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. I have dermal melasma, which is harder to treat. I am considering supplements. Has anyone treated dermal with supplements, desperate for answers!!!

    1. Hi hayden
      my doc told me i had dermal melasma too.
      i have gone off all topical treatments the doc gave me
      i apply acv with water 1:1 every day for 1 hour.
      i apply honey for 1 hour
      i take some supplements
      gse 100mg capsule 3 times a day
      vitc 500 mg once a day
      betadine carotenoids once a day.
      if i have mor time i mic lemon and cucumber paste togther and keep on my face for an hour.
      in less than a month my year long melasma has reduced by 80 percent.
      try it ,natural remedies work the best

  2. high please clarify if GSE is Grepae seed extract or Grape Fruit Seed Extract, i think it’s the latter.Thanks

    1. Hi, that’s a good question. I think the original commenter should answer this. Hopefully, she’ll reply.

      In the meantime, I did find one study “Oral intake of proanthocyanidin-rich extract from grape seeds improves chloasma”

      Chloasma (melasma), an acquired hypermelanosis, is often recalcitrant to various treatments and an amenable, as well as safe, pigment-reducing modality is needed. We investigated that the reducing effect of proanthocyanidin, a powerful antioxidant, on chloasma in a one-year open design study. Proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract (GSE) was orally administered to 12 Japanese woman candidates with chloasma for 6 months between August 2001 and January 2002 and to 11 of these 12 for 5 months between March and July 2002.

      Clinical observation, L* value (lightening) and melanin index, and size (length and width) measurements of chloasma were performed throughout the study period. The first 6 months of GSE intake improved or slightly improved chloasma in 10 of the 12 women (83%, p < 0.01) and following 5 months of intake improved or slightly improved chloasma in 6 of the 11 candidates (54%, p < 0.01). L* values also increased after GSE intake (57.8 +/- 2.5 at the start vs 59.3 +/- 2.3 at 6 months and 58.7 +/- 2.5 at the end of study). Melanin-index significantly decreased after 6 months of the intake (0.025 +/- 0.005 at the start vs 0.019 +/- 0.004 at 6 months) (p < 0.01), and also decreased at the end of study (0.021 +/- 0.005) (p < 0.05). GSE is effective in reducing the hyperpigmentation of women with chloasma.

      The beneficial effects of GSE was maximally achieved after 6 months and these was no further improvement after this period. The latter GSE intake for 5 months may prevent chloasma from becoming worse prior to the summer season. GSE is safe and useful for improving chloasma.

  3. I’m 34 and I’ve had melasma for 4 years now. Mine started when I began taking birth control pills, but I believe I’ve had hormone problems for most of my adult life. I have it on my upper lip and a little on my cheeks. I used to spend a lot of time trying to cover it with makeup but when I asked my husband what he thought he said he thought it just made it more noticeable. He says I’m beautiful no matter what, so that helps. But it was very freeing to stop trying to always cover it. Now I just use sunscreen. I’m learning to accept that this is part of my life, but I am also willing to trying natural methods such as becoming healthier and stress free.
    I feel life is better now that I don’t obsess over it because it used to make me depressed and now it doesn’t. Just remember no one is perfect and you notice your flaws more than others do.

  4. I had melasma for two years and I made mesotherapy at a dermatologist and it is fading away now.

  5. I am a honey colored african american with yellow undertones and started getting melasma after I had a hysterectomy. It is dermal and I have it on my cheecks and outside the corners of my eyes. I have tried Obagi system, which is expensive and did give good improvement, but did not do much for my cheeks. I used to cover it up, but it just made it more noticeable. I live in the desert and work outdoors. I dont even leave the house without 65 spf uva uvb sunblock. About to try skin medica vitalize peel and this grape seed extract and apple cidar vinegar you all are talking about. will report later.

  6. I have what appears to be melasma starting now, AFTER I went off a low-dose birth control pill, that I had been on for 10 years (with no problems). Now I’m wondering if going off the pill made me have melasma, and maybe I should go back on! Any ideas????

