How To Prevent Melasma

Categories: Skin care, The Pill
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melasmaMelasma, also known as pregnancy mask, or hyperpigmentation, is an extremely common issue for women. An increased level of the hormone estrogen, either caused by pregnancy, a change in hormone levels, or birth control pills, can cause dark patches on the face. Melasma and sun spots are sometimes hard to tell apart, but Melasma generally appears as patches around the mouth, on the apples of the cheeks, on the forehead and around the jawline. Sun spots, or sun damage are generally spots of darker pigment, or large freckles. I personally have a hard time telling the two apart visually.

How to prevent Melasma
If your estrogen rises, due to pregnancy or taking the pill, there’s a good chance you could develop Melasma. The single best way to prevent it is by staying out of the sun (and tanning booths) completely. The second best way is to wear a good sunscreen at all times – even if you leave the house for only 5 minutes to run an errand. Zinc Oxide based sunscreens are the absolute best for protecting your skin from the sun, and I write in depth about Zinc Oxide sunscreens here. I would recommend a sunscreen with at least 10% Zinc Oxide, and at least SPF 30 at all times! Make sure to reapply if you are outdoors for more than a few hours, and reapply after swimming or sweating. Unfortunately, Melasma can happen quickly, and just one day of sun exposure without a good sunscreen can cause it. Once you get Melasma, it’s difficult to get rid of, at least quickly, so protection is by far your most important measure.

How to get rid of Melasma
If you are pregnant, you don’t want to be doing professional skin care treatments, or using most prescription skin products, nor do you want to use a product with Hydroquinone as an active ingredient. Luckily Zinc Oxide is safe to use while pregnant. DermaDoctor has an informative article that talks about Melasma in detail. There are several topical options to treat Melasma, and they are supposed to be applied just to the dark patches, not to your whole face. That way you are just lightening the dark areas, rather than lightening your whole face. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to apply a cream just to small areas of your skin, at least from my own experience.

Hydroquinone, a skin lightener, is the most common used ingredient for Melasma, and sun spots. It has elicited some controversy, because a lot of people claim it can be hazardous. Ironically, it can make you more sun-sensitive, so if you are not staying out of the sun, you can make your Melasma worse! I am not sure what to believe about the safety of Hydroquinone, but a lot of reputable skin care companies still use the ingredient. Glycolic Acid, and Tretinoin, or Retinol are also used by themselves, or in combination, to treat Melasma. Kojic acid, Azelaic acid, Licorice extractSalicylic acid and Vitamin C are also ingredients that can possibly lighten your dark patches.

My experience with Melasma
I’ve had Melasma just around my mouth area, which I got from being on the pill (to treat acne). Oh the irony! I have also had sun spots or freckles, which are from sun damage, not from hormonal fluctuations. I’ve tried gels with Hydroquinone and Salicylic acid, and didn’t see any results. I had small tiny patches of Melasma, so it’s hard to just put the gel on that tiny area. When I went off the pill, my Melasma went away. When I went back on it, I was using a good Zinc Oxide sunscreen and avoiding the sun, so I didn’t have much Melasma surface this time around.

Photo Facials for Melasma?
Photo Facials, or lasers used to lighten dark spots work well on sun damage. However, at the Medical Spa I worked at, the Estheticians said they saw poor results when treating Melasma. So I would consult a Dermatologist to see if lasers would or wouldn’t be an option for Melasma. In the mean time, it’s not easy to treat Melasma quickly, so stay out of the sun!!!

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47 Responses to “How To Prevent Melasma”

  1. Julie Says:

    Wow! I did not know that melasma can result from taking the pill. (actually i didn’t know that it can result from pregnancy either -.-). And I’m actually planning on going on birth control real soon too! thank you so much for the heads up!!!!!!

  2. Stacy K Says:

    I got melasma when I was pregnant on my forehead. You dont really know when you’re getting it until later. Or maybe that was just me but all of a sudden one day I noticed it!

  3. Allie Says:

    Hi.. thank you so much for the info. How long after you went off the pill did you notice the melasma go away. Did it completely go away? Thank you again!

  4. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I didn’t have really bad melasma, but I had tiny little patches around my mouth mostly. I would say it probably took a month or two before they went away when I stopped the pill. I stopped noticing the spots, so I think they were gone. But my melasma wasn’t that bad to start with, so it might not go away completely if you go off the pill, but it should improve a lot. And wearing sunscreen definitely helps, since the sun is what makes melasma a lot worse.

  5. Kim Says:

    I had 2 dark patches appear (1 on each cheek) after a miscarriage around 1 1/2 yrs ago. I have 3 children, and I am currrently pregnant with our 4th. For years in my teens/20’s I was taking oral contraceptives and I never wore sunscreen because I never burn and love a tan. I have not taken the pill for around 3 years. Recently, a new dark spot appeared on my nose and they seem to appear overnight. I have always had even-toned, clear skin and a nice, tan complexion. I noticed last year that anytime I got sun, the spots got darker and worse. I went the the derm dr. and from now on I wear sunscreen (45spf w/zinc, for uva, uvb rays) 365 days per year. I even keep a travel tube in my purse. I am anxious to get another consultation after this pregnancy regarding laser treatment. I can tell you that these spots did not fade at all in the year between pregnancies and I was advised that they most likely will not. In all of pregnancies, I have always developed a dark area on my upper lip that always fades w/in months after birth. Not these ones though. I fear they will keep forming. I cannot use any treatment creams during pregnancy, just sunscreen. My sister did get me this stuff from the Elizabeth Arden collection that worked last year. The spots actually lifted/peeled right off my face, it was very encouraging. But they came back after I had to stop using it. My advice to all is sunscreen that face, I never thought that I would encounter this problem. NO one else in my family has pigment issues, and I always had an envious complexion. I never wore make-up until this happened, and I am in my 30’s. If anyone has any home remedies, let me know. I have already tried vinegar, lime juice, even vicks vapor rub, None of it works. Also any advice about laser treatments, any personal experiences would be very helpful… thanks.

  6. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    Have you tried products with hydroquinone in the past to lighten your dark spots? I wrote about it here: . After you have your baby, you could also ask your doctor about getting a prescription hydroquinone product (which is 4%, rather than 2%). What sunscreen do you use? I’m just curious about the percentage of zinc oxide it has.

    Once it’s okay to try the hydroquinone, I would use it daily for 2 months, and also make sure you use a really good sunscreen, plus avoid the sun as much as possible. If none of that works, you could consult about getting laser treatments. The only thing is that lasers don’t always work on melasma, but it’s definitely worth trying photo facials if you can afford it, or if the treatment comes with a guarantee.

  7. Viviana Says:

    I have struggled with melasma for 5 years. I think it came on due to birth control, but it never left. I am an avid outdoors girl, so here is what works for me.

    First, I apply a vitamin c serum in the am after I cleanse. Then I apply sunscreen. I have many, but really like Bioderma Photoderm sunscreen. Lastly I brush Colorsciense mineral powder sunscreen ( not the regular powder) to take away the shine and add a layer of protection.

    In the evenings I alternate night with a retin-a prescription and mama lotion. The mama lotion can also be substituted with a good alpah hydroxy serum. I follow with a light moisturizer that does not contain any exfolliators since both the retin-a and the mama serve as one.

    I reapply sunscreen at lunch time and in the car I swipe the Colorscience powder sunscreen. The only thing I add after a beach vacation or a full day in the sun is a hydroquinone cream to the affected areas in the evenings instead of the other creams for about two weeks until they have gone away.
    If this seems like a chore, it is. However melasma is an ongoing condition for me and I hate to use foundation.

    Good luck!

