolic acid was there to support kojic acid and allow it to properly reach the pigment, giving a huge boost to its effectiveness. The study with glycolic acid also shows significant improvement in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So glycolic acid might actually be effective as an anti-aging treatment as well as a treatment for melasma.
- Papain Extract
Papain is an all-natural extract taken from papaya. Its melasma-busting superpowers come from the fact that it’s a natural exfoliator. It helps scrape off dead skin cells as well as hyper-pigmented ones. It also assists to even skin tone whilst simultaneously rejuvenating and nourishing the skin, meaning not only will you be free of that dreaded melasma but you’ll also have a lovely complexion when you’re done. Its exfoliating properties work somewhat in the same way that peeling agents do, though not that intense. Therefore, using papain extract in conjunction with other whitening agents will boost its effectiveness.
Niacinamide is the fancy name for Vitamin B3, and it’s used in everything from moisturizers, anti-aging treatment and whitening products. A study comparing hydroquinone to Niacinamide found that Niacinamide was just a little bit less effective – a 70% decrease in pigmentation for HQ and 62% for Niacinamide. But the problem with hydroquinone is that it’s not the safest chemical in the world, meaning that melasma sufferers can’t really use it for a long time without experiencing serious irritation and allergic reactions. Niacinamide doesn’t have that problem- it’s a naturally occurring vitamin that your body actually needs. So for that level of safety, we can forgive it for being 8% less effective than HQ.
Just a quick note: HQ has been linked to skin cancer and it’s not recommended to be used on skin for longer period of time.
- Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutin is another ingredient that’s touted as a safe alternative to hydroquinone. It’s derived from Bearberry plant and contains natural ability to inhibit melanin means that it can lighten skin and balance skin tone in the process. A government study, which involved applying AA to a three-dimensional human skin model, showed that melanin production dropped down to around about 40%. It also didn’t necessarily stop or impair melanin-producing cells; it just stopped the production from happening. Now, if you’ve lived with melasma long enough, you might have a healthy hatred for those hyper-pigmenting melanin cells, but it’s important that we keep all of your cells nice and safe. So what does this all add up to? Alpha arbutin is a fantastically safe treatment for melasma which actively works to slow down the production of pigment and making your skin even and lighter.
The question is: Is there a product that combines all these ingredients in one treatment?
The answer is yes and no. No because I haven’t come across a cream that contains all of these ingredients in one tube. Yes, because there’s a kit that you can use like the one below.
Get your kit here: Melasma Treatment Kit
Note: Everyone’s skin type is different from each other and you might see faster or slower results based on how your skin reacts to the products. However, you should give it at least 8-12 weeks before giving up (even dermatologists would tell you this.)
What else you should do:
1. Completely avoid heat and sunlight. The ingredients listed above would not work if you stay under the sun. Resist the temptation of getting a sun tan and think about living a melasma-free life! Also, avoid being in a hot place as it could trigger hyper pigmentation.
2. Be consistent with your melasma treatment.
3. Try taking Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids orally as it could help lighten the skin.
IMPORTANT: The only way to make these products work is by using it twice a day consistently for a minimum of 8 weeks. These products will probably not give you the results that you’re looking for in a week or two. Even dermatologists would tell you that you would need to use skincare products in about two months to really see results. Patience is the key and without it, you’re not going to see a difference in your skin. Therefore, you must be very patient and be consistent with your melasma regimen if you really want to get over the embarrassment, live confidently and enjoy a makeup-free life.
Please feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment below.
Corsi, M. (1935). Chloasma Viriginum Periorale. London: Royal Society of Medicine.
Handel, A. C. et al. (2014). Melasma: a clinical and epidemiological review. Unknown: Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia.
JT, L. (1999). Treatment of melasma using kojic acid in a gel containing hydroquinone and glycolic acid. Singapore: Dermatol Surg.
JT, L., & SN, T. (1997). Glycolic acid peels in the treatment of melasma among Asian women. Singapore: Dermatol Surg.
K., S. et al. (2004). Inhibitory effects of alpha-arbutin on melanin synthesis in cultured human melanoma cells and a three-dimensional human skin model. Osaka, Japan: Biol Pharm Bull.
Navarrete-Solis, J. et al. (2011). A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma. Mexico: Dermatol Res Pract.
Victor D. Newcomer, M. et al. (1961). A Melanosis of the Face (“Chloasma”). Los Angeles: Arch Dermatol.