Melasma usually appears as greyish brown patches on the face and, occasionally, on the arms, chest, or back. It is common in women and seldom seen in men. Prominently, these patches pop up on the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, forehead, lips, and elsewhere on the face.
Melasma patches are excessive melanin pigments reflecting from skin layers and are caused due to the overstimulation of melanocytes/pigment cells. They are triggered either by external factors like over-exposure to sunrays, cosmetic products, and medications or by intrinsic factors like hormonal therapy and pregnancy.
Treating Melasma Through Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, the thin, circular, painless, brown-colored patches on the face are referred to as vyanga. These manifest due to the aggravation of the vata dosha (air element), mostly due to physical and mental exertion. Combined with a vitiated pitta dosha (fire element), they lead to the patches, making the skin dry and lusterless.
Predominantly, the pitta dosha localized in the skin (called bhrajaka pitta) is responsible for imparting complexion and radiance to the skin. The pitta dosha (fire element) localized in the liver and spleen (called ranjaka pitta) bestows redness to the blood (rakta dhatu). The pitta dosha and blood are important factors considered in the treatment of skin diseases.
Topical applications like oil, paste, powders, or juice extracts are used to normalize the skin by de-clogging and absorbing through the pores. In addition to the local application, nasal drops (nasya) can be used to placate the imbalanced doshas in the regions above your shoulder.
Internal herbal medicine and the invasive method of bloodletting (raktamokshan) are also effectively used to calm the vitiated doshas and clear blood impurities.
Home Remedies For Melasma
Some simple and effective home remedies for melasma are broadly classified under these: facial scrubs, facial massages, and face packs. Here are some sample remedies:
Facial Scrubs Or Udvartan
1. Green Gram Powder And Turmeric
This mixture prevents the clogging of the skin and also reduces the need to use chemicals. Mix green gram powder and turmeric and use it as a facial scrub in the powder form. Alternatively, mix this with coconut oil, sesame oil, milk, or plain water.
2. Chickpea, Red Lentil, And Lemon Peel Powder
Mix chickpea powder, red lentil powder, and dried orange or lemon peel powder and use it as a gentle scrub for cleansing.
Facial Massages Or Mardan
1. Coconut, Almond, Or Castor Oil
These oils can effectively rid the skin of dryness and give it a luster and glow. Apply coconut oil, almond oil, or castor oil on the affected area and gently massage for 3 to 5 mins daily.
2. Glycerin, Honey, And Fresh Lime
This mixture cleanses clogged pores and hydrates the skin. Mix glycerin and honey in a 1:1 proportion. To this, add 2–3 drops of fresh lime juice. Gently massage this mixture onto your face or the affected area. Leave it on for 30 mins and wash it off.
Face Packs Or Pralepa
1. Sandalwood Powder And Rose Water
This mixture has a cooling, soothing effect while toning and improving the skin complexion. Apply sandalwood powder mixed with rose water on the affected area in a uniform layer. Allow it to dry for at least 20–30 mins. Then, dampen the mask and wash it off clean. This can be applied every day before a shower or in the evening.
2. Turmeric Paste
With its hot potency, turmeric is easily absorbed through the skin, lightens it, and gives it a healthy, radiant glow. It also purifies the blood, cleanses the skin, and cures any infections. Make a paste of turmeric using milk or fresh milk cream. Apply this on the affected area and allow it to try. Dampen it and wash thoroughly using plain water.
3. Red Lentil And Almonds
Almond combats the dryness of the skin and nourishes it, whereas the red lentils lighten the skin. Soak red lentils and almonds (in equal proportion) overnight and grind them to get a fine paste-like consistency. Apply this on the face or the affected area and let it dry by itself. Dampen and wash after 20 mins for smooth glowing skin.
4. Rose Petals, Tomatoes, And Saffron
This mixture makes you look healthy by nourishing the skin and lightening the patches of pigmentation. Crush fresh rose petals to make a paste and mix it with 1 tablespoon of fresh tomato puree. Add 3 pinches of powdered saffron, mix, and leave the mixture to rest for 15 mins. Apply this on the patches in a uniform, thin layer and allow it to dry. Wash it after 20 mins.
5. Aloe Vera
Using aloe vera on the skin will get rid of dryness and tan. Just apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area or on the face and rinse after an hour. You can also add turmeric or saffron to this, make a paste, and apply. Wash this off after 20 mins for a radiant skin.
Although harmless and non-contagious, melasma may detract the aesthetic value and result in lowered self-esteem in an individual.