  8. Natalie Says:

    I just noticed melasma this summer—-about 1 month before my wedding! Luckily, I stayed out of the sun, instantly started using triluma, and had a great makeup artist so it wasn’t noticable at my wedding. However; it has never really went away. I stopped taking birth control pills about 3 months ago, but it hasn’t made a difference. I am curious what Elizabeth Arden product works to “peel” the spots off. I would love to try this product! The triluma kind of just turns the spot red; I haven’t noticed much fading.
    Thank you to everyone who has commented about melasma! It is a condition that I didn’t even know existed until a few months ago and it really helps to know that there are other women fighting this condition and products that can help.

  9. angie sison Says:

    im also suffering from melasma , how can i rid of those problem im very much insecure about it… can yolu giv emore advice about this…. thnx iv’e tried every product
    but still melasma still here in my face… im depress already about it … help me please how about diane pills is it helpful?

  10. jeanette shay Says:

    I too suffer from melasma and am debating going off the pill to see if it helps clear up the pigmentation spots. I have spotting mostly on my forehead, but also on my upper lip and upper cheeks. I’ve tried creams from a skin doctor which helped to disguise the problem. I’ve been so careful to stay away from the sun, but what I don’t understand is if I can tan my body? I put sunscreen on my face everyday (the doctor told me spf 30 or higher and to make sure it’s Oil Free) but can I gradually tan the rest of myself? I’ve also been looking into spray tans to get some color on my face and body. I used to be a little depressed and insecure about this skin disease, but now I’m just determined to get rid of it or atleast hide it better!

  11. yasuda Says:

    wow… I got lots of information.Your article is very informative….Thankyou so much.

  12. meg Says:

    Following cancer treatments, I went into a premature menopause. Brown spots began appearing on my face. Then I had to go on HRT and the brown spots are getting worse…Right now I’m using Retin A faithfully every night, but it doesn’t seem to be doing a thing. I want my nice, milky white complexion back again, please!

  13. Amanda Says:

    I developed melasma while I was pregnant and almost a year later it has not gone away. I have learned, from a little internet investigating , that being on birth control pills could be why it is not going away. I went on the pill right after my baby was born. Should I just stop taking the pill? I have not tried any creams because I thought it would just go away on its own. I have not been careful about the sun on my face either. Could I have made my melasma permanant from more sun exposure? I am so self conscious about my face now…I can’t do this anymore!

  14. Tammy Says:

    I have 2 kids. When I was pregnant with my son I developed a spot or two of melasma on my cheek just under my eye. After I had him I went on the pill. It took 3 years for the spots to fade. When I was pregnant with my daughter I got melasma real bad all over my face. It was horrible. I had my daughter over 10 years ago on July 6, 1999 then went directly on the pill. I have been on the pill ever since having her. My melasma has faded some but I still have some trouble spots and they are not going anywhere I am afraid. :(

  15. Evi Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve had issues with hyper-pigmentation since I got on the pill. I am 5 years on the pill and two years ago I developed dark patches on my upper lip, on the right/ left side of my eyes and on my nose. After 2 years I decided to visit a dermatologist and she recommended “pigmanorm”, which comprises hydroquinone and tretinoin. Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent and tretinoin helps skins rejuvenation. I used it for 3 months and it did wonders on my skin. My eye area is very sensitive, so I didn’t really treat it, but my nose and upper lip is in much better condition. Living in London helped as well! I suggest a treatment with hydroquinone in combination with continuous sunscreen usage can be the answer for many of you. Make sure you do the treatment in the winter, when the sun is not so “mean”!
    After extensive research, I decided not to do any laser treatment, because apart from being expensive it doesn’t really ‘t help melasma, it actually makes it worse. So, please think twice before throwing your money away.
    However, I think that controlling your hormone imbalance is the best way to deal with it. Instead of treating the symptoms, you need to treat the cause. But, since the pill has saved me from severe pain and other discomforts, I decided to go on with pigmanorm!

