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Last Updated: Feb 05, 2020
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Melasma: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

About Symptoms Causes Treatment Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Recovery Cost Results Alternatives

What is the Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin problem that is more prevalent in women. The condition causes dark, discolored patches to appear on the skin..

What are the symptoms of melasma?

Melasma causes patches of discoloration on the skin. The brown or grey-brown patches of melasma appear most often on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin.

What is the main cause of melasma?

Melasma can be due to hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy or from exposure to sun. Hormones stimulate the growth of cells that make brown pigment (melanocytes) and exposure to sunlight stimulates melanin pigments.

How is melasma treatment done?

Melasma can be cured easily with the application of creams or steroids. The most common melasma therapies include:

  • Application of sunscreen is extremely vital to treat melasma. It is important to apply sunscreen so that it helps to block penetration of sun light and stimulation of pigment formation.
  • Hydroquinone creams: 2% hydroquinone (HQ) creams. Hydroquinone can be found as gels, lotions, or even liquid and is applied on the skin to lighten the skin color.
  • Tretinoin drugs: Tretinoin or a corticosteroid drugs are also prescribed as these have also proven to be effective in skin lightning.
  • Triple cream: A medicine, called triple cream, contains 3 medicines (hydroquinone, tretinoin, and a corticosteroid) in 1 cream.
  • Dermatologist may also prescribe azelaic acid or kojic acid for topical application on the skin to help lighten melasma.
  • Treatments also provide laser therapy, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion or a light-based treatment.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

Melasma is a common disorder found in many people across the world. People with facial skin covered with brown pigments and patches can consult a dermatologist for its treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Appearance of patches on the skin, if caused due to other reasons, like allergy, need to be treated differently. Those patients are not eligible for the treatment of melasma. Also, if the pigments disappear on its own, medical assistance is not required.

Are there any side effects?

Possible side effects of melasma treatments include temporary skin irritation. This may happen because of the individual skin type. However, this fades away as the skin adjusts to the medicines. People who use hydroquinone treatment in very high concentrations for prolonged periods are likely to develop a side effect called exogenous ochronosis. In this condition, the skin actually darkens instead of lightening the skin while the bleaching agent is used.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Avoiding exposure to sun, particularly of the face, is the most important factor after the treatment. Melasma is a chronic disorder with periodic ups and downs. It is important to follow the advices of the dermatologist effectively for best results. Using sunscreen lotions or creams and other accessories like hats, sunglasses or protective masks can reduce the exposure of facial skin to sunlight. Even after the pigmentation clears, the patient must continue with the course until its completion. This is called maintenance therapy that helps prevent melasma from returning.

How long does it take to recover?

Treatment of melasma is a slow process. It takes months for the patches to fade away and the discoloration to normalize. If the dark or brown pigments occur only on some areas, the treatment may take around eight or nine months to cure. But if it spreads over a wide region, covering major part of the face, then it takes even greater time and continuous treatment to disappear.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Treatment of melasma is a time taking process. The creams and steroids need to be applied for a minimum of eight to twelve months before they start to fade away. So, this incurs a cost for the multiple creams and doctor appointments. And, moreover, laser treatment of melasma is an expensive affair. There is a probable need of 3-4 treatments over 3-6 months for the patients. Roughly, the amount may reach up to Rs 50,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The outcome of the treatment is usually permanent if proper care and precautions be taken. Removal of pigmentation does not guarantee its longevity. The patches may again appear if the skin is exposed to severe sunlight or if there be some hormonal imbalance. To prevent such, use of sunscreens and protective masks during long outdoor stays under the sunlight is essential.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Melasma can be treated by alternative means. Home made remedies may be helpful to restore the normal skin color and remove the patches. Lemon juice is a natural skin lightener with its astringent properties. The acidic nature of lemon juice also helps to remove the outer layer of the skin, thereby eliminating a layer of the hyperpigmented skin. Apple acid vinegar, turmeric, onion juice can also help to eliminate the patches on the skin. Aloe vera gel, due to the presence of mucilaginous polysaccharides, can alleviate hyperpigmentation and restore the skin’s original color. Other substances can also be used effectively for treating melasma. Apart from this, use of homeopathic treatment and Ayurveda may also be useful to remove hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Popular Questions & Answers

How to reduce melasma? What is the cause of the melasma and melasma is genetic cause or not.

BHMS, Diploma in Dermatology
Homeopath, Hyderabad
Wash and clean your face thoroughly and then apply a thin layer of plain Greek yogurt and let it sit on affected areas for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off. This vitamin is a great melasma home remedy because it helps inhibits melanin pro...

Suggest some cream for melasma. After having baby I have developed melasma. And now kid 4years still melasma not gone.

PGDHHM, MBBS
General Physician, Delhi
Melasma often fades on its own after pregnancy or after woman stops taking contraceptive pills. Skin lightening creams can help in melasma too

Hi sir. I'm suffering from melasma. please tel me require radiance creme best of melasma. please tel me. Which creme best melasma.

BHMS
Homeopathy Doctor, Noida
You can apply aloe vera juice/gel from its leaf (fresh, not from readymade gels available in market) on your face. Remove skin of an aloe vera leaf. Take /scoop out gel. Apply this gel to your face skin. Wash with plain water after an hour. Stop u...

How can I treat melasma? I have an melasma from 4 Years on cheeks. Please guide me.

PDDM, MHA, MBBS
General Physician, Nashik
As per your query you have hyperpigmentation due to melasma. I would suggest you to :- - Apply broad spectrum sunscreen whenever under sun exposure.- Wash your face twice daily with mild soap and cold water.-Apply kojic acid cream after washing fa...
2 people found this helpful

I have a melasma problem on face face covered by melasma. suggest me better solution cream to use.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
It will not go by using cream. The creams which give results later on stopping them the problems will return in double and have other side effects also. Take proper homoeopathic treatment for better results.

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Content Details
Written By
MD - Ayurveda
Dermatology
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Know More About Melasma!
Hi, I am Dr. Rajeev Vij, Dermatologist. Today I will discuss about Melasma. It is a disease where the patient develops blackish hyperpigmentation over the cheeks, face, nose and forehead. This is not a disease but it most commonly happens after th...
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Hi, I am Dr. Mansi Sanghvi, Dermatologist. Today I will talk about the commonest pigmentation that we find in Indian population and it is called melasma. &0-75% of the women are effected to the malesma. The cause of this problem is hormonal imbala...
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Hi Friends! I am Dr. Sandesh Gupta, skin specialist. Doston, me apko melasma and pigmentation ke bare me btaunga jo ek bhut hi common condition hai. Iske symptoms hain ki brown or black color ke patches face pe dekhe jate hain. Iske cases hain hor...
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