Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Change Language

Melasma: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

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

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.

In some women, melasma often disappears on its own after pregnancy or after an affected woman stops taking the contraceptive pills. Skin lightening creams can help in reducing longer lasting melasma. Also, topical steroids may be prescribed to treat melasma. If not cured with these, a person may also undertake other ways of treating this condition. Laser therapy, chemical peels, dermabrasion etc are also effective in removing the darker pigments from the skin and restoring normal skin tone.

How is the treatment done?

Melasma can be cured easily with the application of creams or steroids. The most common melasma therapies include 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 or a corticosteroid drugs are also prescribed as these have also proven to be effective in skin lightning. 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. If the condition doesn’t get better with these creams, treatments also provide laser therapy, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion or a light-based treatment. However, 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.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

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 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

I have been prescribed the following for melasma. Kindly suggest if these are steroids or normal cream a2 lite cream mixed with elovera lotion cutiyt cream missed with aloevera lotion do these have long term side effects.

They don't have steroids in it. Long term side effects depends on many factor. Each person has different skin and its reaction. So please follow up with your doctor for better result.

Sir I have the problem of melasma on my skin. I use hydroquinone for this. But the problem get severe. Which is the best cream to cure melasma permanently.

Melasma is not simple condition to treat because some patients do not respond to treatment significantly and some who get cured completely come back with recurrence. Having said that I feel Ban-a-Tan cream by curatio is one of the safest and most ...

Popular Health Tips

Melasma vs Hyperpigmentation - What Is The Difference?

Melasma vs Hyperpigmentation - What Is The Difference?
Dark patches on the skin are a common cause for concern. These patches may not be very harmful but they can affect a person s self-confidence and emotional health. Patchiness is usually the result of excessive sun exposure. Hyperpigmentation is us...
2519 people found this helpful

How to Get Rid of Age Spots: Identifying and Treating Melasma

How to Get Rid of Age Spots: Identifying and Treating Melasma
Melasma is a condition in which dark and discoloured patches appear on the face. It is also commonly known as chloasma when it is found in pregnant women. This is a condition that can be found in women more commonly than it is found in men. Let us...
4753 people found this helpful

Melasma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Melasma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Melasma is a skin condition which causes discoloration and dark patches on your skin. It is more common in women than men. It is also called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma when it is caused due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. These patche...
2637 people found this helpful

Know Everything About Melasma

Know Everything About Melasma
A common skin condition, which causes the discoloration of your skin in patches across the face, melasma is more of a social embarrassment and cause for distress rather than being a serious condition. Although it affects men as well, studies have ...
4567 people found this helpful

Melasma - All About It!

Melasma - All About It!
A common skin condition, which causes the discoloration of your skin in patches across the face, melasma is more of a social embarrassment and cause for distress rather than being a serious condition. Although it affects men as well, studies have ...
1 person found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
MD - Ayurveda
Dermatology
Play video
Melasma
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...
Play video
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...
Play video
Melasma And Pigmentation
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...
Play video
Causes Of Melasma
Hi! I m Dr. Anchal Sehrawat, consultant dermatologist at Dr. Anchal Skin and Hair Clinic. I will be discussing about melasma. Melasma is quite a common skin condition which causes tan to dark brown discoloration of face, especially seen over upper...
Play video
Skin Lightening (Whitening) Treatment
Causes and treatment for Hyperpigmentation and Melasma
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice