Melasma and Hormone Imbalances

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What is Melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition where brown pigmentation forms on the cheeks, around the eyes, on the forehead, or above the lip.

While anyone from light-skinned redheads to dusky brunettes can develop it, it is more common among darker skin types and people who have the ability to tan easily like South Asians, Hispanics, and Italians. It also affects both men and women.


What causes Melasma?

It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of melasma as it varies from person to person. Below are some of the known causes:

    – Changes in hormone levels
    – Waxing of facial hair
    – Allergic reactions and inflammations from skincare products
    – Excessive sun exposure and tanning
    – Drug interactions

If you are looking to clear your melasma, the first step is to pinpoint the cause. Once you figure out the cause, you can find the appropriate ways to tackle the problem at the root.

The best people to answer this is your doctor — who can test your levels of estrogen and progesterone — and you — since you can trace back to when your melasma first started and what you did before (i.e. medication/lifestyle/diet/habits).

For now at least, I will focus on the most common cause of melasma – hormone imbalances.

Common Causes of Hormone Imbalances

Hormonal changes due to pregnancy is perhaps the most common cause (in fact, melasma is sometimes referred to as the pregnancy mask).

However, you don’t need to be pregnant to have your hormone levels be out of whack these days. Unfortunately, we are bombarded by chemicals, pesticides, and food additives that can easily have the same effect on our hormones. These compounds are called xenoestrogens.

Apart from pregnancy, melasma due to hormonal changes can be due to causes like:

  • Illness
  • Taking birth control pills. Read user accounts which ties specific brands to their melasma
  • Excessive copper levels in the body. Copper is closely related to the metabolism of the estrogen hormone.

It is interesting to note that the third cause—an excess of copper—can also be related to pregnancy. Copper levels are usually elevated in pregnant women as the mineral is needed to form new blood cells for the foetus.

If you are on a vegetarian diet, it is likely that your copper levels are also elevated because of the type of proteins you ingest.

Hormone Imbalances or Estrogen Dominance

The subject of estrogen dominance is a tricky one.

If you have time to spare, I suggest reading up on the information found here. The page describes estrogen dominance at length and will be useful for anyone seeking more in-depth knowledge on the matter. It also discusses several methods to detoxify your body of excess estrogens.

Also read Jane’s story, which is a case study of a woman that has struggled with the issue all her life. What struck me was that at one part of her tale, she describes that “hyper-pigmentation would appear on her face whenever she had her periods”. Although melasma is never mentioned in these pages specifically, Jane’s comment is no doubt too similar to the condition related to melasma to ignore.

I’ve summarised several significant points from the site below:

  • For optimum health, the progesterone to estrogen ratio should be between 200 – 300 : 1.

  • Stress increases your estrogen levels. Progesterone is necessary to counter estrogen levels lest they become too high. Among the things that reduces your progesterone output is stress.

  • Countries with higher obesity rates tend to show more incidence of estrogen dominance in the population. All body fat has an enzyme which converts adrenal steroids to estrogen, so the more fat you have, the more estrogen is present. However, plants contain over 5,000 known sterols that have progestogenic effects (counteracts estrogen), so a switch to a healthier, more plant-based diet will help lower estrogen levels.

  • Taking drugs and alcohol may contribute to higher estrogen levels as these impair the liver which is the main organ that breaks down the estrogen hormone. This also means that taking herbs/supplements that aid in liver function will detoxify the body of too much estrogen. A sterling example is milk thistle (silybum marianum), which has been proven to fortify the liver. The dosage for milk thistle is 70 to 200 mg one to three times a day.

  • Vitamin B6 and magnesium are needed to neutralize estrogen in the liver. Thus, a deficiency may increase the levels of estrogen in the body. It also becomes something of a self-perpetuating cycle, as too much estrogen leads to a deficiency of zinc, magnesium and the B vitamins.

  • When eaten, the hormones, drugs, and antibiotics fed to cattle and poultry can wreck havoc to estrogen levels. Fish are far superior to beef or chicken in terms of hormone load.

  • Women who drank four to five cups of coffee daily had nearly 70% more estrogen than women who consume less than one cup of coffee. Tea is not much better. And for that matter, neither are soft drinks with caffeine in them like Red Bull or Mountain Dew.




Soy

As I did more research on the subject of estrogen imbalances, more things kept coming up. Most notable and perhaps most worryingly, is the effects of soy on hormone levels.

Soy alters hormone levels two ways:

1) Soy blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc in the intestines. These minerals are neccessary for healthy hormone levels.

2) Soy has high amounts of phytoestrogens. These are chemicals produced by plants that act like estrogens in the human body.

It is false to assume that taking large amounts of soy is healthy and good for you as “Asians eat soy as a staple” – this is what soy manufacturers want you to believe. Rice is a staple there, not soy. In Asia, soy is used mostly as a condiment (soy sauce is popular in cooking and has many forms in Asia). And when tofu is eaten, it is usually a side dish in Asia, not a main one.

Other popular soy products in Japan and South East Asia are miso and tempeh. However, these are heavily fermented forms of soy, which are safe and do not block the minerals necessary for healthy hormone levels.

I wouldn’t say that soy is evil, but anything in excess is bound to be bad for you. Thus, if soy is in your diet, take it in moderation only.

Update: There seems to be two schools of thought on this (perhaps more).

Blossom shared her thoughts on soy, “The isoflavones in soy attach to the body’s estrogen receptors and create a mild estrogenic effect, even in the presence of excessive natural estrogen, therefore soy can actually balance the effect of estrogen in the body if there is too much in circulation.”

If anyone has more helpful information on soy and/or differing opinions, please drop them in a comment and I’ll add them here.

Linda, a vegan, shared that the melasma on her upper lip improved after switching from soy milk to almond milk and lightening her soy intake.

——————

Warning on Drug-related Hyperpigmentation (Oral Antibiotics, Anti-Depressants)

Prolonged use of some drugs have been proven to cause hyperpigmentation for some people.

Because of its prevalence and widespread use, the most common culprits are oral antibiotics like minocycline (usually used to treat acne and pemphigus), tetracycline, and doxycycline.

The antidepressant imipramine, the heart medication amiodarone (to treat arrhythmias), bleomycin and cyclophosphamide (cancer drugs) have also been proven to cause hyperpigmentation in some users.

The list goes on to include chlorpromazine (an anti-psychotic) and phenytoin (for epilepsy).

Drug-related hyperpigmentation can occur both externally on the skin, teeth, and gums, as well as internally on the organs and bones.

On the skin, dark patches may occur on the face, arms, and legs, among other areas. Often, drug-induced hyperpigmentation is made worse by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Hyperpigmentation on the skin caused by the acne medication minocycline may start occuring from as early as one month to as late as 25 months. For further reading on this drug and the studies conducted, click here (a pdf file will open).

[On a separate note, another side effect of taking oral antibiotics like minocycline regularly is candida. If you have candida, you should consider taking yogurt, fermented food, or probiotic supplements to heal yourself. ]

The good news is that drug-related hyperpigmentation will often improve after some time once the person stops taking the medication.

3 essential tips before you do anything else

Firstly, be prepared that the road to righting your hormone imbalance is a process that may take several months.

Secondly, be encouraged that while melasma is a difficult condition to live with, you are not alone. Find a friendly forum and other people with melasma to share your thoughts, questions, support and progress with.

Here are a few forums and discussion threads on melasma to get you started:

Thirdly, be gentle. If you have melasma, the chances are high that aggravating your skin with harsh chemicals and scrubbing will only darken the melasma. For some, melasma even darkens from external heat, such as a hot bath or using a hair curler or dryer.

Important supplements to right hormone imbalances that cause melasma:

      • MSM
      • Vitamin C
      • CoQ10
      • Zinc
      • Probiotics (good bacteria)
      • Calcium D-Glucarate

Why do these supplements help?

Both Zinc and Vitamin C help lower copper levels, while MSM increases the permeability of cells allowing the copper to easily move out of the body as waste. CoQ10 helps to boost cell turnover.

The liver breaks down estrogen and sends it to the intestines to be eliminated, but once there, bad bacteria can re-convert it back to estrogen. Good bacteria like L. acidophilus helps prevent this from happening by competing with the estrogen-forming bad bacteria. You can ensure that you have enough good bacteria by taking it in capsule form (widely marketed as probiotics) or naturally through fermented foods like kefir, yoghurt, tempeh, miso, and kimchi. You can read more about why it’s so important for us to maintain a healthy gut here: Keep your gut healthy – it’s your body’s second brain!.

In the same vein, calcium D-glucarate inhibits beta-glucuronidase formation in the gut. Beta-glucuronidase is a “bad enzyme” which promotes estrogen reabsorption. Calcium D-glucarate is found in fruits like oranges, apples, and grapefruit and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. Its also available as a supplement.

In relation to this, also avoid taking oral antibiotics on a regular basis. Antibiotics kills many types of good bacteria in the intestines and actually helps bad bacteria to thrive, which raises estrogen re-absorption in the body.

Eating more fiber also helps your body get rid of excess estrogen. Adding fiber through cereals or supplements shortens the transit time of your bowel movements. Shorter transit times means less estrogen is reabsorbed on its way out.




Comments from readers

Note: I update this list periodically, so please keep your comments coming. Thanks!

      • Melasma fading and “breaking up” with castor oil applications

jj c wrote, “I have been using cold pressed Castor Oil (Hexane-free) on my face every night for the last week and have noticed dramatic improvement of the texture of my skin. The melasma is starting to break up slightly and think that if I continue this regimen, that my face will be clear and beautiful by the summer. I just swipe the spots with a castor oil soaked cotton ball after I wash and can actually see some brownish stains left on the cotton ball (the hyperpigmentation of my skin?). I then coat my face lightly with castor oil right before bed each night.”

Jill wrote here (below a separate article on castor oil), “I’m on week 3 of my castor oil treatments and my face is evening out nicely. The melasma under my eyes are breaking up so much that I can see normal color skin emerging from between the slight discoloration, which by the way, used to be much darker. Strangely, my eyelashes and eyebrows look fantastic and very full. I’m sure I’ll need a couple of months altogether to start seeing dramatic improvements, but I also realize that the discoloration took some time to develop too.

On a side note, I have not had a single pimple from this treatment thus far. I usually get one or two a week. I didn’t realize this would be such a great acne prevention solution too. I use nothing else but a thin layer of Castor oil as my nighttime moisturizer. I just thought I’d point that out to anyone wishing to use this to try to treat acne.”

      • Melasma possibly linked to Calcium deficiency

In her search for a solution to her melasma, Sandra wrote in a comment that she believes hers was caused by a calcium deficiency. She also pointed out that the medications listed on this page can lead to calcium loss.

Sandra wrote, “Thanks for posting this website. I have melasma on my face and I have frantically been searching for a solution for years. I have to say that after all my reasearch it boils down to calcium deficieny. If you google hypocalcemia and hyperpigmentaion, you will find loads of information about photosensitive hyperpigmentation. Even the pictures of hypocalcemia patients are similar to the melasma on my face. Reasearchers are now reporting the BC pills cause women to have low calcium. All the medications you have listed on this site are hydrochloride derivatives – hydrochloride is a calcium antagonist. Just get Calcium supplements with no vitamin D (vitamin D is actually a hormone and you don’t want me to get started on that one…) Nivea has mineral oil and it should be used in the daytime because mineral oil is an excellent sunblock.”

      • Melasma fading with supplements

In June 2011, Maria wrote “I have been taking Coq10, milk thistle and acidophilus probiotic daily for almost a month now.

I apply apple cider vinegar and water on the dark spots every nite before i shower and I also apply enough spf 30 (uva & uvb) anti-oxidant enriched lotion twice a day.

I can sincerely say im starting to see a difference and im so happy and excited i can scream of joy.

I’ve had these marks for about 5 yrs now so i know they wont go away over night but any progress is a great feeling. I wish i had known about this before 🙂 “.

In July 2011, she gave an update: “my spots look so much better & lighter… i should be happy but im not… i need to find a way to prevent them… “

In August 2010, Maria added that maca powder may have also helped. She said, “i use MACA 3 days before my period & during my whole period… then i stop & do it again 3days before my next period & so on… believe it or not… it helps me with my period, cramps & mood swings… i don’t know if this has ANY connection with my hormonal balance and my spots… i didn’t do this for my age spots but for my period…but i just thought i should put it out there…”

leili wrote that her melasma started after she took antibiotics and that she has noticed fading after taking MSM and Zinc. She also started to take extra Vitamin C and stopped eating chocolates and “noticed a big difference in two weeks”.

Melissa had fading with this regimen: “I have been taking the MSM and last week added a C, Zinc, Magnesium, A supplement plus grapefruit seed extract, and have taken Apple Cider Vinegar a couple of times and also applied it topically at night. I have to say there is definitely considerable fading plus light patches appearing in the middle of what were consistently darker patches previously !! VERY happy with the results so far, I will continue on this program and report back”

She later came back with a progress report, “Hello I am back after Christmas and New Year to report on my progress. I have changed to a Hair, skin and nails complex plus Milk Thistle (liver tonic) and Fish oil. Plus MSM when I remember but I have hardly touched it over the holidays. I have had several people say to me they notice the difference and I can see myself clearing on the cheeks and starting to get lighter patches around the hairline and more spots where the normal skin colour is coming through (yay !!). I went off my BCP 3 months ago and it was Diane Estrogen only so I was no doubt Estrogen dominant. Lost 5kg in about a fortnight too so bloating was a definite side effect. Feeling 100% better than I was, I had daily headaches to the point of migraine and living on Ibuprofen. So in summary I think getting the estrogen levels down plus getting healthy by eating really well, exercising and detoxing the liver a bit seems to be working nicely !”

Anonymous reported an 80% fading of her year-long dermal melasma with the following routine she very kindly shared. She had results in one month.

  • She applied apple cider vinegar (mixed with an equal amount of water) on her face for an hour each day.
  • She put on honey as a mask for an hour each day.
  • When she had more time, she put on a mask of lemon and cucumber paste for an hour.

She also took these supplements.

  • GSE, 100mg taken 3 times a day (I assume this is Grape Seed Extract, but could also be Grapefruit Seed Extract.)
  • Vitamin C, 500mg each day
  • Beta-carotenes each day

Deedub had encouraging results after just two weeks of supplementation.

Two weeks ago I started taking vitamin C, MSM, grapefruit seed extract, pycnogenol and zinc…… IT’S WORKING!!!! I would estimate that the patches (on my cheeks and forehead) are at least 50% lighter. Here’s what I’ve been taking:
3000 mg MSM – 3 x day
1000 mg vitamin C – 3 x day
50 mg pycnogenol – 2 x day
15 drops of grapefruit seed extract – 3 x day
50 mg zinc – 1 x day

Like I said, it’s only been two weeks but the initial results are really encouraging.

FreeRadical reported her melasma is disappearing as she strengthened her liver. She wrote:

I have tried both prescription and alternative treatments for my melasma. Mine was  (it is currently disappearing) on my forehead, cheeks, bridge of my nose, upper lip and a little under my eyes. I didn’t find much success in hydroquinone cream 4% combined with Retin-A (although I love retin-A for different reasons). Vitamin C, taken orally and topically (in the form of active Vitamin C ester), does work a bit.

For me, the issue is liver function. The liver synthesizes hormones and cleans them from the body. My problem with melasma started after having my gallbladder removed. Most people with gallstone obstructions are overweight, estrogen-dominant women. I am not over-weight or estrogen dominant, but since the gallbladder stores bile and helps the liver supplement bile excretion, my liver function is compromised. I’ve noticed that I became intolerant to many drugs that previously were not an issue – they caused my serum bilirubin to skyrocket. Bile sequesters waste products and helps detox the body, so anytime bile flow is obstructed or reduced, there can be problems.

My cure has come as a result of addressing my liver function. I am taking Milk Thistle (Silymarin), Artichoke, Turmeric, Dandelion Root, Zinc, B6, Magnesium and Vitamin C. It is working amazingly fast and well! It sounds like a lot, but it is worth it.

Plus, my liver function is improving. I believe that melasma CAN BE a symptom of internal disease (in my case, liver problems). There’s evidence that artichoke is more effective than Milk Thistle in detoxing and protecting the liver and I added it after seeing a remarkable change from taking Milk Thistle alone. I may add Vitamin D Glucarate to see if it works but be aware that Vitamin D is a PROHORMONE (it is a precursor to hormone formation). Therefore, if you are estrogen dominant or otherwise have a hormone imbalance, proceed with caution. Of course, I’m wearing sunblock but take care to use a product that doesn’t have estrogenic effects (apparently some of the ingredients in many sunscreens mimic hormones).

One of the most effective liver supplements I’ve been taking is SAM-e. If you are on certain types of prescription drugs for depression or bipolar disorder – do NOT take SAM-e without consulting your doctor. It can be bad for your heart (it is like taking massive doses of your prescription drug – bad!) But for me, SAM-e has been great, almost miraculous, because it helps my liver and melasma but there’s no bad side effects. For those who are curious, I take Jarrow brand 200 mg extended-release tablet of SAM-e once a day. SAM-e degrades easily, so go with a reputable brand.

Anonymous said her melasma (which she has had for four years) improved 25% in about a month after taking MSM + Vitamin C + Cod Liver Oil. She said there was a definite change in the intensity of the melasma patches on her cheeks and nose.

      • Recommended sunscreens for melasma

Anonymous recommended a brand called TiSilc. She wrote, “A good sunscrean is TiSilc, it comes in 45 or 60 SPF (tinted or sheer/clear). It’s excellent. I have had melasma from many many years of bc and mild/mod sun exposure, before melasma was even a medical condition on the bc labels (back in the late 80s) my skin has never gotten back to the shade it was pre-bc. Tisilc will def block the sun though – use it every AM for the rest of your life.”

      • Mama lotion

Laura reported that her melasma has lightened up considerably (“to a point where my tan patches are starting to look a reddish/pinkish color, and fading”) after three weeks of using Mama lotion, which is a mixture of malic and mandelic acids. She says that the product’s effects is significantly close to dermabrasion.

L had a different experience and wrote, “I tried mama lotion for 6 months, and there was some patchy improvement, but it made me peel/flaky/dry – and the melasma came back immediately when I stopped using it every other day (which I am loath to do because it is so harsh).”

      • Colon cleansing

Mary Locklear wrote that cleansing her system led to her melasma breaking up in some places. She wrote (excerpt): “About 2 years ago I started doing colon cleansers, and I think that that helped, because I could see breaking in some places on my face. The product is called colonix (Dr. Natura.com), and it is about $78.00 and is worth every penny. It removes yeast, poisons from your intestines, and you feel like a new person, and I noticed a little improvement in my melasma. Your organs can do their job a lot better when your intestines are cleared of years of parasites and caked on fecal matter. I will be observing my skin closely in December when I do my yearly cleanser. “

      • Blue Obagi peel

j75 had poor results with dermabrasion, a TCA peel and hydroquinone. She had better results with a Blue Obagi peel.

She said (excerpt): “I started seeing the large patches break up after about 2 weeks. Then I went in for my scheduled light BlueObagi peel. It starting tingling/burning a bit and she gave me a little fan to hold – then she washed it off. It really wasn’t that bad. When I left I couldn’t tell any difference. She applied a thin layer of lotion/moisturizer and gave me the tube to keep using. I used it everyday like she said so that when my skin started healing from the peel, I wouldn’t notice any redness or skin flaking. It worked. After a couple of days I even put a little foundation on. Then after a few more days, parts of the top layer of skin started coming off. The skin underneath was so smooth, tiny pores, and the brown patches of melasma were gone! I couldn’t wait for the rest of my skin to shed/heal. All of the melasma came off. It’s been several years now and the melasma that was on my forehead, upper cheeks, and nose is still gone. Now, I’ve started developing melasma on my upper lip and lower cheek/jawline. I’m planning to set up another appointment to get rid of the new melasma areas.”

247 Replies to “Melasma and Hormone Imbalances”

  1. Hi. It seems that many of you have started taking MSM.
    I would like to hear about the RESULTS.
    How long did it take to get rid of the melasma?
    Did it work on DERMAL and EPIDERMAL melasma?
    No results?
    Side effects?
    Thanks for helping

  2. ABOUT LASERS
    Does anybody know what are the best laser treatments to get rid of the melasma.
    I have been with two dermatologists and they recommendeded different lasers. The difference of price was 2000 dollars which made me suspicious
    Thanks

  3. Hey Samantha and gang,
    Ellen again. I am 35 and been struggling with melasma. The newest lazer is Fraxel which is a $1000 per treatment. I am not sure if it works and if it does is it temporary. I did one treatment. I also tried MSM but it has only been 4 or 5 weeks. My cheeks are brown however the melasma has gone away under my lip but that could be because I stay out of the sun except my car is a killer. I am a phrmaceceutical rep. Obagi has been recommended and vibraderm which like microdermabrasion. I am going to try the fraxel lazer and then maybe Obagi. This is the worst. My face looks dirty!! Any suggestions??? and I no longer take the birth control pill but that was original trigger.

  4. Hi Samantha,

    Do you have any information about MaMa lotion? It claims is very effective for treating melasma. Anyone using this product?
    Please give feedback.

    Thanks
    Beng

  5. Hi Ingrid’s Mama and Ellen, I’m not very keen on laser treatments because the short-term results among people who have had fraxel done vary significantly. Some love it while others regret the decision. Ultimately, what I’m saying is that its risky.

    I don’t mean to be a downer because it sounds like you’re very keen on trying fraxel lasers… but I’d rather you were informed than not.

    Lasers have been known to damage the tiny hair follicles which produce our skin’s stem cells – these are needed to renew skin. Because of this, there are many complaints from women that after a few years, their skin looks aged. If you do a search, you’ll find that the laser companies only do short-term studies and do not fund long-term ones.

    Hi Beng, MaMa’s lotion will usually work well on regular hyperpigmentation and acne scarring – there’s been many good reviews about it for that purpose. It may help if your melasma is very light.

    If you have time, go to http://www.makeupalley.com, click Product Reviews and read the ones for MaMa’s lotion. You might have to register first, but its free and IMO well worth the trouble if you intend to buy it.

  6. I used do esthetics at a local medi-spa and have many patients come in with the complaints of melasma. It is by far one of the hardest skin conditions to treat. I myself am a victim of melasma and I know it can be very frustrating and depressing at times. One thing I do notice from patients, reading people on melasma forums, and myself is that everyone is very persistant on finding azll the information that they can on the matter and viewing all the latest treatments. I myself have tried mamalotion and it heped with some areas of my melasma but I do agree that it’s more for lighter melasma. From treating patients I have noticed that the Ipl should be used for freckling or sun damage only!

    It DOES NOT treat melasma and can make to worse/darken it. At one time they said the Fraxel laser was the best treatment to break up dermal melasam but now they are finding out that is not the case. A fractional handpiece at one time was also suppose to remove melasma and there were adverse effects with that as well. It’s a real gamble because some people get great results, some get no results, and some get horrible results. Always were a sunblock of at least 30 or more. I have read about cosmelan and have read mixed reviews on it, but there are way more people happy with the results then had complaints. I think this might be what I personally try next. I was wondering if anyone has tried it? From working in a medical spa I have seen great results with Obagi, Jessners Peels, and a series of Glycolic Peels for melasma depending on your skin type. But they are saying that a Cosmelan pack is the quickest way to get results with melasma as long as you use the follow up cream for up to a year. If I choose to have this done I will let you know how it goes 🙂

  7. Hi,

    I have had this for over 2 years and have spent $ 600.00 on peels, I tried cosmelan ($600.00) it worked GREAT for the first few months, but I coudn’t afford to buy more.

    I tried CO2 (Freeze away wart removal) LIGHTLY go over your dark area, DO NOT press and hold in one area as this will cause damage to the skin, you have to work fast. Some spots are gone and it cost MUCH less, about $25.00 at Target.

    Good Luck!

  8. Hi,

    Does anyone have any information about Emax by Syneron?
    It’s a bi-polar radio fredquency kind of laser. Does it works well on melasma?
    Anyone knows about solitone machine for pigmentation and melasma. It a kind of soft light that claims it can penetrate through the skin deeper layer and lighten and even out pigmentation.

    Is there any side effects by doing twice a week which advice by my beautician?

    Hope someone can provide some feedback.

    Thanks

  9. Hello,

    I am 27 years old and also have a severe case of melasma. I don’t think I have seen any case more severe than mine. I have two children. After my 9 year old was born I noticed a mild dark spot above my lip a couple years later. I never really did anything for it hoping it would just disappear. Then 5 more years later I began to try different make-ups, facial cleansers, lotions etc.. Shouldn’t have done that because I started to see mild spots on both sides of of my mouth and mild hyperpigmentation forming. I also have acne that causes black heads. Fast foward another couple years I’m pregnant again.

    While I was pregnant with my son during the summer, whose now 14 months, my entire complexion got extremely dark with the melasma spots and blackheads even darker. The Melasma was so bad around my mouth it looked like I had a full gotee, not mustache but gotee. Also I have melasma spots under both eyes. I look like I’m about 87 years old.

    Ok, I have been using proactive solutions since my son was born for the acne, which I must say has help with the pimples which inturn decreased the number of blackcheads I was getting. I’ve tried Meladerm and Olay definity to help with the melasma which both broke out so I stop using after a short period of time. I still use proactive and must say not only has it helped with decreasing, not stopping, the breakouts but the toner is helping with balancing out my skin tone and giving a all around brightness, though my face is still pretty discolored, I do see improvements. I rather see slow and steady improvements than none.

    Also I have been taking Vitamin C, E and a vitamin I found called Minus-10 (Sustained Release Alpha Lipoic Acid) for about a couple months now. The Minus 10 claims to help with optimal cellular health, glowing skin, give you stimulant free Energy and it is enhanced with Biotin.

    Anyone with a severe case of Melasma know the low self esteem I’m going through. It is at it’s very lowest right now. But with what I am using topically and internally I do see a very slow progression but as long as it is getting better and not worst I will settle.

    I would like to know if any uses or heard of Minus 10 and what are your comments on it and if there are any supplements and/or topical regimens I just take along with what I currently am using?

  10. Hi there ljaiyesimi,

    I’m 43 and white, and have had melasma for about 4 years. I hadn’t been pregnant or on the pill. It started as a small patch on my left cheek and gradually spread. Now I have what is effectively a butterfly covering my face. It covers both cheeks completely and symmetrically, covers completely the area over my upper lip and my chin area, has appeared on the bridge of my nose inbetween my eyebrows and is making it’s way from my temples up onto my forehead. I have much more of my face covered with melasma than isn’t covered and it’s now much darker than it has ever been. Perhaps I have a worse case than you, but I don’t think that’s the point.
    What’s important is how you feel about yourself and how you deal with it emotionally. The way I think about it is that there are far, far worse things that I could have wrong with me. I might have a patchy face, but I can still lead a normal, active life. I can still walk my dog and enjoy the beauty of the countryside. I have a great job as a medical secretary in a hospital. None of my work colleagues knew me with a “normal” face, and have never mentioned it. In fact, sometimes I wish people would mention it so that I could talk about it! Only one person has ever mentioned it, and he was a 4 year old boy in the school I worked in when my melasma was only on one cheek. He asked me if I had been playing in the mud, because I had a dirty face. I just said I had funny skin, he accepted this answer and never mentioned it again. When my melasma first appeared I started looking at treatments, and saw a dermatologist, but to be honest I have far too much life to lead to be bothered with carefully applying special bleaching creams and staying out of the sun. I looked into camoflage make up and when I discovered it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be I actually got scared that I would be able to cover it up so that people wouldn’t know I had it. I felt that I would THEN be wearing a mask, and that was something I really didn’t want. So I just wear normal foundation cream and at weekends go out with no make up at all! Melasma is part of my identity, it’s part of who I am and I want people to see the real me. I’m not embarrassed about it at all. If other people have a problem with it, that’s exactly what it is – their problem!
    I have read with interest the information on this website about diet and I may try some of the ideas, but I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over it. Life is far too short!
    Love your melasma and get on with enjoying your life!

  11. I am 44 years old and had a melasma for the past 7 after my second child was born. I remember that my mother had it for a long time and disappeared by itself.
    I believe that it might be genetic or just sun damage. I did not use sunscreen before.
    Hidroquinone did not help in my case.
    To make it less noticeable I use successfully on a daily basis :
    -St Ives , Apricot Scrub Renew & Firm to clean and exfoliate my face ($4)
    – Vichy, sunscreen SPF60. ($19)This is from Shoppers drug Mart in Canada, because in US is not FDA approved (obviously for competition reasons) You can find the Vichy with less SPF in US at special CVS stores that carry them.
    -I apply L’Oreal infallible make-up on top of sunscreen
    -A good sunscreen from WalMart ($3) is a sport clear stick called ClearZinc SPF45 by Solar Sense which contains 8% zinc oxide
    Hope this helps someone out there.

  12. Samantha and gang, Thanks for your advice on the Fraxel. I feel so frustrated. What treatment are you doing? Do you have any advice on Cosmelan what this treatment entails?

    I glad to hear that you have researched Fraxel and IPL. I was going to try Fraxel but I too have heard mix reviews not just from you so thank you. I also heard of vibraderm with Obagi but again mix reviews. What is the best treatment out there?

  13. Hi Ellen, I wish I could give you an easy answer.

    Some people would find the inside-out approach to be best. But this may not produce results fast enough (or not at all for some people).

    There is another subject you can read up on – skin remodeling copper peptides. Its actually meant to remodel scars but can work on other skin damage like stretch marks and hyperpigmentation. I am not sure if this will work on melasma however, but the physics with which its supposed to work may logically also remove the pigmented skin cells the same way and slowly replace it with new and normally pigmented skin cells.

    p.s: The operative word however is *slow*. Independent user testimonials (check out makeupalley.com for user reviews) for copper peptides is very impressive, but people who have had success with it would have used the creams (or serums) for several months and up to a year or more. This is quite easier said than done as most people would have used it diligently for 2-3 months, not see any results and stop.

    p.p.s: Happy holidays! 🙂

  14. Hi all,

    it’s great to hear all these feedbacks from all around on melasma~ i have tried some laser treatments 3 years ago, and it did not help. recently, i went to a medispa for a consultation, and the dermatologist recommended tri-luma. so i have been using it for my cheeks for about 1 month now. i don’t see any difference yet, but i’m hoping for a good result. i was thinking that if MSM is something that can help with melasma internally, i should combine it with my tri-luma treatment. do you think it’s a good idea to do so? if this doesn’t work, i think i will try obagi whitening kit….

    i have been on birth control since 16 (i’m now 28), and maybe i started the bc too young, but never thought it could have started my melasma….. i’m still on the bc (ortho evra-bc patch), because i don’t even know if going off of bc will help with melasma, and also, i would have to find another form of bc. if i do go off of ortho evra, do you have any recommendations on bc that is not hormonal besides male and female condoms?

    any feedback would help!~~ 🙂

  15. I am 42 and recently off BCP – but I was on for nearly 20 years! I developed melasma about 6 yrs. ago and suspected BCP but didn’t have the guts to get off! Well, I have now (only a couple of weeks). I wish I had the confidence of the woman that says “love your melasma and get on w/life” (Oct. 2007 I believe) but I don’t. I have had beautiful skin all my life – and now I have trouble looking people in the eye when speaking at close range. I receive very few comments – it’s the ‘elephant in the room’ – even hubby says it’s really not that noticeable but it is to me. I’ve tried all the creams – very limitted success only in the beginning and then stops. I figure my continuing on BCP didn’t help. I just recently bought Ness’s book on treating Melasma w/MSM and I’m trying it – day 2 – slowly increasing dose. I’ll see what happens. I don’t know anyone else personally with Melasma and really feel the need to have a forum for expression – glad to find this one. Otherwise I am very happy, healthy, fit . . . but it’s hard to explain the depression this condition has caused. Going off BCP at 42 (no children/no prior pregnancies) is a bit daunting as well – but I just felt Melasma was getting worse and worse (only BCP side effect) and I had to do something for ME.
    Love to hear from any others . . .

  16. Hi, I’m in the exact same situation as you. I have had melasma for about 7 years now. I’m 44 yrs old, on bcp for at least 20 years. I even took them continually so I never had a period for the past 4 years. Talk about estrogen overload. I’m sorry I ever did that.
    I had my tubes tied on Jan 3rd to get off the pill. I have two huge spots on each side of my forehead, one on my cheek and it recently started on my jawline. Like you, to others its not that noticeable, but to me it is. Especially the forehead spots. They are the darkest
    I have recently started using Donnel super skin lightening gel with kojic acid to try and fade it. Its super strong, and I have only used it on my cheek. It got fiery red and then peeled off. The skin is still to raw to see if the melasma is gone. I’m afraid to use it on the larger patches…I wouldn’t be able to go out for a few days if I did.
    There’s a great forum for melasma at http://skincarerx.com/phorum/list.php?3
    Alot of great info there……

  17. i have treated cloasma and melasma succesfully with sulphur oint. and cow urine
    TREATMENT OF MELASMA & CHLOASMA PATIENTS

    Introduction —

    Melasma and chloasma are the diseases which are related to skin disorders causing hyper pigmentation and blck patchy spots over the face.This problem when appear in female it is termed as chloasma and when it appears in a male it is known as melasma.Generally it is seen in Asian and African men.
    Cause and etiology
    Yet it is known as an idiopathic disorder. Some evidences suggest that presence of excessive amount of Cu (cupper element) in blood may be a cause. Beside that dust allergy and hypersensitivity to sunlight may be another cause. In case of female some sort of hormonal imbalance may be the cause.Women using some sorts of contraceptive pills are also responsible for this.

    Treatment
    Mixed external application of sulphur ointment & cow urine along with Sarivadyasava /Sklear syp.(BAJAJ) administered orally gave desired result in about 8 male patients. Above mentioned medication used externally in case of 3 female patients along with an uterine tonic . The desired result obtained in 1 to 3 month of continuous use of above medicines.
    Conclusion and discussion
    In case of pigment disorder and in hyperpigmentation cow urine has the property to reduce the black pigmentation and dark circles when used externally.Presence of urea & uricacid in urine has the ability to rectify hyper pigmentation. Sulpher has opposite action of Cu element in case of hyperpigmentation. When presence of Sulpher more than the desired level in body, causes depigmentation and white patches over the body.
    So cow urine and sulphur(Gandhakadi lepam /sulphur oint.) may be the perfect combination to treat hyperpigmentation disorder.

    DR. SUBHRANSU SEKHAR MISHRA
    B.A.M.S. M.Sc.(Biotechnology)
    MEDICAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST
    NEXT GENARATION TECHNOLOGY
    09861388727,E –MAIL-subhransusekhar4@gmail.com
    bamsbiotechsubhransu@yahoo.co.in

    1. Hi Dr. Subhransu,

      I read your article on internet about melasma. My sister got dark black spots all of a sudden one morning after she woke up in october 2007. as she has migraines she always take migraine medicine, that night she took the medicine too so she thought it is the effect of allergic reaction to medicines. since then she went to so many dermatologists everyone gives her new creams, soaps and vitaminE tablets, but nothing is working she has black spots on forehead, earlobe and on neck and they are too much noticable and that’s the reason she is having problem in getting married she is in pakitan, If you can suggest some medicine or advice that would be greatly appreciated. you cna mail me at : sjcanada@hotmail.com

      Thanks,

      Sara

  18. A good natural progesterone cream will help with Melasma?
    and if it does, is it ok to apply on the face?. Thanks

  19. Hey all, I’m 35 and have had melasma for about 5 years. It started on my forehead but has spread to my cheeks. I’ve tried Jessner’s peels and Triluma with little results. I’m very anxious to try the inside out approach discussed here, but I’ll have to say that cow urine is just a little more than I think I can handle!

  20. Dear friends,
    i got the most amazing boyfriend after i got melasma. i cove it with a litlle makeup and get on with loving my life. i am also treating it and the treatment is orking for me. i love life and believe in doing good karmas and nothing is oing to stop me from the same.
    i have more than five cups of tea evry day, i am going to stop the same and switch to fruits.
    my solution is no drastic treatment cover with a little makeup use your sunscreen and get on with loving your life. stay positive and tress free and estogen will settle on its own.
    Love to all

  21. I am 41 and have had melasma for several years. I had my second child Jan. 07 and went on BCP after to control the pregnancy induced acne I developed. Wish I hadn’t, my melasma is sooo much worse, across both cheeks, a couple spots on my forehead, across the bridge of my nose and across my upper lip. I’ve tried hydroquinone, Tri-Luma and other “miracle” creams, with no results. Laser treatments significantly lighten them, but they come back within 6-8 weeks. When they are dark, I also have a hard time looking people in the eye and avoid going anywhere without make-up on. I’m constantly online looking for new ways to get rid of this. I’m going to try supplements to regulate estrogen levels next. I have a dark complexion and thyroid problems, so I’m sure it will be next to impossible to resolve completely, I just want it to fade some, enough to cover and not be self-concious when I’m out in public. I’m very diligent about daily broad spectrum sun protection, but they still come back after every painful laser treatment. Any new information anyone has would help! Thanks

  22. Noticed on one of the comments someone said that Obagi products do not contain Hydroquinone. On the contrary they definitely do contain a 4% HQ. I have used the whole set with some results but not long lasting. You pretty much have to stay on them and my skin built up a resistence to just about everything as a result. I did get a laser tx about 4 years ago. I was very upset with the doc because the area got darker,I am latino so from what we know that was probably the wrong thing to do. However about a year later the same area completely lightened up and is now unnoticeable. I have come to think that just getting that dark skin off caused a scar but then the scar healed itself. Anyway all in all that took a year. I know its a long time to wait, it was for me. Now I have developed a huge “freckle ” on my nose. Ugh!! So I am looking into Q-switch laser which again may be a mistake but I am the impatient type. I definitely don’t like the Hydroquinone effect and will get on the supplements MSM etc. I don’t have any other problems… but did have a long period of stress in my life. Never took BCPs but have 3 healthy children. I am 49 and have been dealing with this since I was in my 30’s. I run outside alot, know that contributes but not about to give that up! Tried sticking to the gym.. boring! Anyway I think my nose patch was caused by too strong of a peel, so please everyone be careful about practicioners that don’t know your skin type. Mine is olive toned and she went too strong, too fast.

    Hope this helps someone ……

  23. hi everyone, i too have melasma, i’m 33 and i’ve had it for 4 years. i avoid the sun like the plague but the rays still manage to find their way to my face.i haven’t checked my hormone levels but my dermatologist said we shouldn’t mess with them. i used hydroquinone it worked for a while but come summer the patches still came back all the same.i think i’ll try cleaning up my internal system using anything natural.

  24. Hello,

    I am 40 and have been taking oral bio-identical progesterone for nearly 2 years. I was on bcp from 16-30 years of age but this melasma only surfaced in the past year. I am fair skinned and the tan blotches (most less than the size of a pinky-finger nail) are in large groups on both cheeks from cheekbone down toward jawline and on outside several inches of my forehead.
    It has been a stressful year and I have noticed increased sensitivity to the sun as well. I eat well but do have 2-3 shots of espresso per day, 1/2 decaf (does that matter???). I have a sensitivity to milk protein so gave up yogurt so perhaps I need to find probiotic pills. Otherwise, I have eaten very well – organic and/or pesticide-free produce for years and most of my protein is from wild-caught short-lived fish, organic chicken & eggs and nuts.
    I have not found whether the progesterone is the likely cause? Or perhaps even not taking enough if my estrogen is too high? I do a combo of cream with oral. And looking at my symptoms, I found that I have been low progesterone since menstruation began. Doctors never found that . . . test result range issues but I’ll not get so off topic and rant about that ;->
    My question is whether I ought to be changing my dose or delivery method of the progesterone? Is it the cause or is it too much unbalanced estrogen that is? It took 4-5 months before the progesterone got my estrogen somewhat under control – my receptors were so out of whack. I was having horrible strong heart palpitations mid and late-cycle that kept me awake for hours – not accelerated rate jut feeling a hard chest thumping – and I had hot flashes often first day of period. That finally got much better. Of course the estrogen fluctuates during the month ( it should) and between months so I use progesterone cream in addition to the oral if I have symptoms the oral is not handling by itself.

    Sorry if this is too long but I thought perhaps I’d provide a bit more history in case others had similar experience.

    Thank you for feedback on the progesterone dosing!! Or anything else that has helped.

    Cheers!
    Nancy

  25. For those of you fighting melasma….I am 41 and have fought it for 11 years. I have it on my nose, forehead, cheeks, and upperlip and starting on my chin. I’ve started the natural hormone therapy and used MSM, vit c, zinc. I didn’t notice any difference at all in 3 months time and I was up to 4,000 mg of msm a day. Well, I finally broke down and ordered the Mama lotion which is a mixture of malic and mandelic acids. Today is my 3rd week of use and I have to tell you, this stuff is actually working for me, I have lightened up considerably, to a point where my tan patches are starting to look a reddish/pinkish color, and fading. I am caucasion and have olive toned /yellowish undertone skin and this stuff has worked better than anything I’ve tried over the past 11 years. Believe me! I have tried everything except lazer. The only other thing that worked for me was micro-derm-abrasion. I did that once a week for 7 weeks in a row and it lightened up considerably. But, once I ran out of credit on my credit card and stopped going, it was back in 3 weeks time. This stuff seems to be lightening it the same. I have noticed considerable similarities between this lotion and microdermabrasion. Best of all, it’s a lot more affordable. 44.50 a bottle on skincarerx.com. I’m not quite at the point I can go without makeup, but I have tossed out the concealer that makes me look like a cakeface and still didn’t cover it up. Those of you suffing with this awful stuff, give it a try, but give it time. I am thinking in 3 months time, I will have no spots left. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Good luck to you and don’t ever give up looking for that one thing that works for you!

