What’s the best treatment for melasma on face? There are many options to choose from including melasama treatment creams that contain skin lightening ingredients such as kojic acid, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and tertinoins.
Each of these skin lightening ingredients work by inhibiting the production of melanin so the appearance of melasma fades away.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a hyper-pigmentation that causes light to dark brown patches to show up on the skin. This skin discoloration will usually show up on the facial area. Some of the common areas on the face where melasma will develop include the nose, forehead, chin, cheeks, and upper lip.
Even though melasma can affect anyone regardless of skin type, it mostly affects women and those that tan well or have naturally brown skin (
Also, the area where a person lives plays a huge factor in whether or not you are more prone to get this chronic skin condition. For example, people who live in areas where there is a lot of sunlight like the Caribbean, Asia, or Latin America are at a higher risk of experiencing melasma.
There are 3 types of melasma that can affect a person and these include:
- Epidermal, which develops around the upper layers of the skin.
- Dermal, which develops inside the deeper layers of the skin.
- Mixed type, which is a combination of epidermal and dermal.
Epidermal is the easiest form of melasma to treat compared to the other two.
What is Melanin
Melanin is the pigment that determines the skin color you have. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melani. These cells contain an enzyme known as tyrosinase and certain factors such as sun exposure can cause this enzyme to trigger the overproduction of melanin. This is why people in areas where there is a lot of sunlight are more likely to develop melasma.
The most common type of melanin is eumelanin and there’s a high amount of it in people who have dark skin color, as it provides brown and black pigment to the skin, hair, as well as the eyes. The other 2 forms of melanin are pheomelanin and neuromelanin.
Cause of Melasma
There are other factors besides sun exposure that can trigger the melanin producing cell melanocytes and they include:
Genes – Genetics definitely play a huge role in how much melanin is produced in your skin. If someone in your family has melasma you are more likely to get it too.
Conditions – There are certain health conditions that can affect the amount of melanin that’s produced. One of these conditions is thyroid disease which causes the affected person to produce more melanin.
Medications – Certain prescription medications can cause melasma by making your skin more vulnerable to pigmentation once it’s exposed to the UV rays of the sun.
There are several medications that can lead to a drug-induced hyperpigmentation and a few of them are oral contraceptives, antibiotics, anti-yeast medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Even acne prescription medications can cause melasma because they increase photosensitivity, which means they don’t interact well with the sun.
Melasma and Hormonal Imbalance
One of the best treatments for melasma on face is to treat the hyperpigmentation (dark patches) from the inside out. This means treating melasma internally by balancing out your hormones.
Hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of melasma. This is why women are much more likely to get melasma compared to men. Our hormones will dramatically change for a number of reasons especially during and after pregnancy.
The melanocytes cells that produces the dark facial pigmentation are triggered whenever there’s abnormal hormone levels. However, once you correct the underlying hormonal imbalance the melasma should fade away.
The main 2 hormones you need to be aware of are progesterone and estrogen. If the healthy ratio between these 2 hormones are messed with it will cause a hormonal imbalance.
Besides pregnancy other factors that can cause hormonal imbalance and lead to melasma developing include:
Stress – The more stressed out you are the more progesterone your body will deplete and the higher your estrogen levels will be. This leads to estrogen dominance which stimulates the Melanocyte Stimulating Hormones or MSH which produces the skin darkening pigment melanin (melasma). You can check out this study here which shows the greater effect estrogen has on MSH compared to progesterone.
Thyroid Disorder – People who have a thyroid disorder such as hyperthyroidism or hyperthyroid are much more likely to experience skin related issues such as melasma compared to those who don’t. Numerous studies confirm the link between thyroid disorders and the development of melasma.
Adrenal Gland Fatigue – Your adrenal glands can be found on top of each of your kidneys and their main purpose is to help your body deal with various forms of stress. Adrenal fatigue can cause melasma because it depletes progesterone hormones and elevates estrogen levels. Higher levels of estrogen will increase the melanocyte stimulating hormones (MSH) which will cause melasma.
Lyme Disease – This tick born disease can cause hormonal imbalance by depleting essential minerals and vitamins. If left untreated it can also lead to adrenal fatigue and thyriod problems which will disrupt your hormones and cause mela.
Poor Liver Health – Some people notice their melasma begins to disappear once they start making their liver stronger. This is because the liver is an important organ that helps metabolize and remove excessive amounts of hormones from the body. Improve your liver function and your melasma should improve as well.
Poor Gut Health – Your gut health and your hormones have a lot in common. Your digestive system contains a group of gut bacteria known as estrobolome, which produces an enzyme that helps your body metabolize estrogen. When your gut health is in good shape it helps your body maintain a healthy hormonal balance by regulating and removing hormones. When it’s not in good shape it can lead to hormonal imbalance which causes melasma.
High Copper Levels – High copper levels can cause deficiencies in vitamin C, zinc, iron, B-vitamins, and manganese which leads to estrogen dominance. High levels of estrogen will trigger the skin darkening pigment (melanin) and cause or worsen your melasma.
