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13 Common Mistakes When Treating Melasma

common mistakes when treating melasma

Most people don’t realize that many common mistakes can be made when trying to treat melasma. Making just one of these mistakes can lead to disappointing results – or, even worse, make the condition worse. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of the most common mistakes to avoid them and get the best treatment possible for your skin. Here are the common mistakes when treating melasma and how you can correct them.

What Is Melasma?

Have you ever noticed dark, splotchy patches on your skin that seem to appear out of nowhere? If so, you may be dealing with a condition known as melasma. Here’s what you need to know about this common skin condition. 

What Is Melasma?

First things first: melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation. This means that it’s characterized by an overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment that gives our skin its color. Melasma usually appears as patches of dark, discolored skin on the face. However, it can also show up on other areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the neck, chest, and hands. 

Melasma is relatively common—specifically, it affects around six million people in the United States alone. It’s also more likely to occur in women than men and usually begins to develop during a person’s childbearing years. In other words, if you’re pregnant or taking birth control pills, you may be more susceptible to developing melasma. 

What Causes Melasma? 

The main cause of melasma is sun exposure. This is because sunlight activates the cells that produce melanin, which can then cause the dark patches associated with melasma. Other potential triggers include: 

  • Hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills) 
  • certain cosmetics and skincare products 
  • certain medications (including those used to treat thyroid conditions and seizures) 
  • genetic factors 
  • certain health conditions (such as Addison’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome) 

Essentially, anything that disrupts your hormones or causes your body to produce more melanin can trigger melasma. 

How Is Melasma Treated? 

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating melasma. However, there are a few different options available that can help lighten the dark patches associated with this condition. These include prescription bleaching creams containing hydroquinone, tretinoin cream, azelaic acid gel, steroid injections, and chemical peels.

In some cases, laser therapy may also be effective. If you think you might be dealing with melasma, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist so they can help you figure out which treatment option is right for you. 

13 Common Mistakes When Treating Melasma

common mistakes when treating melasma

When it comes to treating melasma, there are a few important things that you should keep in mind. Here are 13 of the most common mistakes people make when trying to get rid of their melasma.

1. Not Understanding The Cause

Melasma is caused by an increase in melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) which produce more pigment than normal. Therefore, diagnosing accurately and understanding what might be causing it is essential before beginning a treatment plan.

2. Ignoring Sun Protection Measures

Sun exposure can worsen melasma, so avoiding direct sunlight and wearing protective clothing are essential to treat this skin condition. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 should also be worn regularly.

3. Using Over-The-Counter Products Without Consulting A Doctor

Over-the-counter lightening creams may contain hydroquinone or other potentially hazardous ingredients, so it is important to check with a doctor before using any products on the skin.

4. Not Controlling Hormones

As melasma is often related to hormonal changes, it is important to keep hormones balanced for effective treatment. Hormonal birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and other medications can help regulate hormone levels and reduce melasma symptoms.

5. Over-Exfoliating

Too much exfoliation can make melanin production worse, which could make melasma worse over time. It is recommended that people with this condition use gentle scrubs or peels that are formulated specifically for treating hyperpigmentation instead of harsh scrubs or chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid or retinoids.

6. Not Understanding Treatments Available

There are many treatments available for treating melasma, including laser therapy, chemical peels, and topical lightening creams. Before starting a treatment plan, it is important to understand the benefits and risks associated with each.

7. Ignoring Diet And Lifestyle Changes

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding triggers like stress can help reduce symptoms of melasma over time. Sticking to a regular skincare routine and removing makeup nightly can also help improve the condition.

8. Forgetting About Topical Treatments

Topical medications such as retinoids, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, and other lightening agents can be effective when combined with sun protection measures such as a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen.

9. Not Being Patient

Melasma is not something that can be treated overnight, so it is important to remain patient while undergoing treatment and listen to the advice of a doctor or dermatologist. Treatment times can vary depending on factors like skin type, cause of melasma, and severity of the condition.

10. Not Taking Advantage Of Facials

Facials can help reduce symptoms and promote healing when used as part of an overall treatment plan for melasma.  Facials can help promote collagen production, reduce hyperpigmentation, and even out skin tone.

11. Not Recognizing Signs Of Infection

Some treatments, such as laser therapy and chemical peels, can leave the skin vulnerable to infection, which could make melasma worse. Signs of an infection may present include redness, itching, pain, or discharge from the affected area. If any of these symptoms occur after using a topical cream or visiting a doctor for treatment, it is essential to seek medical attention.

12. Not Considering Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and herbal remedies may be beneficial in some cases when used in combination with a standard treatment plan for melasma. Speaking to a doctor or dermatologist before beginning any new treatment is essential, as some herbs can interact with certain medications or cause side effects.