  7. I’ve been trying to treat my melasma for what seems like FOREVER. I’ve had very little success with topical creams (retin-A etc) and I still needed to cover the patches with Dermablend make-up and I’m so self-conscious of it. 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.

      1. Hi Gdub, for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure she was referring to an internal dose taken in liquid form (although GSE also comes in capsules). Hope that helps.

  8. Hi everyone.
    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).
    Best Wished to everyone.

  9. OH! I forgot! 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. And Good Luck!

  10. Como muitos que passam por este sofrimento, estou eu a me perguntar como me livrar deste melasma,mas as informações aqui me animaram e gostaria de saber onde comprar estes suplementos, para mais uma vez tentar me livrar das minhas manchas que m,e acompanham hà 10 anos depois da minha 1ª gestação.Obrigada.

  11. Thank you so much for this very helpful site!
    You are the first person to help me identify what has been happening with my face for the past couple years. I am seeing a great nutritionist, but she didn’t give me a solid diagnosis on my facial marking. Maybe that’s because my melasma is quite subtle? When I talk about them, even close friends say they can’t see them. Your descriptions of where the spots tend to form and what they look like have helped me identify and understand how to remedy my problem. I already knew I have estrogen dominance, and low calcium, and that I am too stressed out! Your clear information really helps me see how I re-orient my life in a more healthful direction. The melasma is a troubling symptom, but I am grateful that the body communicates its distress in a visible way. I’m excited to watch the spots fade as I take moves to improve my health. Its great to read here how many people are losing their melasma. I really appreciate the sharing of simple solutions, such as apple cider vinegar masks, and dietary recommendations.

    I noticed that I was getting subtle dark areas on my face a year or so after I had a hormone releasing IUD inserted (in my early thirties.) I quit having periods, and started getting acne and marks on my face. I also became a vegan, which, now, I am sure, contributed to my problems. Now I know that a low animal-protein diet can hinder thyroid function, and further contribute to estrogen dominance. I now only eat animal products from pasture-raised animals, or fish.

    I am seeing a nutritionist who is skilled in helping people get their thyroid function back up to normal, and helping correct estrogen dominance.

    1. Hi bella, thanks so much for your kind words. I’m always happy to hear the site has helped people. 🙂

      I also agree with you that melasma is a mere symptom of some other issue/s in the body and that these symptoms are important to our well-being. They raise our “alarm bells” so that we know our bodies need help or maybe some things in our life are just not working. I wish you all the best in your journey!

  12. OH! I forgot! 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. And Good Luck!

  13. **how much of these vitamins/MSM/milk thistle, etc,should i be taking daily to rid myself of this 6 year struggle with melasma. im certain my melasma was caused by a combination of anti-biotics, birth control pills and sun. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  14. My melasma appeared shortly after giving birth to each of my three children. With the first two children, I used a dermatologist-prescribed bleaching cream, and the melasma did go away, although it took about 6 weeks the first time and about 6 months the second time. After the third child, the bleaching cream never worked. That child is now 17 years old, and for a lot of that time, I tried everything anyone recommended – topicals, microdermabrasion, peels, laser. Nothing worked, and the melasma only got worse. I wish I had known then about harsh treatments making things worse, but no one was saying that then. I’m now told that because of all the aggressive treatments, the melasma has gone deeper and is now dermal melasma, and there’s nothing that will touch dermal melasma. Just wanting your opinion about that. I’m pretty much resigned to having this forever. FYI – Of course I faithfully use a strong sunscreen and stay out of the sun. Thanks!

  15. Mine is improving everyday with vinegar…every other day…and I also use honey overnight….try it!!!!Vinegar is been always a good cleanser…..but treat the area where the melasma appear only…..do not use hot water while treating with these…….very cold water is very good!!!good luck!!

