6 Easy And Effective Home Remedies For Melasma

Home remedies for melasma

[pullquote]The exact cause of melasma is unknown. Some experts believe it is caused due to estrogen and progesterone sensitivity or increased melanin production. Hence, women and people of color are more likely to develop it.[/pullquote]

Magazines, advertisements, and movies have set flawless skin as the benchmark of beauty. Which is why a lot of people feel insecure about spots and marks on their skin, even though having them is common and normal. Melasma happens to be one such form of hyperpigmentation which presents itself as gray-brown patches on the cheeks, forehead, neck, and upper lip.1


If you’ve been diagnosed with this skin condition, you’ve probably been advised to stay out of the sun or use a lot of sunscreen to avoid aggravating it. However, you should also manage stress and anxiety since they’re known to trigger this condition as well.2 And while pregnancy-related melasma resolves on its own within a few months, if your melasma is stubborn there are a few chemical medications and ointments, depigmenting agents, and peels that could lighten hyperpigmentation. But if you’d like to opt for safe and cheap home remedies instead, here are a few you could try that might help.

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon extract is an active ingredient in several skin whitening creams. This could be because studies have found that the citric acid in lemon can help lighten superficial hyperpigmentation marks. And while they may not fully lighten melasma, you might see some results.3


How to use

  • Extract the juice from one fresh lemon.
  • Apply it on the affected areas and gently rub it around for one minute.
  • Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Use twice a day for three weeks.

It’s important to remember that lemon juice is extremely harsh on your skin and can irritate it. Don’t leave it on your skin for too long or avoid it if you’ve got sensitive skin. Lemon juice is also photosensitive so be sure not to step out in the sun after applying it on your skin.

2. Turmeric

This “golden” spice doesn’t just have antibacterial and antioxidant properties, Ayurveda states that it might also have a bleaching effect.4 Certain studies are also looking into these benefits but haven’t fully concluded whether the spice can help fade marks. Having stated that, you could still give it a go.5


How to use

  • Mix five tablespoons of turmeric powder with 10 tablespoons of milk to make a paste. (Use whole milk as it has lactic acid and calcium that help exfoliate and soften the skin)
  • Add one tablespoon of gram flour to thicken the mixture.
  • Apply this paste evenly on the affected area.
  • Allow it to dry keeping it for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Do it once every day.

Turmeric can stain your skin or cause it to burn if not diluted properly. If you do notice any skin irritation or burning, discontinue use.

3. Aloe Vera

Ayurvedic and traditional Thai treatment for melasma involves the use of aloe vera, especially after sun exposure. Aloin, the active ingredient in aloe vera leaf extracts, is believed to induce powerful melanin-aggregating effects, which might help lighten the skin.6 Besides this, aloe vera gel contains mucilaginous polysaccharides that can alleviate hyperpigmentation.7


How to use

  • Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the fresh gel.
  • Apply the gel thoroughly on the affected area and gently massage for one or two minutes.
  • Leave it on for 15–20 minutes.
  • Then wash it off with lukewarm water.
  • Do this twice a day for a few weeks.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a natural exfoliating agent and while it can’t lighten skin color, it can help get rid of dead skin cells and make way for lighter skin. Studies have found that oatmeal is a good natural exfoliant that can get rid of dry, sensitive, or ashy skin without causing any allergic reactions. Use this oatmeal mask in conjunction with any of the other remedies listed here for best results.8

How to use

  • Mix together two tablespoons of oatmeal powder, two tablespoons of milk and one tablespoon of honey.
  • Apply it on the affected area.
  • Wait 20 minutes and rub off the mixture with water.
  • Pat the face dry with a clean towel.
  • Do this twice or thrice a week for a month.

5. Yogurt

The lactic acid in yogurt was found to be an effective and safe peeling agent in the treatment of melasma.9 Lactic acid is also naturally found in sour milk products koumiss, laban, kefir, certain cottage cheeses, and kombucha. Though research suggests that full strength pure lactic acid needs to be used as a peel, applying yogurt or any of these sour milk products should also get you some good results.

How to use

  • Take a pinch of turmeric and add it to 2 teaspoons of yogurt.
  • Apply the mix on your skin, leave for about 30 minutes, and then wash it off.
  • Do this twice a day for a few weeks.

6. Soy Milk

Several topical creams that are prescribed to lighten melasma contain soy extract. And animal studies have found that soymilk and soybean extract inhibits pigmentation in the skin. Several other studies have found that soymilk might contain certain other constituents that might induce skin lightening effects.10

How to use

  • Soak a cotton pad in soy milk and dab it on to your face.
  • Let it dry for an hour and then wash it off.
  • Do this twice a day for a few weeks.