Melasma is a skin condition that’s also known as ‘chloasma face’ or ‘the mask of pregnancy’. It can affect anyone of any age, but it’s particularly common in women – especially pregnant women, women taking contraceptive tablets and women taking HRT medication. It’s also common in men and women who are Native American, Russian, German or Jewish in descent. The main symptoms of the disorder are large, discolored pigmented areas on the skin that can appear on the face, in particular the eyelids, lips, cheeks, forehead and nose, and often on the forearms. Melasma is not known to cause any other symptoms apart from these discolored areas. The severity of the disorder is thought to increase with age as the elastin and collagen levels in the skin drop.
Causes of melasma are thought to include aging, hormone disturbances (which is why this condition is seen more in pregnant women and women undergoing hormone therapy), stress, allergy and intolerance to certain foods and medications.
There are a number of creams available to treat melasma, but home remedies are recommended as people with melasma are likely to be more sensitive to the chemicals within the creams. Read on for some natural home remedies thought to treat melasma. Find something that works for you and stick with it, but remember that if you experience any adverse reactions to any of the treatments, you should stop treatment immediately and seek medical advice.
Vinegar is thought to be a brilliant home remedy for melasma due to its acidic properties. It contains acetic acid, which is thought to cleanse skin. Because of this cleansing property, it’s thought that vinegar will improve your complexion and soften the skin. Dilute it with equal parts water and apply it to the face – use it in the same way that you would a cleanser. Products like apple cider vinegar and other natural vinegars will also work well.
The natural nutrients within onions are thought to help with pigmentation problems. There are a number of ways you can use onion to treat melasma – try slicing white onion into 2cm slices and dip them into vinegar. Place the onion slices onto the pigmentation areas and leave them for a good 15 minutes. Remove them from the area and wash thoroughly with warm water. Repeat this twice a day for two weeks and you should notice a difference.
You could also use onion juice, made from ground down onions, mixed with apple cider. Apply in the same way.
Lemon juice has long since been used to get rid of pigmentation problems because of its lightening properties. Lemon juice is used to lighten hair – so why not skin? Place some lemon juice onto the affected areas, twice a day for two weeks. The pigmented areas should begin to lighten within no time.
Getting enough sleep is vitally important to treat all aspects of your general health. Make sure you’re getting your full eight hours – if you’re not, or if you’re having trouble sleeping, go to your doctors. They could help you out with some sleeping tablets or a new sleeping routine and you might just find that with sleep, your melasma problems lessen.
If you find that none of these home remedies work for you, talk to your doctor about surgical options, such as laser removal. This is of course a more expensive and slightly more painful route to go down, but if your melasma is particularly problematic or obvious, this may be something to try. You’ll need up to 30 treatments so you’ll need to have a lot of will-power to stick with this treatment.
You could also just wait and see if the problem goes away – many people find that within a year the melasma disappears, particularly pregnant women – when their hormones change, their skin changes. If you ever have any concerns about your melasma that aren’t addressed in this article, visit your doctor.