Best Treatment for Melasma on Face
As you can see, learning how to treat melasma internally is the real key if you’re like most women who suffer from this hyper-pigmentation disorder due to hormonal issues.
Once you focus on curing melasma from the inside you will begin to achieve the external skin lightening results you’re looking for on your face.
The best way to do this is to focus on your daily diet.
Eating the right foods can help you improve stress, treat andrenal fatigue, treat lyme disease, improve liver health, improve gut health, and improve copper levels – all of which will re-balance your hormone levels and correct your melasma.
Curing Melasma From The Inside
Foods that Improve Gut Health
In order to cure melasma from the inside one of the best places to start is to improve your gut health. Many people that have issues with their skin usually have a really dysfunctional gut.
One of the best ways to improve your gut health is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Once your gut health improves your body will be able to regulate and remove hormones more efficiently, which will help lighten your melasma.
Some of the best natural anti-inflammatory foods you should start eating more of to fade away melasma include:
- Nuts – Raw nuts such as walnuts contain many anti-inflammatory ingredients such as mono-unsaturated fats, poly-unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E that are essential for a healthy gut and will ultimately help improve your melasma.
- Ginger – Ginger contains a bunch of anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve gut function and improve your skin.
- Eggs – The main anti-inflammatory ingredient in eggs are omega-3 fatty acids. To get the most anti-inflammatory benefit go for organic eggs.
- Wild Salmon – One of the best anti-inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation and clear your skin is wild salmon because it is a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids. Along with omega-3 fatty acids wild salmon also contains astaxanthin (gives salmon its pink reddish color) which is a cartenoid anti-oxidant that has super anti-inflammatory properties.
- Tumeric – Thanks to the antioxidant properties tumeric contains it is a great anti-inflammatory food.
Foods that Improve Liver Health
When you’re trying to treat melasma internally you definitely need to focus on your liver health. Eating liver supporting foods will help re-balance your hormonal levels by metabolizing and removing excessive amounts of hormones.
Some of the best foods to improve liver function include:
- Water – Drinking water regularly will help make the digestion process easier. The less difficult you make digestion, the better your liver can do its job of metabolizing hormones.
- Cabbage – Eating cabbage will activate a couple enzymes that are necessary for flushing toxins out from the liver. Other green vegetables like broccoli also helps stimulate the liver cleansing enzymes.
- Avocados – If you love eating avocados then adding them to your diet is a no brainer. They contain a compound known as glutathione which helps your liver remove toxins efficiently.
- Green Tea – Drinking green tea regularly will help improve your liver function thanks to an antioxidant it contains called catechins.
- Garlic – Raw garlic is rich with two compounds known as allicin and selenium, which aid in cleansing the liver. Eating garlic also helps activate liver cleansing enzymes that gets rid of toxins.
- Tomatoes – Just like avocados, tomatoes are also rich with glutathione which helps detoxify the liver.
- Spinach – Glutathione can also be found in spinach. This liver cleansing enzyme is rich in most green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens and arugula.
- Lemons – The rich amount of vitamin C in lemons will help improve liver function. Other citrus fruits like limes are also great food items that removes toxins from the liver.
- Walnuts – Eating walnuts helps support a healthy liver function thanks to the omega0-3 fatty acids and glutathione it contains. Walnuts are also a good source of an amino acid called arginine that is great for detoxifying the liver.
Foods that Reduce Stress
Reducing stress plays a key role in keeping your hormones in a healthy balance. Some of the best foods to reduce stress and prevent estrogen dominance which will stimulate the melasma producing enzyme include:
- Spinach – Spinach and other green leafy vegetables like arugula help keep your calm and stress free because they contain a high amount of folate which produces a pleasure inducing brain chemical called dopamine. There are even studies that prove people who consume more folate are less likely to become depressed.
- Turkey – Eating more turkey is a good idea if you want to reduce stress and re-balance your hormones because it contains a chemical called serotonin which increases your feelings of happiness. Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan which helps produce a calming effect. Numerous studies prove that tryptophan and serotonin can help improve your mood and reduce stress. Try adding other foods high in tryptophan in your diet such as nuts, beans, eggs, and oats.
- Berries – The vitamin C in berries are great for reducing stress because it lowers levels of cortisol.
- Chamomile Tea – This tea is a great way to soothe and calm your body. Drinking chamomile tea will not only help reduce stress but also improve anxiety symptoms as well. Drink some whenever you feel a stressfest coming on and you need to relax your mind and body. You can take chamomile supplements as an alternative.
- Oysters – Zinc plays a big part in how your body and brain responds to stress. So if your body is deficient in zinc you’ll have a hard time dealing with stressful situations. Oysters are great source of zinc. All you need is 6 decent sized oysters to get over a half of the recommended daily requirement for zinc.
