Laser therapy, chemical peels, and creams are all viable treatments for melasma. But, in terms of convenience, the best treatment for use at home would be creams for melasma. These are made from a variety of active ingredients.
By consulting with your physician, you should be able to single out which cream for melasma would be most effective – that is, provides the most results with little to no side effects. Frequently, the most effective creams contain a minimum of 2% hydroquinone, which is a skin-lightening agent that assists in reducing pigmentation on the skin.
Brief Overview of Melasma
Melasma sufferers commonly have discoloration on their skin that is often found on the upper cheeks, chin, and forehead. This condition rarely affects men, and it is speculated to be caused by changing hormone levels along with external sun exposure. Dark-skinned persons are more susceptible to contracting this condition.
Hydroquinone and Kojic Acid
Products containing hydroquinone are recognized as effective at reducing melasma. Only the lowest effective concentration of hydroquinone should be used. However, those who are not seeing results with 2% hydroquinone cream may be eligible for 4% concentrations.
However, any creams above 2% concentration must be prescribed by a doctor or a dermatologist. The cream will have to be applied to areas of skin pigmentation twice daily. Patients should continue to wear sunscreen during treatment, as it can work in conjunction with hydroquinone cream.
Some users who use hydroquinone cream experience irritation as a side effect. If a patient experiences an irritation or allergy, they should halt their usage immediately. An alternative to hydroquinone cream is kojic acid, and this is also effective at treating melasma.
Some patients prefer to use kojic acid, reporting that they experience less irritation. Kojic acid comes from mushroom extract and, as such, is a natural product unlike hydroquinone. Patients are not bound to use cream applications of kojic acid; this lightening agent has lotion and soap variations as well.
Because melasma can be quite tricky to treat, patients may find that they require the use of several products simultaneously, in addition to wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun. If a cream for melasma is not producing the expected results, more invasive methods are available.
For instance, chemical peels are a possible treatment for melasma. However, they should be performed by an aesthetician or licensed skin therapist. The peels reduce melasma by removing the top layer of skin where some pigmentation is present (however, sometimes pigmentation is even deeper).
Another alternative are laser treatments, which can be performed while using creams. Using the two in conjunction has been found to produce fantastic results on light skinned individuals. Lasers function by gently resurfacing small sections of skin and decreasing the melasma-causing cells.
There are many natural solutions available that can supplement or replace the need for creams that treat melasma. For instance, lemon juice can be administered topically and can reduce hyperpigmentation on the surface level of skin.
Another method is to mix gotu kola with liquid ginseng tea to create a smooth paste that can be applied to affected areas, creating a mask.