  16. I wasn’t taking any Rx, never have been on birth control, and I had my kiddos about 7 years before my melasma showed up out of nowhere(at the age of 27). I live in Texas so it’s impossible to stay out of the 100 degree sun…here you can get a sunburn in 10 minutes just waiting in the afternoon rush hour traffic. I’m not one for going to the DR unless I absolutely have to. At the time I had never heard of Melasma, I just knew that I was tired of caking on makeup and the brown patches seemed to be getting larger and darker. I hated it.

    I had a dermabrasion done and used the creams that they told me to. It was useless. You’ll get a better result using a $3 microfiber car towel.

    I bought a TCA peel off ebay – it did nothing for my melasma and caused me a deep tissue bruise/damage. The peel was extrememly uneven.

    Then I went to the dermatologist and they diagnosed me with melasma. They gave me a tube of 4% hydroquinone cream. I am not allergic to anything, but after I put this on my face, I started having a hard time breathing and had a bad allergic reaction. I washed the stuff off and took it back to my dermatologist. They gave me a bottle of PhytoCorrective Gel and a thing of Retinol from the SkinCeuticals.com line. I used them exactly as I was told to. I had no allergic reaction, no burning or flaking skin, etc. 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.

  17. i had been suffering from Melasma for lasy 4 yrs…

    started using the the MSM suppliment in combination of Vitamin C and Cod Liver Oil capsules and there is a definate change in the intensity of the Melasma patches on my cheeks and Nose.

    I can say about 25% change in about a Months time.

    1. Hi. Any more updates on your progress with your regimen?
      I started a similar regimen but have not noticed any difference.
      With lots of hope…
      Thanks.

  18. I just started applying Aveeno Active Naturals Daily moisturizing lotion a couple of days ago and it seems some of melasma brown spots on my legs are clearing up. No harm in trying it.

  19. I have had melasma for a few years now. First, I tried Fraxel. I had one patch on one cheek, and after spending roughly $2,000, I ended up with another patch of melasma on my other cheek. Then I tried a Dermamelan chemical peel, and $1,800 later, nothing changed. The lighting on the before and after pictures they showed me was completely different, so in the after pics, it was overexposed to the point where I looked like a ghost. (They thought I was dumb enough to fall for that, as nothing changed. However, they’re the ones who are laughing, as I was totally duped and robbed.) I have been reading post after post, and tried some of the supplement regimes half-heartedly. I have been using Retin-A and a mixture of kojic acid, hydroquinone, etc. prescribed by a dermatologist and that was helping but a stupid doctor prescribed tetracycline for something else, and it has actually made my melasma worse! Spread to forehead now and now I am getting mad and desperate. I am going to consult a naturopath and take a hormone test and metal toxicity test. I want to find out what the underlying cause is. All of these creams, lasers, etc. I think don’t help. Or if they do, it’s just temporary. If anyone has a foolproof, surefire treatment I am all ears. I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, and now my skin is worse than ever. It is really quite ridiculous that in this day and age, there is no known cure or proven, effective treatment.

    1. Hi,
      I don’t know a lot about your condition, but I have severe steroid cream damage to my skin and read the Yahoo forums a lot about this and other skin issues and Retin A is bad for your skin. Anything with CHEMICALS in it usually is.

      I am using organic wheat grass spray and drink wheat grass powder, organic coconut oil, organic palm oil, organic jojoba oil, organic cocoa butter and organic shea butter on my damaged skin. The oils are are the safest and have omega 3 fats that are good for our whole body inside and out.
      I also do not eat sugar or any grains beside Amaranth and Quioa while I’m healing. I eat a lot according to the Weston Price diet which is good fats and grass fed meats and eggs.
      The other thing I would like to suggest is checking out LDN or Low Dose Naltrexone website. I am taking it for fibromyalgia but it also has helped people heal from skin conditions. Hope you find some answers. God bless.