  26. Phyto + (Skinceuticals) is working for me in under a week, after having melasma for 1.5 years. I exfoliate gently twice a day with a warm flannel washcloth, and use a really gentle home peel (olay) twice a week – put the Phyto + on morning and night, and use factor 50 sunscreen during the day – nothing else. I used it in the past, but it did not work. I tried again last week, with a new approach – I use LOADS! I am very sparing with anything I put on my face at all – including cosmetics – so I used to put on about 2 ‘drops’ – now I put on double that. I also do not dilute the product with any other moisturisers. I tried mama lotion for 6 months, and there was some patchy improvement, but it made me peel/flaky/dry – and the melasma came back immediately when I stopped using it every other day (which I am loath to do because it is so harsh).

    I

  27. HI All, I am 35 and have had Melasma for about 5 or so years and I suspect its due to changing to Diane 35 from Triquilar ED. I didn’t have it on Triquilar at all but had bad acne from Triquilar so Diane was recommended. It helped the acne a lot but over the years since I have gradually developed the melasma. I have had IPL twice (1 year apart after summer) which worked well but eventually the marks came back through limited sun exposure (just day to day walking around and I always wear 30+ and try to avoid the sun). I am at wits end now and have decided to give up the BCP for a while as my skin was perfect before I ever went on the Triquilar at age 17 ! Will try some of the supplement options and report back ! I am fair skinned with blonde hair and have never had children

  28. i have melasma for last 4 months i want to know that is peel off is good for melasma or not and also i want which food is good in melasma ,thanks rani

  29. hi ,i have melasma for last 4 months i want to khow is peeloff is good for skin or not?also tell me which food is good in melasma ?thanks

  30. Hi I have been taking the MSM and last week added a C, Zinc, Magnesium, A supplement plus grapefruit seed extract, and have taken Apple Cider Vinegar a couple of times and also applied it topically at night. I have to say there is definitely considerable fading plus light patches appearing in the middle of what were consistently darker patches previously !! VERY happy with the results so far, I will continue on this program and report back

  31. i have had melasma for about 10 years now. i am 44 years old, and i seemed to have developed melasma about 4- months after stopping birth control pills. My doctor had me on bc and vitamin e for fibrocystic breast. i have tried peels, lasers, but nothing seems to work, not permanently any way. Right after the peel, my skin looks flaless for about 2 weeks. i heard about msm and vitamin c. I have been on this for 5- months now, and dont see a lot of change in my melasma. I also had my hormone levels checked by a saliva test, and i found out that my progesterone levels are low. The saliva test can be purchased at your local pharmacy for about $60.00, and they will send the results to your doctor when they come in, but you first have to go to your doctor so that thay can give you a prescription to take to your pahrmacist. My doctor put me on porgesterone to raise my levels, but i wanted to find a natural source. I went on line and found a website called women to women and i am now on natural progesterone balancers. These natural hormone balancers also keep your thyroid in check. To be honest i think that yeast and copper really may be the culprit for some people like myself. I have lived with copper piping for about 3o years and if you have yeast you definitely have copper excess and vise versa. Smoking and drinking can also raise copper levels. Smoking and or drinking can also deplete effectiveness of any nutrients that you are taking. I take probotics daily, they also help your skin. About 2 years ago i started doing colon cleansers, and i think that that helped, because i could see breaking in some places on my face. The product is called colonix (Dr. Natura.com), and it is about $78.00 and is worth every penny. It removes yeast, poisons from your intestines, and you feel like a new person, and i noticed a little improvement in my melasma. Your organs can do their job a lot better when your intestines are cleared of years of parasites and caked on fecal matter. I will be observing my skin closely in December when i do my yearly cleanser. Stress can also cause melasma, as well as yeast. Deep breathing exercises can help. There has been cases where Melasma has been cleared up by meditation and or deep breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply from your diaphgram, and forcefully blow the air. Do this for 2 minutes and slowly increase to 5 minutes. I done right befor bed you will have a good nights sleep. As for my melasma i will keep probing until something works.

    mary

  32. Summer time in Australia and all the winter fading of the melasma on my cheeks and forehead and eyebrows.. perfect butterfly effect… is darkening. Despite the fact I religiously wear a product called Invisible Ink..
    I notice that if I get hot in the face after exercise – the melasma darkens. I treated it with the usual dermatogist formulations over winter but have stopped all treatment except the sunscreen over summer.

    I tried MSM earlier this year – not much difference. I was only BCP for a few years and have not had children…

    I also suffer from mastalgia ( with very lumpy pre period breasts) so the hormone theory sounds good -e ven though my levels are “normal”- whatever that means for someone who is 45.

    The copper theory resonates for me – so will give it all a go over the next months to minimise the sun effect.

  33. Hi

    As a fresh skinverse.com user i just want to say hello to everyone else who uses this board 😀

  34. Hello I am back after Christmas and New Year to report on my progress. I have changed to a Hair, skin and nails complex plus Milk Thistle (liver tonic) and Fish oil. Plus MSM when I remember but I have hardly touched it over the holidays. I have had several people say to me they notice the difference and I can see myself clearing on the cheeks and starting to get lighter patches around the hairline and more spots where the normal skin colour is coming through (yay !!). I went off my BCP 3 months ago and it was Diane Estrogen only so I was no doubt Estrogen dominant. Lost 5kg in about a fortnight too so bloating was a definite side effect. Feeling 100% better than I was, I had daily headaches to the point of migraine and living on Ibuprofen. So in summary I think getting the estrogen levels down plus getting healthy by eating really well, exercising and detoxing the liver a bit seems to be working nicely !

    Sorry forgot to add my name when I first posted

    1. Hi Melissa, thanks for sharing your update! I’m so happy to hear that you’re getting healthier, feeling great and that all these changes you made are starting to have an effect on your melasma. 🙂 Be well.

  35. Thanks Samantha for your kind wishes and thanks to everyone for putting their feedback online for us all to read and contribute to ! One other thing I forgot to mention, I bought the Nivea creme the original one in the blue container, it has magnesium sulfate in it. I try to put it on before bed most nights and i think this is helping, if not worst case it is making my skin beautifully smooth and soft ! worth a try girls !

  36. I am so tired of this condition I have had it over 20 years now. It would be so nice to feel free to go out of the house without any cover up at all except sunscreen. I feel like a slave to it!On top of all that as time passes and my skin changes in other ways makeup is just not doing the trick without seeming to thick or just not enough coverage no matter how much one puts on.Thats my rant good luck to anyone else out there with this problem I will not be trying fraxel it makes it worse from all that I have read.
    chin up gals we are all beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I developed melasma in the summer of 2003. I had been to several outdoor allday events and I was on bc pills and anti depressants. In 04 I had a tca peel done and it got rid of it. It came back in 2007 and I have been batteling it ever since. Dr. Oz was on Oprah and he mentioned Nia 24 reducing hyperpigmentation. Also canyon ranch has products with the same ingredients but they cost more. I bought some and will let you know the outcome. They say it will give you 90 percent improvement in hyperpigmentation. Also removes broken cappillaries and rosacea like redness. I hope it works because I used to have beautiful fair skin but now it looks muddy.

    2. I tried lasering my skin a couple of weeks ago. The process only took about 10 minutes. The melasma turned dark, dark brown within a few hours. The scabs stayed on my face about 5 days, then it peeled to a light pink skin color and was beautiful. Then a week later, which is today, I noticed that the melasma areas are starting to get darker again. The areas that I had the least melasma is much darker now. So, I would not recommend laser to anyone right now, but instead try to find the cause of melasma (i.e. hormone imbalnce) and treat it. Just to be clear, I laser used on my skin was not the Fraxel laser.