13. Giving Up Too Soon

Melasma will not go away overnight, so it is important to remain patient and consistent with treatments until the desired effect is achieved. Improvement may take several weeks or months, but if treatments are stopped too soon, there may be no lasting results.

10 Lifestyle Changes To Treat Melasma


While there is no cure for melasma, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help lessen the appearance of the condition. 

1. Avoid Sun Exposure 

One of the main causes of melasma is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. So, it stands to reason that one of the best ways to treat the condition is to avoid sun exposure as much as possible. If you must be in the sun, be sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours—even on cloudy days. 

2. Get Regular Facials 

Getting regular facials can also help improve the appearance of melasma. Aestheticians can recommend the best facial treatments for your specific skin type and goals. For example, a chemical peel might be recommended if your goal is to lighten dark patches. Microdermabrasion might be a better option if you’re looking for something more gentle. 

3. Don’t Pick At Your Skin 

When you have melasma, it’s important not to pick at your skin or pull at your facial hair (eyebrows, mustaches, etc.). This can irritate the skin and cause further pigmentations. 

4. Use Gentle Skin Care Products 

Choose skin care products that are gentle and non-abrasive. Harsh scrubs and exfoliants can irritate the skin and make pigmentations worse. Look for products that contain natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, green tea, or licorice root extract—all of which have calming and soothing properties. 

5. Be Consistent With Your Skin Care Routine 

It’s also important to be consistent with your skincare routine when you have melasma. That means cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your face every day—even if you don’t wear makeup—and exfoliating once or twice a week. Following a consistent routine will help keep your skin looking its best. 

6. Avoid Certain Foods 

Certain foods can trigger or worsen melasma flare-ups. foods high in sugar should be avoided as they can cause inflammation and lead to breakouts.. spicy foods can also exacerbate melasma symptoms. So, it’s best to limit these foods as much as possible or avoid them altogether. 

7. Take Supplements 

Supplements like vitamin C, zinc, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation and improve skin tone. A daily multivitamin can also give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. 

8. Drink Plenty Of Water 

Drinking plenty of water is essential for healthy skin and overall health. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily to keep your body hydrated and functioning optimally. 

9. Manage Stress Levels 

High-stress levels can cause melasma flare-ups, so it’s important to manage stress levels as much as possible by engaging in activities that help relax the mind, such as meditation or yoga.  Talking to a psychologist or therapist can also help with the underlying emotional issues contributing to your melasma. 

10. Take Care Of Your Mental Health 

In addition to managing stress, it’s also important to take care of your mental health. It’s essential to make time for self-care and practice positive self-talk to keep your mood balanced and improve your overall well-being.  Taking care of yourself mentally is just as important as taking care of yourself physically when treating melasma.

10 Best Skincare Ingredients For Melasma

Here are some of the best skincare ingredients for Melasma!

1. Niacinamide

Niacinamide is an effective ingredient for treating melasma because it helps reduce inflammation and pigmentation. It’s also known to help improve skin elasticity, making it a great choice for aging skin.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help lighten dark spots caused by melasma. It also helps protect your skin from environmental damage, so topical products with vitamin C can help keep your skin youthful and healthy.

3. Retinol

Retinol is another key ingredient for treating melasma as it helps slough away dead skin cells, thus allowing newer cells to take their place and even out discolorations caused by the condition.

4. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Ahas)

AHAs are gentle exfoliants that can help shed dead skin cells and fade dark spots caused by melasma. AHAs come in different concentrations, so it’s important to choose the right one for your particular needs.

5. Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce redness, swelling, and discoloration caused by melasma. It also helps regulate melanin production, making it an ideal choice for lightening dark spots from the condition.

6. Kojic Acid

Kojic acid can help inhibit the formation of melanin and lighten dark spots caused by melasma. It’s also known to have anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, so it can help keep your skin looking healthy.

7. Licorice Extract

Licorice extract is a natural ingredient that helps reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by melasma. It’s rich in antioxidants, which help protect the skin from environmental damage, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

8. Arbutin

Arbutin can be used to lighten dark spots caused by melasma because it inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. It’s also known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal choice for improving overall skin health. 

9. Mulberry Extract

Mulberry extract is a natural ingredient that helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and discolorations caused by melasma. It’s rich in antioxidants, which help protect the skin from environmental damage, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

10. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an exfoliating agent that can help lighten dark spots caused by melasma. It can also help improve skin texture and tone by removing dead skin cells and stimulating cell renewal.


It is essential to consult a doctor before beginning any kind of melasma treatment to prevent mistakes that could make the condition worse over time. Everyone’s skin type and underlying cause of melasma are unique, so it is essential to get tailored advice from an experienced healthcare provider before starting a treatment plan. With patience and perseverance, you can treat Melasma.