      1. I agree!! I take LDN FOR MY FIBRO TOO!! Its done wonders in just 6 short weeks I started on a low dose of 1.0 mg moved to 1.5 mg few days ago. I am shocked at how the extra endorphin release helps my body give off actually kills the pain and inflammation!! I say its worth a look I started a fbook page called GOT ENDORPHINS? LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) we have a lot of LDN heavy hitter there answering questions and its just plain fun someone is always there.. so is “the” Crystal! LOVE IT!! LDN RULES!

    2. Hi Yasmin, sorry to hear abt your troubles. If it makes you feel any better, your journey is a fairly common one among those with melasma. I think you’re doing the right thing in consulting with a naturopath. If what you have is dermal melasma, it seems internal methods of healing are the most effective.

    3. So sorry to hear all your troubles. Actually I can totally relate to your ventures. I went through almost the same scenarios. It is horrible!!!! Whatdid work for me was cosmelon 1 peel and cosmelon 2 maintenance cream for 2 yrs. However I noticed it started tonlose effect and made my skin age and look weird from constant use. I decided to try something different. Last month I started msm and vit c supplementation. Plus zinc. And pycnogenol. I’m hopig they work. Skin cycle is over 35 days so it will be a slow process to get rid of all the layers of ugly dark melasma built up. I’m hopeful. Have you tried supplementation for possible copper overload? Hope you Sind some clues through mineral level testing and other modalities. I also purchased a new topical product online. I haven’t received it yet. Best of luck to you. Glad to see forums like to talk to ppl who actually understands.

  20. i’ve had the same skin problem for 5yrs but mines is in my legs & its due to hormones & sun light. i havent wore shorts in 5 yrs. i cant have a long term relationship and the marks look the same 🙁 im goin to try some of the suggestions on this site. i hope they work for me thanks so much.

  21. I’m black and i’ve had melasma 4 5yrs now. It causes depression and anxiety and i always lik staying indoor because of this. But now there is hope. Thanks. I love u all

  22. 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 🙂
    “Cute” i wish u the best of luck… dnt give up.. you’ll see results soon enough..

    1. That’s great! Thanks for sharing, maria. I’ve updated the article to include your story now.

  23. Hi Samantha, thanks for your support, your site & for adding my story 🙂
    i wanted to tell you i bumped into another article of yours called Castor Oil part 2 & i wanted to know if you think i should add it to my new routine. Maybe rub it on my problem area after i shower before bed. im not sure caz its summer, oil might worsen my spots 🙁
    thanks again Maria

    1. Hi maria, castor oil will boost skin circulation, which is a good thing in general. But it might be a bit tricky for use in some types of melasma that tend to darken with heat. Castor oil doesn’t redden my skin at all, but it’s still a bit uncomfortable for me to apply castor oil all over my face on a hot day because it’s such a thick and heavy oil. I tend to apply it very lightly on cool nights/days only. Still, everyone’s skin is different and you would know your own skin best.

      My suggestion is to give it a try during a particularly cool evening for an hour or two. This way, you’ll get an idea of how it feels and its effect on your skin before you try leaving it on overnight. If you’re really worried, you can try it on another part of your body first, like your hands.

  24. Thanks for ur reply Samantha.
    I wont be using Castor Oil this time around. Its summer and my spots do get darker by heat alone but I’ll give it a try during winter time. I cant keep the same routine for too long. My body will become immune to the supplements at some point in time plus some of them should not be taken over a long period of time. Thanks again. im so glad i found you.

  25. My sis and I had the same problem. But we used Salycilic Acid only and it worked. From time to time, there would be one or two brown spots that would appear and al we do is apply salicylic acid and it works everytime.
    Regular Vinegar, not the apple cider, also works. If we run out of salicylic acid, we dub vinegar soak in cotton and apply to face and other affected area and it works too.