Foods that Improve Thyroid Function
If your thyroid hormones are low it can lead to melasma and other skin problems easily. Thankfully there are certain foods you can eat to improve the effectiveness of your thyroid gland.
Keep in mind just eating the right foods may not completely correct the problem but it will definitely help along with the thyroid medication your doctor prescribes you. Some of the best foods to eat that can help improve your thyroid function include:
- Fish – Fish like salmon and trout are excellent for your thryoid gland because they contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids help by reducing the amount of inflammation you have in your thyroid.
- Nuts – It is well known that selenium is essential for supporting thyroid health. This mineral is most concentrated in the thyroid and it also helps with reducing inflammation. Nuts are a great source of selenium, especially hazelnuts.
- Seaweed – Seaweed is great for thyroid regulation because it is high in iodine, which helps with the production of thyroid hormone. Be sure to talk with your doctor first before you try to increase your thyroid intake because too much can actually make your thyroid disorder worse.
- Dairy – The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a disease called Hashimoto. it’s believed that a lack of vitamin D can cause Hashimoto’s disease. Drinking milk can help add vitamin D as well as iodine.
Foods that Help Adrenal Fatigue
Your adrenal glands play a big role in how you respond to stress. Moreover, they are responsible for keeping all of your hormones such as estrogen and progesterone in a healthy balance.
When your adrenal glands stop producing hormones effectively it can affect every part of your body including your skin.
Some of the best foods to help revive your adrenal gland include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sea Salt
- Fatty fish like Wild Salmon
- Nuts like Walnuts
Along with the foods mentioned above you can also start taking supplements that will help you recover from AGF and improve your melasma.
Some of the best adrenal gland supplements include:
- B Vitamins – B vitamins are essential for the recovery of your adrenal glands. Especially vitamin B6 which helps your body produce adrenal hormones.
- Vitamin C – Another important vitamin for the recovery of your adrenals is vitamin C because it helps with the production of cortisol inside the adrenal glands.
- Probiotics – Probiotics have various health benefits and the way it helps your adrenal glands recover is by improving your digestion. By improving your digestion probiotics helps your body get more of the essential minerals and vitamins it needs to produce hormones effectively.
- Licorice Root – This herbal supplement helps adrenal gland sufferers by making cortisol circulate for longer and stimulating the production of hormones.
- Maca Root – Another herbal supplement that has been proven to help rebalance hormones naturally, which makes it effective at healing melasma. It helps your melasma rebalance hormones by regulating cortisol and allowing for better uptake of hormones into your cells.
Foods that Help Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can cause melasma by deleting essential minerals and vitamins that affect your hormones. So it makes sense that eating nutritional foods will help correct the problem.
Some of the best nutritional foods to eat for lyme disease and improve hormone regulation include:
- Leafy Greens – Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale can help your body fight this disease naturally. Eat an organic green salad daily to give your body the nutrition it needs.
- Wild Salmon – Eating wild caught Alaskan salmon can give you the omega-3 fatty acids you need to decrease inflammation and help your body recover from lyme disease.
Along with nutritious foods you should also do your best to avoid certain foods that can make the lyme disease worse. Some of these foods include:
- Refined Sugars
- Gluten Products
- Dairy Products
Foods that Reduce Copper Levels
High copper levels (copper toxicity) can deplete other vitamins and nutrients that cause hormonal imbalance and ultimately melasma.
Too much copper can also cause hashimotos in the thyroid (hypothyroidism), which will also cause melasma. So it makes sense to balance your copper levels and some of the best foods to add to your diet to do so include:
- Foods High in Zinc – Foods high in zinc are essential to reduce high copper levels. One of the best foods to get zinc is red meat.
- Copper Antagonists – Increase your intake of foods that are considered copper antagonists such as sulfur, vitamin C, vitamin E, Manganese, and Selenium.
Other Tips for Balancing Your Hormones
- Eat Healthy Fats – Consuming a healthy amount of good fats such as cod liver oil can help re-balance your hormones and treat your melasma internally. Healthy fats helps because they are your body needs them to produce hormones. Try to add more healthy fats in your daily diet such as avocados, coconut oi, and butter.
- Eat Organic Foods – Eating organic foods is a good way to make sure you aren’t eating foods loaded with hormones. Think organic when you go grocery shopping your skin will thank you for it.
- Get Rid of Coffee – Most of us like our morning coffee, but if you want to get rid of melasma you have to seriously consider getting rid of coffee. The caffeine in coffee elevates your cortisol levels and makes your hormones go crazy. To help balance your hormones you should also reduce alcohol consumption as it can make your body have a hard time regulating hormones.
- Exercise – Exercising regularly can help your hormones balance out by decreasing stress levels, reducing inflammation, and helping you sleep better.
If you have melasma maybe it’s time to start considering what’s going on internally first. Once you start fixing what’s going on inside you should begin to see your melasma fading as a result.
The best place to start is watching what you eat on a daily basis. Changing up your daily diet is a great way to cure melasma naturally from the inside out.