  16. Michelle Says:

    Hey everyone, I developed melasma last year I believe was when I started noticing that when I was in the sun I developed dark spots on my upper lip and that was about all where I had it. I tried many creams and nothing seemed to work, but more less irritated my skin. I hated the way my face looked and I knew that it was a result of the pill, so I finally decided to go off the pill for many reasons, but one mainly was because of this! It’s been one month since i’ve been off the pill and I was out in the sun for a little bit with sunscreen and the melasma wasn’t as bad as it was last summer, but I hope it goes away completely since I’m off the pill. I couldn’t be more happier that I’m off the pill (which is not good for anyone with those hormones). We shall see how this upcoming summer goes now that I’m off the pill.

  17. rahima Says:

    Hi all,

    I have malasma too, I never used any pill nor was pregnant when i got it, I was actually in high sch. i hate it and i still do i feel like iam different from everyone specially my sisters. I think mind is sun expo since iam from africa, sometimes I wish i was dark skin person, iam very light skin person and the malasma is getting worser. my dramatologist recommended me to use traluma it didn’t work that much, they try laser treatment on little part of my chick bone and it got darker. Iam pregnant now still getting worser. iam the point i don’t want to go outside..

  18. Trish Says:

    I have had Malasma for 9 years now. It suddenly showed up after the birth of my daughter. Its on my forehead, cheeks and around my mouth, I had seen a Dermatologist because it had gotten pretty bad and was given the Compund Hydroquinone. It helped somewhat around my cheeks but thats not what bothers me its my forehead and around my mouth. A year later I tried the compund again same as the first and got a Chemical Burn….seems your hormones change every year and I was now illergic to it. I finally went to ask about Lazer Treatment not only is it really expensive the chances of it coming back are worse… So I have tried Bio-Oil, Facial Masks, Lemon Juice everything you can purchase off a counter I have tried. In the winter it fades but in the spring and summer its horrible. Im all out of options here. All I know is (from the Lazer Treament Lady) its from within, so you have to remove the bacteria from the inside of your body by using an Antioxident…Folic Acid is supposed to help as well hence the reason Pregnancy is involved…Levels of folic acid (the sun treatment) are too low …but any other suggestions would be wonderful, heck ive tried almost everything anyway.

  19. Christina Says:


    I am in my late 30’s and developed hyperpigmentation (Malasma) when I went OFF the pill so it seems for everyone it’s different. My first course of action was to seek the advice of many doctors, most of which offered pricey quick fixes and one even offered a 7 hour face mask for about $1,000.00.

    I was fortunate enough to have a facility close to my home that provided laser treatments fairly inexpesive (they actually do facials, peels, etc and offered to laser my spots even though they weren’t a licensed dermatologist) which left me looking like I had the chicken pox but seemed to work when it healed, until…I went out in the sun. The treated area was fine but NEW areas formed. I am not a sun-worshiper but I do watch my daughter play sports and enjoy walking the dog which still exposes me to the sun.

    After doing some research, I ended up purchasing a skin bleaching cream called Meladerm Cream from I have been using this product for about 2 months and have seem some nice results (the best being that my skin tone is more even now). It does work to lighten the shade of the Malasma but I have to say that the minute I walk outside into the sun the spots seem to get brighter and when I come inside (after a few hours), they tone down again.

    Deciding I have no intention of living in a bubble…I have purchased 100 SPF sunscreen for my face and plan to go back for more laser treatments at the end of the summer but at this point, I am not sure there is any cure. I have been told by some that it will go away and others say there is no cure so the bottom line is…sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and if you can afford laser treatments, then try that. They are painless and you look red and blotchy but most heal quickly.

  20. CC Says:

    I also have been sufering from melasma for the past 6 years. I used Triluma a Hydroquinone cream that worked well and got rid of many but not all spots. Although I do use suncreen regularly the faded spots did come back. Last year I had a photofacial light treatment. I had a series of 4 sessions. The first session got rid of more than half of my freckles and sun spots. I did scab and flake and looked horrible for 7 days but i loved the results. Some pots have come back but most are gone. My skin looks more radiant and supple. I am going back for my first treatment this year tomorrow afternoon. Sunscreen, Sunscreen, and more Sunscreen seems to be the only method of prevention.

  21. MC Says:

    I’m 29 and have had Melasma for the past 3 years. It started after I switched my birth control pills. I had to switch my pill for other reasons; (so it was basically weigh out my options). The first year it started on my upper lip. I have a good complexion (until now) and tan easily so it made me look like I had a mustache. I was mortified. I switched birth control pills twice (they all had same effect of melasma). Went to my dermatologist tried several different topical treatments; I’m not patient enough to wait for results that don’t come for 6 mos. Over the past 2 years (only in the summer) it has gradually gotten worse. Last summer it was my cheeks and upper lip. This year it’s my upper lip, cheeks and forehead. I use sunscreen religiously; now (which before this I never used sunscreen). Winter time my face is fine; but it’s like one day of exposure in the sun and my face is covered. Basically…..use SUNSCREEN!!!

  22. Talia Says:

    Great article.

    I am late-30s, light-skinned Hispanic woman and was on the pill for most of my adult life. Melasma started to appear early 30s–along with acne, great! I have tried Obagi, Triluma and Hydroquinone (prescription strength). Triluma and going off the pill have worked best for me, but although the very noticeable spots have faded, my skin just is not as even and clean-looking as it used to be no matter what I do. Very depressing, especially because even with careful sunscreen-ing new spots appear in a heartbeat if I spend any time out in natural daylight.

    Good luck to all. If anyone has any miracle cures, I’d love to hear about them.

  23. MSM Girl Says:

    I am 31 and have suffered from Melasma on my cheekbones and forehead for the last few years, can’t remember when it started but I think I too got it from taking birth control. i’ve done quite a bit of research into it and for the last 9 months I have tried a high dose of MSM powder (or they do capsules) and Vitamin C combined with an SPF 30 daily (apparently even UV light from computer screens can make it worse!) and when I’m out in the sun I layer MACs SPF30 concealer on top of the sunscreen which is fantastic. It hasn’t gone away completely but it’s definitely lightened considerably and some patches have started to break up. I’ve now decided to come off the pill as I think this may be preventing it from disappearing further so I’ll let you know how it goes!!

  24. Angela G. Says:

    I am 41 yrs old. I was burned in 2003 by a Tanning Bed within 5 minutes of turning it on. The receptionist didn’t tell me they had new bulbs and she didn’t tell me to cover my face, which are what made me burn so quickly. It took exactly one year to the month before I developed Melasma/Cloasma on both of my cheeks. I’m a very light skinned black woman. Around Mariah Careys complexion. So imagine having large dark marks on your cheeks that makes you look like you have been hit in your face. I had great skin prior to this incident. I went to Esthetician school in 2005 to learn more about what was going on with my skin. Luckily I’m pretty good with make up that I can cover it well it enough that most people don’t notice it unless it’s during the summer months when it’s really hot. (The hotter your skin gets the more rapid the production of Melanin becomes).

    I’ve had numerous skin treatments from microdermabrasion, chemical peels of all levels, (Glycolic, TCA’s you name it) I’ve recently spent $9,000 for Laser Treatments at the Laser Dermatology Institute (LDI) with Dr. Rispler (Beverly Hills, Covina and Irvine, CA). I WARN YOU!!! He is a rip off. His treatments with the Q-Yag and Frac Lasers only made my Hyperpigmented marks worse. He’s cocky and he doesn’t listen to his patients and doesn’t spend hardly any time talking with his patients. I’ve had up and down success on my own. As all the other ladies have said you must protect with your Sun”BLOCK”, key word is BLOCK not Screen. Sunblock will protect you better.