  26. Hiiiiii 🙂 its me again !!
    today i almost bought Murad for hyperpigmentation but it has 2% hydroquinone and i rather avoid it.
    My question today is,Meladerm i believe its called. would you recommend it? it doesnt have hydroquinone in it. My routine is going pretty good but i dnt think theres nothing wrong with helping it a little. I’ve had these spots for a long time im ready to be free 🙂

    1. Hi maria, meladerm can be good for some people. It didn’t help my deep hyperpigmentation though I can see how it can be useful for other types. The only thing you need to be careful of with meladerm is that it can make the skin a bit sun-sensitive during/after, so it’s best to keep out of the sun when you’re using it.

  27. Hi I’m 34 yrs old female, had my baby 2.5 years ago. During last trimester of pregnancy I got melisma on my cheeks. Post delivery I ate about 12 Kgs of Carom seeds, black candamom and fennels seeds over a period of 6 months with a vegetarian diet. I stopped breasfeeding after 6.5 months of delivery, but my melasma didn’t fade, infact i started to have constipation. Now my skin is very dull, its sagging and melasma is still there, plus over a period of time my constipation has become so bad that i can’t pass on without taking a medicine.. I was diagnosed with Zinc deficiency (through hair analysis test) about 4 months ago, then i started to take Zinc supplement (45mg daily). M<y melasma did fade a bit but then I went on holiday and couldn't take my Zinc regularly and the melasma got worse. I read on several website and then selected a following supplement routine-

    * around 11am- take 8-10 drops of grapefruitseed extract (34%)-started about 7 days ago
    * at 12.30 pm- 1000mg Vitamin C, 1500mg MSM, 50 mg Zinc, 1 multivitamin capsule, 100mg Sellenium (started for last two days), and probiotics, all in one go immediately after lunch
    * at 4pm- take 8-10 drops of grapefruitseed extract (34%)- started about 4 days ago
    * at 6.30 pm- 1000mg Vitamin C, 1500mg MSM, 25 mg Zinc, and 100mg Sellenium (started for last two days) all in one go immediately after dinner
    * at 9.30- Calcium, magnesium & vit.D supplement with milk
    * before sleeping aloe vera colon cleanse with water

    I'm on above supplements for about 15 days (except the ones i started later like GSE, Sellenium etc.). Since I have started this my joint pains have increased to a great extent, all my joints are very stiff and its hard for me to walk properly. My melasma looks a bit dark at times and my skin is getting very dull and a kind a dehydrated. I get headaches frequently (though not severe) and have vomit feeling as well. At times i feel like dizzi and not alert, at times feel like I will fall, tired and weak. Though I wasn't very health before starting these supplements but since I started them it has become much much severe then it used to be before. Not sure if all is working fine, since read copper detoxification gives rise to such symptoms. Anybody expreinced the same or similar stuff?? how long is it expected to continue?? how would i know if my copper is balanced now??

    Recently my GP has taken a blood sample (results awaited in next 2-3 weeks) to test Artheritis, Thyroid (since I have started feeling too cold, I switch on my heater even then others will be moving around in sleevless tops complaining of hot weather), calcium and vitamin D imbalances. Any idea what all could be going on with me??

    1. Hi AJ, I’m sorry to hear about your troubles.

      You mentioned that you waren’t healthy before and now have a lot of pains after taking the supplements. Could it be a healing crisis?

      Those supplements you’re taking (including the high doses of Vitamin C) won’t just detox you from copper, but other toxic heavy metals as well such as mercury, lead and chromium. All that stuff that’s in your tissues, muscles and joints will slowly get pulled out, putting a heavy load on your elimination systems (kidneys, liver, bowels and skin). We get detox symptoms like the ones you describe (headaches, tiredness, mental fog) when these toxins are released back into the blood.

      This is why it’s important to support them and take breaks once in a while, it gives our kidneys and liver much needed rest and recovery time. From my experience, healing crises are temporary, lasting a few weeks at the most. But because the body heals in stages, you may get a different healing crisis the next time. At one point, I was plagued by a low-grade fever and neck pain. That left after a few weeks. I had another healing crisis when I experienced dull pain in my ears (the result of poorly-healed and severe ear infections). Interestingly, after my “ear pain healing crisis”, I have never gotten another ear infection again, when before I used to get them with some regularity. It’s going to be different for everyone, though.