  37. The isoflavones in soy attach to the body’s estrogen receptors and create a mild estrogenic effect, even in the presence of excessive natural estrogen, therefore soy can actually balance the effect of estrogen in the body if there is too much in circulation.

  38. I cannot go in direct sunlight without instantly getting a sun mustache. I cover up with hats/makeup/scarves, etc.
    Can anyone suggest a great sunblock for me? I have purchased many different types of sunblock but they do not seem to work. Help! Thank you.

    1. Yes. A good sunscrean is TiSilc, it comes in 45 or 60 SPF (tinted or sheer/clear). It’s excellent. I have had melasma from many many years of bc and mild/mod sun exposure, before melasma was even a medical condition on the bc labels (back in the late 80s) my skin has never gotten back to the shade it was pre-bc. Tisilc will def block the sun though – use it every AM for the rest of your life.

  39. I am a 36 yr old male with malasma on my upper lip, cheeks, and forehead. Any suggestions for causes and solutions for men? Also does anyone know if microderm abrasion lasts or the melasma comes back once you are back in the sun? Any comments or information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  40. Has anyone heard of Revitalight? It is a brand for a hand held, low dose laser–less than half of what the lowest dose laser puts out–less side effects than IPL? My acupuncturist is doing some research on this but she said she is not sure about side effects. Other acupuncturists use this on patients to treat various skin problems. I have melesma over 60 per cent of my face. (My husband cannot see it either). IPL made my face darker and I am not comfortable with the possible side effects of Fraxel. Trying Dermalogica Night White. HQ helps only as long as I use it so I finally stopped using it. If you have success with Revitalight I would like to know. Remember the skin industry is coming up with new things all the time, so don’t lose hope!

  41. Thank you so much for your website! My melasma starten after a lot of antibiotics. First on my upperlip, then cheeks, forehead and nose. I ‘ve startet last year with taking MSM and Zinc, and I notice a difference. My melasma was fading. Now I’ve completely stopped eating chocolade and I’m taking extra vitamine C. And I noticed a big difference in only 2 weeks! I’m so happy..Good luck everybody!

    1. Hello Leili,

      What kind of antibiotics did you take. Just concerned because my Dr put me on antibiotics and I’m afraid that the melasma will darken within time. Will it darken with all antibiotics are just some?

      Thank

  42. Thanks for posting this website. I have melasma on my face and I have frantically been searching for a solution for years. I have to say that after all my reasearch it boils down to calcium deficieny. If you google hypocalcemia and hyperpigmentaion, you will find loads of information about photosensitive hyperpigmentation. Even the pictures of hypocalcemia patients are similar to the melasma on my face. Reasearchers are now reporting the BC pills cause women to have low calcium. All the medications you have listed on this site are hydrochloride derivatives – hydrochloride is a calcium antagonist. Just get Calcium supplements with no vitamin D (vitamin D is actually a hormone and you don’t want me to get started on that one…) Nivea has mineral oil and it should be used in the daytime because mineral oil is an excellent sunblock.

      1. I am doing some research into Vitamin D. Here is my theory and some of the research backs it up…
        Vitamin D is synthesised through the skin. People who are asian, black, or american indian (I have 1/16 american indian and, at one time, could get an awesome tan) have the ability to produce darker pigmentation when we go out in the sun. That is how our bodies turns off Vitamin D synthesis. Our face gets more sunlight than any other part of our body, as does the v area of our chest, our arms, and our shoulders. The darkening in our skin is the way our body is saying “no more vitamin D”.
        Some research shows that D actually reduces calcium absorption. Vitamin D increase prolactin. Vitamin D taken internally shuts down the normal function of the parathyroid.
        I was a major milk drinker and I took a multi. I live in FLORIDA!!!! I don’t need D, and I was getting way too much in my diet.
        Soy milk is fortified with D. When woman are pregnant, they are told by EVERYONE to drink lots of milk. Vegetarians drink fortified soy milk for protein, and take vitamins. A lot of woman, not just pregnant woman, eat and drink dairy products fortified with Vitamin D amd take a multi – it is too much D. Melasma occurs more frequently in Tropical climates!!
        We are “told” that it is “good” for us, but the research says otherwise and so do our faces.
        AND BY THE WAY – WHAT MODERN WOMAN HASN’T TAKEN THE PILL? Now research is suggesting that the pill causes low calcium. That in conjunction with too much D is a calcium zapper.

        1. I meant to include Hispanic Latino to the group of people whose skin can produce darker pigment.

      1. Not copper deficiency although I tried that at one point. I have researched and found that hypocalcemia is the only deficiency that causes our type of hyperpigmentation.
        Google hypocalcemia. Also google pics of hyperpigmentation caused by hypocalcemia. Most of the people have acquired it do to taking calcium blockers or antibotics. I have been looking into vitamin k, but I truly believe that nothing in a pill form can undo the damage.

  43. To all you wonderful people for posting your comments and advice i thank you for sharing it with us all that have melasma i had two micro abrations and two fraxels and still have it . Me myself see that i didnt have no improvement and what hurts most is my daughter is still paying for it i suggest you really look into it before doing it . I dont say it not for everybody but for me it wasnt i have tyroid condition and before i use to use alot of birth control also i had some acne when i was young so i had some pot marks and when i had the fraxels done it made my pot marks more noticeable .I still have one more to do because it was a package deal and i am so not into it i told then that i will be in in november just to delay it. My daughter paid it all ready so what do i do they cannot refund her money? She try to comfort me but i knopw her she wouldnt say mom it didnt work it got worst. aAso i pay alot for tri-luma cream and i juat want to stop using it so i dont have to do the routine everyday of my life . I just want to wash my face without doing any thing to it in treatment just apply a good facial lotion or cream and see results. Im embrass even to date or have a boyfriend because of my melasma. i dont let anyone see me natural and i cry often.because i use to be a very pretty lady without melasma.Well that some of my advice and what been happeninhg to me . Thank you all for all your information. Sinecerely Me

  44. Thank you so much for this site. I just saw my doctor who gave NONE of this information and just wanted me to apply more chemicals to my face. She wouldn’t even give me a referral to a dermatologist – and basically made me feel like there is no hope. She never talked about possible thyroid issues, and as I have endometriosis (and am taking birth control pills which probably contributed to this problem) didn’t warn me about any problems with stopping the pill (which I said I wanted to do, and found online there are issues.) It takes being proactive and finding sites with information like this one to help make the best decision. Again, thank you so much!

  45. I was at your website for the first time and I
    must congratulate you im a paramedical esthetician residing in las vegas where hypopigmentation is inefitable for most reidents here it is a very difficult to treat in a 110 pluse climate I myself have some melasma that I have been treating for far too long now with only medocre results im quite exited at the prospects of some of the treatments listed I am anxious to try the ma ma lotion. I would like to hear from anyone out there who has used the ma ma lotion or any others that brought a good result thanks again for the informative info i loved it keep up the good work.
    Lula Castle

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