    Along with your sunBlock you’ll need to use mild exfoliants (DO NOT SCRUB YOUR FACE OR USE HARSH SCRUBS) and lightners of 4% or higher (usually by presciption). I use Micro Retin-A (prescibed from a Dr.), I use Kojic Acid to help block the production of the Pigment along with Triluma (which the Triluma doesn’t seem to always work, you have to moniter your usage, when it appears its not working stop using it for a couple of days to a week and then start back up). Remember you want your skin to renew its self by peeling away the dead cells and use your lightner to fade the dark spots. Your skin will constantly change so you have to watch it carefully (daily) to see when it’s lighting or darkening. Adjust your products as needed. I have recently learned that if you include Zinc supplements in your daily routine it’s suppose to help with acne and the renewal of skin and also you need to try to lower your Copper intake. Check it out online as to how to lower your Copper intake. You can purchase Zinc Lozenges from the Vitamin stores or Vitamin area of your drug stores. I found some great tasting Zinc Lozenges at GNC they are orange flavor and run about $10-$11.00. I also have been drinking detox tea to cleanse my liver and my kidney to flush my system of bad toxins. You should try it too. I use the Yogi brand. Eliminate toxins from your system as often as you can. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies that are anitoxidents.

    I have dedicated so much of my time to trying to rid myself of this crap that it does cause low self esteem and depression. When you find what works for you, pass it forward until we all can find a cure or prevention. I swear I am dedicating myself to find a cure. I really hope this info helps anyone out there.

  25. amanda Says:

    hi everyone!
    i have melasma on my upper lip…it looks like a dirty mustache and it’s really making me crazy. i’m about to go on a (very expensive) 2 week vacation to hawaii and am so upset that this all seems to be getting worse and worse by the minute. i’ve been using a 45spf block with zinc oxide in it along with 100spf sunscreen…i put the extra protection on my upper lip and less on the rest of my face with the hopes that if my face looks a little tanner, the mustache will blend in a little bit. i’m beside myself that the only advice that anyone seems to have about the sun is to completely stay out of it….how do i stay out of the sun on a hawaiian vacation and still enjoy myself. my boyfriend is in afghanistan for 10 months and is meeting me for his 2 week r & r in hawaii before going back…i’m so embarassed that this is happening and don’t know what to do to:
    a. avoid making the mustache darker
    b. avoid making a big deal about it and bringing more attention to it
    c. still enjoy myself without being so stressed out….
    this really f’in sucks. do hats (baseball-type) reallly protect your mustache from the sun? i feel like, even with a hat on, the sun will still hit my mustache.
    i just got some tri-luma and only put it on once so far…2 nights ago…i have really sensitive skin and am worried that it’s gonna make my mustache even MORE sensitive to the sun…should i wait to continue with the tri-luma til after my vacation? i was also thinking about skiiping this month’s menstruation by starting a new pack of bc pills tonight (instead of day 1 of the 7 sugar pills)….could this make it worse?? any advice? i’m so upset, i dont even want to go on my vacation :(

  26. Erin Says:

    Yes, taking birth control continously can definitely make the melasma worse, as there is a direct relationship between hormones + sun to exacerbate melasma. Since I have discontinued birth control the melasma I have has lessened, but is still an issue. I agree that careful sunscreen use (and use of a high spf sunBLOCK like zinc oxide) has really helped to prevent the melasma from getting worse. I just had a sunny vacation myself and wore a wide brimmed hat when in direct sunlight and that helped a lot. I might consider looking into non-hormonal BC options as that can diminish the melasma, at least it did for me. Enjoy your vacation!

  27. Deidra Says:

    What is the best treatment to use while pregnant and/or nursing? Above my lip and below my nose is incredibly dark and embarassing.

  28. Yvette Says:

    Dear MSM girl
    I too have started mega doses of MSM. I’ve only been taking it since mid-May. I haven’t seen any results yet, but I’m hoping it’ll come. Hydroquinone has worked but the dark spots only return. I’m quite keen to try “fixing” the problem from the inside out. Do you have any advice and/or tips?

  29. Yvette Says:

    Dear Amanda

    My advice is slap on factor 50 BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen ie protects against UVA and UVB light (UVA is what causes pigmentation) and getting a large wide-brimmed sun hat, made of dark cotton, not straw. Large hats are very in, so you will look great. Also, GET OFF THE PILL ASAP. I just came off the pill and wish I came off earlier. Get the copper IUD, which is totally non-hormonal.

