Melasma: causes and home remedies

Melasma known as the mask of pregnancy is a common skin disease, which is a form of facial pigmentation that causes brown or gray patches to appear on skin particularly on the face. It is more common in women than in men. Its onset is usually between the age of 20 and 40 years. It is most common in people who have naturally brown skin or tan easily.

Following are the common areas of melasma on face:

  •   Bridge of the nose
  •   Forehead
  •   Cheeks
  •   Upper lip

It may also appear on other areas that suffer excessive exposure sunlight such as:

  •   Forearms
  •   Neck
  •   Shoulders

It can be caused due to a number of causes such as pregnancy and excessive sun exposure. You can take the help of certain home remedies such as using cucumber, papaya and tomato to treat it. It is not easy to prevent it but certain ways can help to manage it such as wearing protective clothing, sunscreen and managing stress.

For better understanding lets discuss:

Melasma Causes

  • Contraceptive therapy: The use of oral contraceptive pills or birth control pills, which contain estrogen and progesterone, is one of the causes of melasma.
  • Pregnancy: The enhanced estrogen, progesterone and the melanocyte-stimulating hormones levels during the third trimester of pregnancy causes the melasma in pregnant women.


  • Hormones: Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone might have a role in causing melasma in some people.
  • Makeup: Some makeup products can cause phototoxic reactions. Phototoxic drugs are the medications, which can make you sensitive to sunlight. They include certain antibiotics, NSAIDs, diuretics, retinoids and some other drugs.
  • Soaps: Some of the scented soaps can cause or even worsen the condition.
  • Sun exposure: Excessive sun exposure triggers the development of melasma. The UV rays of the sun promote melanocytes to produce more melanin.
  • Genetics: In case you have a strong family history, then you have higher chances of melasma development.
  • Skin inflammation: Cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments and chemical peels, which can cause skin inflammation, can increase the chances of melasma development.

Home remedies for melasma

  • Aloe vera:

It has anti-inflammatory properties. It is extremely moisturizing, gentle and hydrating to the skin. It acts by rehydrating the skin, nourishing it and protecting it from the UV rays.

How to use:

Take fresh aloe vera gel and apply it on your face and massage for 2-3 minutes. Wash your face with warm water after 10- 15 minutes.

It contains curcumin as its primary compound, which exhibits antioxidant and antimutagenic properties. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat various skin conditions including melasma.

 How to use:

Mix two tablespoons of turmeric with four tablespoons of milk to form thick paste. Apply this mixture on the affected skin area. Wash it with warm water once it gets dried.

  • Black tea water:

Tea provides soothing and calming effects through its astringent properties.

How to use:

Use a cotton pad to apply black tea water on the affected areas of skin.

  • Red lentils:

They are rich in antioxidants. They can be used for the treatment of melasma-induced hyperpigmentation.

How to use:

Soak red lentils overnight and grind them the next day to form thick paste. Apply the paste on the affected area of the face. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash your face with normal water.  

  • Tomato:

It contains lycopene as its primary compound that has the ability to protect the skin from damage caused by sun exposure.

How to use:

Grind tomato to form paste and add olive oil in it to form a face mask. Apply it two times a week to fade melasma.

It contains sulfoxides and cepaenes that assist to get rid of the melasma. 


How to use:

Puree one onion and mix it with apple cider vinegar. Apply the mixture on the affected skin with the help of a cotton ball. Wash it with warm water after 20 minutes.

  • Lemon:

It is a natural bleaching agent thus helps to fade the spots.

How to use:

Apply lemon juice on the affected areas of skin. After 20 minutes, wash it with warm water.

  • Papaya:

It can treat various skin diseases. The papain present in it can treat the melasma. 

How to use:

Grind a few pieces of papaya and mix a little honey in it. Apply the paste on the affected skin areas. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it after about 20 minutes.

  • Cucumber:

It can remove the pigmentation as it is high in antioxidants.

How to use:

Grate one cucumber and apply it on your affected area of skin. Wash it after 20 minutes with lukewarm water.

Prevention measures for melasma

  • Use protective clothing: It is not possible to prevent the melasma but you can use sunscreen to prevent sun damage that can eventually cause melasma. Using a sunscreen of minimum SPF 50 is beneficial.

Also, try to wear a hat and scarf to protect your skin against the sun exposure.


  • Use retinol: Retinol has the ability to exfoliate thus it accelerates the cell turnover and fades the spots.
  • Eat healthy: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is crucial for the health of skin, hair, and nails. Consuming proteins and omega 3 fatty acids is also important.
  • Manage stress: Managing stress can prevent melasma up to great extent. You can choose meditation, yoga and any other activity that relaxes your mind.


Melasma can make you frustrated sometimes especially if you are a woman who loves flawless skin. But do not panic; do not let the stress trigger your condition. There are many treatments available for its treatment. Moreover you can take the help of home remedies for melasma treatment which are cheap and effective to treat melasma.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • What is melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition, which causes dark, discolored patches on the skin most often on the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose.
  • How can I lighten melasma naturally?

You can use lemon juice to lighten your melasma. Rub it on the affected area of skin and leave it to dry. Then wash it with water.

  • What are the major melasma causes?

Melasma can be triggered by birth control pills, hormone therapy and pregnancy. Thyroid disorder and stress can also cause melasma. Moreover, exposure to the sun can also cause melasma.

  • Can vitamin E cure melasma?

Topical use of vitamin E can treat melasma . You can use it by combining it with vitamin C to effectively treat hyperpigmentation. 

  • How to cure melasma from the inside?

Melasma can be the result of nutritional deficiencies. Skin pigmentation is sometimes symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus consumption of vitamin B12 sources such as fish, milk, cheese and eggs can help to cure melasma from inside.

  • What is best  melasma treatment at home?

Melasma can be the result of nutritional deficiencies. Skin pigmentation is sometimes symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus consumption of vitamin B12 sources such as fish, milk, cheese and eggs can help to cure melasma from inside.

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