      It’s good that you’re taking probiotics. If it can get your bms regular (at least once daily), that alone will be a big help. You should also consider doing a liver cleanse and take supplements that can strengthen your liver like milk thistle (if you’re not already).

      In any case, when you feel too much pain like you do now, you should probably try to ease up a bit on the supplements. Maybe take the weekends off to give your body time to rest and recover. It took years and years of daily habits to create the bodies we have now, so we can’t expect to reverse all the damage in a short amount of time. So my advice is to be patient and kind to your body.

      It also sounds like you have thyroid issues. Try reading up on iodine deficiencies and hypothyroidism and see if anything matches your symptoms. I used to be hypothyroid myself, but since starting iodine supplements, I feel cold much less often and don’t “suffer” from it like I used to.

  28. hello all,

    its been very enlightning for me to read all the tips and comments…i am a 30 year old mixraced (english bengali) mother of one…..around 2 years ago i noticed the appearance of dark patches above my lip,forehead and bridge of the nose at firast this did not bother me and put it down to freckels which were easily covered by a little amount of foundation…..since then these ‘freckels have developed further into what i now understand to be melasma (dermal and epidermal). I like most of you began to feel very self conscious of these patches as they are now very obvious especially above the lip on the chin and around the eyes and cheeks…..above the lip looks like i have a mostache which am sure you are all aware as a women is soul destroying……i went to my doctors as i have been struggling to cope with looking at my ever changing appearrance without sounding vain before melasma i had a flawless complexion with no need for foundation…..i am now using so much i should be a sponsor!!! and this does not offer complete coverage infact the worst patches of melasma are uncoverable!!!! i have tried all the creams available to no avail and my personal oppinion on these very expensive products are that they are taking advantage of all of us vulnerable women….i agree with a vast number of you who have tried or are trying the ‘from the inside out method’ i believe thta there is a trigger wether it be food drink or stress changes tht cause these hormones to be ‘woken up’ added to tht sun exposure….i am currently on day one of trying the grapefruitseed extract twice a day along with milk thistle and an evening scrub of apple cider vinegar i have taken a photo of my face and will be doing so every week to see if there are actual results….i am going to upload onto here if allowed as i feel alot of us sufferers get conned or led into expensive unsucessful results and i am keen to see if this herbal method can come up trumps!!!! love and luck to all you lovely ladies and i will keep you posted 🙂

    1. Hi lollylady, best of luck on your journey. 🙂 And you’re very welcome to upload pictures and link them here. I agree — they could be very helpful for the other ladies out there.

    2. @Lolly lady

      I have the same problem as you. A mustache! It started about 2yrs ago but kinda went away. This summer it has returned. After doing some research and unsuccessful use of HQ, I am trying a similar regime. Vit C, GSE, and Apple cider morning and night. I’m on day 2. I do not want to try too many things at once, then I won’t know what worked. I am also not keen on destroying my organs due to my vanity. I do understand that too much of these supplements are damaging. Be careful all. Blessings.

  29. I have melasma for about 3 years and nothing really worked. I just started taking msm, grape seed extract and vitamin c. My joints started to hurt as well and I get tired more easily than ever. I hope this will go away eventually.
    I also started applying acv on my face but does anyone know if it has the same affect on melasma when you drink apple cider vinegar rather than applying on your face? It really smells bad and burns my eyes.

  30. Regular vinegar really works. Good for the face, good for the hair too.
    I have melasma on my face and legs but it has lessened greatly since I started to use regular vinegar.
    Just want to share…….

    1. Hi Hotty,

      I assume that you apply the vinegar externally, and not drink it…Is that right?