    Enjoy your holiday!

  30. Lisa Says:

    I have had melasma for about 5 years on my upper lip. I had microdermabrasion treatments via a plastic surgeon’s office 2 years ago. However, despite wearing sun block and a big hat, plus trying to avoid the sun as much as possible (almost near impossible in Bermuda where I live) my melasma came back!

    Upon recent research for a natural cure for melasma I found online that some people had been successful treating their melasma with 2 different supplement treatments methods. One treatment included MSM combined with a few other supplements (as someone else mentioned in a preivous entry on this website) and the other method involved Grapeseed Extract (GSE). Exactly 1 month ago I decided to try the GSE route because it didn’t involve taking other supplements at the same time. People who had used this method had said that they drank 15 drops of GSE in water 3 times a day. I can report that after about 2 weeks of this treatment I noticed that my melasma was starting to get a bit lighter (at first I wasn’t quite sure that it was lightening and so I would repeatedly look at it in the mirror). Now after 4 weeks I can definitely say that the darkness above my lip has lightened a fair bit (about 50% lighter I would guess). I plan on continuing taking GSE until my melasma is completely gone.

    I truly believe that my melasma is associated with taking birth control pills for over 20 years. I stopped taking my birth control pills about 4 months ago for a totally different reason but I since which think that it is all related. You see, for the last couple of years my blood work reports from my annual physical exams have shown that my liver enzymes have been slightly elevated which my doctor could not explain considering that I have never drank alcohol. Upon research for this particular issue I discovered that birth control pills could be the culprit so I stop taking them. Then when I researched a natural treatment for melasma and talked to someone at my local heatth food store, it seemed that the the liver could somehow be involved in causing melasma.
    I really do believe that melasma should be treated from the INSIDE OUT and that all external treatments are only temporary and any fading treatments only result in the melasma coming back darker.
    I sugest that people who are looking for a real cure for melasma do some research online to see what they can find out about the natural cure route.
    Good Luck!

  31. Sarah Says:


    Thank you for sharing this! I tried birth control for only 3 months (stopped because of killer mood swings) and developed melasma shortly after at the age of 26. I too wear sunscreen at all times and a hat, but the tiniest bit of sunshine, even with sunblock, darkens it again. For 3 years the melasma was only on my forehead, but it is beginning to develop on my cheeks! I’m beginning microderm and glycolic treatments, but would love to hear about the progress of your natural treatment!

  32. Jasmine M Says:

    I just started the oral concraceptive Loestrin 24 4 days ago and already I have a dark spot on my lip. Its kind of noticeable since I have a ligt skin tone. It kind f creeps me out because when I kiss my boyfriend all I can think about is if he is thinking about the spot on my lip or not.

  33. Chiara Says:

    Hi.. I am just going to start using the pill very soon
    I wanted to know how long after taking the pill you started getting
    melasma?? Is nuvarig better at preventing it than the regular pill?
    Thanks :)

  34. Yvette Says:

    If you are noticing melasma whilst on the pill, get off ASAP. Get the IUD, which is non-hormonal. Hormones play a HUGE part in Melasma.

    Chiara, not everyone on the pill gets Melasma, only th unlucky ones :-)

    If you do notice discoloration, stop taking and talk to you gynae about other options. I wish I came off the pill earlier!

  35. B. Says:

    Just found this post. I have had a little bit of melasma develop on my forehead over the past couple of years. I always assumed it was from the sun, but it has never gone away, despite avoiding the sun. I now know this is probably because of my Yasmin. I can’t go off BC though because I am using it to treat my acne. It’s like you get rid of one thing to have to deal with another.

    You wrote this post awhile ago so I’m curious, do you still battle the melasma or has it cleared up?

  36. melasma irvine Says:

    Melasma is usually hormonal changes, birth control pills are often considered a contributor to the condition. If you have recently changed the Melasma after pill, it is advisable to consult a doctor, and if there is a link. Changing the pill eliminates the problem, although this may take a while to completely clear.