  31. Hi Maria again…
    my spots look so much better & lighter… i should be happy but im not…
    i need to find a way to prevent them… its summer, my favorite time of the year but i cant enjoy the sun out of fear to getting them again… its really good to be able to get rid of them but its also time consuming… how can i prevent them from coming back ??? why do i only get them on one part of my body (my legs) im glad its not my whole body 🙂
    but i wish i could wear short summer dresses & shorts 🙁

  32. Maria again…
    Sorry for the last message… i was having a bad day… anyhow, most of my spots are gone.
    I got some little ones but the bigger ones are pretty much gone or really really light.. i did wear shorts and a very strong sun screen for about 20mins lol because i was too scared but nothing bad happen 🙂
    I’m not taking none of the supplements anymore just to give my liver a break…
    I still use vinegar every other night before bed and just started aloe vera juice every other night too… once summer is done i’ll start avocado, castor and almond oil…

    1. No need to apologise – I’m just glad you’re feeling happier. Anyway, everyone has good days and bad ones.

      That’s great that your bigger spots have lightened so much!

  33. Hi Maria once again…
    i don’t know if this supplement had anything to do with the improvement on my spots but i realized that i didn’t mention it before & maybe i should have…
    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…

    hope it helps…

    1. I’m sure there’s a connection. Maca powder is nutrient-rich and on top of everything else, it’s also a good source of magnesium and iodine. I think magnesium is a biggie. If you’re keen, google “magnesium chloride deficiency” and see what comes up. It’ll make you love your maca powder even more. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that!

  34. I have been trying to get trid of melasma for about two years… i have used bleaching dreams, tri-luma, hydroquinone 8%, 6% and presently kojic acid, hydroquinone, vitamin A & C in one bleacher, what can I do.

  35. Whatever you do, don’t try ipl or laser for your melasma. Stick to these safe nutritional methods and be patient. It will work!

    A dermatologist darkened my melasma with ipl and then another dermatologist claimed he could fix the problem with his fractional laser. The laser burned my subcutaneous facial fat layer, causing fat atrophy and terrible facial disfigurement. My once pretty face was ruined. The laser even damaged my eyes and my thyroid, causing a host of health problems. Lasers and IPL machines are dangerous devices and were not thoroughly tested for safety before the FDA allowed them on the market.

  36. Hi All,

    There is not much I have not tried (IPL, Fraxel, Glycolic Acid, MSM, Hydroquinone, Copper-Antagonists, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, High-Dose Folic Acid, Milk Thistle…), all with no, little or short-lived results.
    I have recently come across an article in a medical journal, reporting a study in which Pycnogenol was successfully trialled in the treatment of melasma. I have just ordered some online, together with some Grapefruit Seed Extract which also rates a mention in many threads on melasma. I am planning to combine these supplements with the topical application of Apple Cider Vinegar. Planning to keep you posted on my progress.

  37. 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.

    1. Wow! That’s great to hear, jj c. I’m really happy for you. 🙂

      I’ll update the article soon with your input on castor oil. Thanks for sharing!

  38. My Melasma is really dark on my upper lip. Is anyone having success with anything? I’m going to try castor oil with turmeric powder, I’ve read that it works well. Any thoughts out there? I’m really desperate, this Melasma mustache has kept me indoors for two years, I only go out at night. It’s ruining my life…

    1. Hi Robbie
      I have the same problem. Absolutely hate my mustache!!! It is also dermal melanoma so it’s deep set and nothing works. I get so depressed. Does anyone have had successful experience with anything at all for this area?
      Thank u!!!

    2. Hi Robbie, I’ve just updated the article with comments about using castor oil on melasma. They might give you some encouragement.

  39. Hiiii 🙂
    Now that summer seems so near I’m concern about my spots getting dark again and to get new ones.. i heard about glucosamine lotion but don’t know much about it.. i was hoping you could tell me more about it and if it’ll make a difference if i use it or not..
    thanks..
    Maria

  40. Hello my spotty friends,

    I am back again, two weeks into my Pycnogenol trial (100mg in two doses of 50mg per day). I feel as though the patches on my forehead and cheeks are becoming lighter and are ‘breaking up’ a little. When I wear my usual foundation, my complexion seems more even than before.

    Stopped using the Apple Cidar vinegar after just a few days because I could not stand the smell. Ultimately, I think it is the acid (any acid?) that helps exfoliate away the epidermal melasma to an extent. But in my case, the dermal component is the bigger concern, which is why I am hoping to tackle the problem from the inside.

    If nothing else, I should live to 100 years with perfect eyesight and vascular health now. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of degenerative change that Pycnogenol does not prevent.

    Given the metabolic turnover rate of skin, I expect that it will take at least 6 weeks before I see definite results. Here is hoping.

    I’ll let you know how I go.

    Meow.

  41. Jj c
    How is castor oil working on your upper lip melasm?
    I’m hoping to hear some good news ..
    Thanks.

  42. No reply on the glucosamine lotion message ??!
    i read that glucosamine is used in beauty lotions like oil of olay and it helps breakout the spots but i need more information. i don’t want to do the pills so i was wondering on the lotion? any suggestions?

    1. Hi maria

      If no one has replied, it might be helpful to do a simple Google search to get the answers you want. Just a suggestion…

  43. I have had melasma underneath both my eyes for at least 4 years now – two big dark circles and look like I have two black eyes when I haven’t covered them in concealer and foundation. About 5 months ago I found this site, and was very happy to finally become aware of different supplements to treat and hopefully start reducing this awful discolouration. Armed with this new information and advice, I commenced taking a multitude of supplements, including MSM, CoQ10, Pycnogenal, milk thistle, zinc and vit C. I was very careful to only take the recommended dosages and was consistent in taking each supplement daily, for the most part. I kept this up for 4 weeks.
    during the third week, I got my period. After 12 days I hadn’t stopped bleeding so took myself off to my GP as this is not normal for me at all. I have never had any menstruation issues in my life, and I am currently 36 years of age. Needless to say, I was very concerned. As the supplement taking was the only thing different to my routine, I wrote it all down to show my Doc. he agreed that this had had a direct affect on my period and advised the general rule with any type of supplement is 21 days on / 7 days off, so stop completely during menstruation.
    since then, I haven’t gone back onto any of the supplements as my periods have been extremely erratic. The first one ended up lasting 16 days, and only stopped because my doc gave me a pill to stop it. My next period arrived 10 days later. the one following that arrived at 14 days, as did the next one. Period number 5 was a healthy 21 days, and finally, here I am, 5 -6 months later, due any day now and seems I may be back to my normal 26 day cycle.
    I have decided to write this post to let readers know of my experience, because I hadn’t read any posts on these supplements having an extreme effect on their hormones as they have to me. To be honest, I’m reluctant to re-commence taking them now, and generally feel I’ve wasted my money and been put through a heap of grief over it.

  44. I’ve had melasma for 2yrs and have spent thousands of dollars on products, decided to do some reseach on the unlying cause of this problem, this is what I found out it basically stems from your liver. The liver is what balances your hormones and detoxifies your body along with many other functions, so taking supplements wouldn’t really help much if your body is toxic. I was taking supplements and it was taking alot longer to work, this is what is I decided to do, I’m presently detoxing and taking my supplements and within one week I’m seeing a big diffence in my skin. I also applied ACV vinegar daily on my face as well as I drink 1TBLS of ACV in a glass of water daily…. ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)

    For my dextox I’m taking Tisane Durbon, I’m on my second bottle but I do intend to take at least 3-6 bottles if necessary…

    Supplements

    Milk Thistle
    Grape seed extract
    Pycnogenol
    Zinc
    Msm

    You have to follow the required dosage

  45. I am only 46 yo and I am currently going through menopause, which has produced a severe Melasma outbreak, even though I do not take any hormone replacement. After looking up this website I started taking cautiously some of the supplements indicated in addition to castor oil. Within a week I actually feel great and the dark pigmentation has started to slitly fade. I am very happy and grateful to all of you who have shared your stories online.
    Bless you all.

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