  37. Yasmin Says:

    Hi Everyone

    I have just stopped taking, yes you guessed it YASMIN because my melasma was getting out of control, I have a massive patch in the middle of my forehead and upper lip, looks bloody awful, that was a week ago and my melasma has already started to break up :) I also feel 50% better in myself, ie not so emotional/depressed, I also work in the pharma industry and I have done a lot of research into YASMIN, and it HAS been proved that YASMIN does indeed cause melasma, I would advise anyone thats still taking it, to get off it ASAP, but don’t forget to use another method of birth control!!

    I will also keep you updated on my melasma (hopefully it will go completely)

  38. Christine Says:

    The posts are very helpful. That’s been my experience as well. Actually, with continuous use of the pill over years melasma gets worse. I think it is not just the hormones, it is hormone fluctuations, such as stopping the pill, or even the week without the pill after the 21 days. It is a shame because the pill is so good at taking care of acne and the obvious use of birth control. Staying away from the sun helps, of course, but does not prevent it. I read somewhere and found in my experience it is true, hormones make our skin ‘photosensitive’ so that we are more sensitive to different things, including chemicals, soaps, etc. so we have to be less harsh with our skin in general. Retinoin worsens my skin patches as well as salicylic acid found in acne prevention soaps etc. because they both thin the skin making it more sensitive to light. The patches turn red and then darker without any sun! Solution? may be finding out a pill that doesn’t do this (it seems that Yasmin is worse) finding the product that keeps it at bay, for me it is glycolic acid once in a while, and avoiding the sun (which is not a bad thing for anti aging anyway; sun block when sun cannot be avoided). Thank you for all of your helpful information. Amazing, even dermatologists are somewhat clueless, it’s not harmless, so who cares right?!

  39. Crystal Says:

    Thank you ladies for the posts! I had been on Yasmin for at least 4 years without any melasma. Then a couple months after I gave birth to my son, I developed horrendous melasma all over my forehead. Some spots on my nose, but that can be from too much sun in my teenage yrs & early 20’s. If only I could go back to 15-yr-old me & slap some sense and sunscreen on myself!!! I’m guessing the combination of pregnancy/postpartum hormones/sun/then back on Yasmin after I finished nursing is the cause. So what birth controls would you recommend? I think switching might be a good idea. Otherwise I am very tempted to just quit the pill because I feel so ugly!

  40. Laura Says:

    I have had melasma on my upper lip now for about a year, i am also looking at getting IPL hair removal in the same area….does anyone know if this IPL could possibly make the melasma worse?

  41. Jill Says:

    I developed Melasma on my cheeks 2 years ago after being on the pill for about 10 years. Intially I tried using a pigment-fading cream from the dermatologist (Hyrdoquin 4% & Tretinoin 0.1%) which although did help fade the brown spots, it left my skin red and peeling and looked worse than the Melasma! I was too embarassed to go to work with peeling skin so stopped using it. Over winter it faded then the next summer it came back, in more areas (forehead & lip, but cheeks were not as bad as the first time). All this time I used very high protection sunscreen and wore a hat, but I live in a very sunny climate and do a lot of sport so it is difficult to completely avoid the sun- I just put sunscreen on at least a few times a day. Anyway, I went back to the doctor and got a new cream, less strong, (no retinol) and so far it seems ok- no redness or peeling but it is too early to say whether it is fading the pigmentation (only been using it a few weeks). I was considering getting a laser treatment but have heard that IPL makes Melasma worse. Apparently there is another laser treatment called Fraxel- has anyone had good results with this? I also changed pills from the combined to the minipill to try to help solve the problem from the inside, but I don’t like the minipill at all and am now wondering what non-hormonal contraception to try… so many problems aaagh!

  42. kelly Says:

    3 years ago I started taking the pill after a couple of years break. As I still had the occasional spot I asked my doctor to start me on one that was good for skin. I started taking Yasmin and noticed darker patches appearing on my skin within weeks but did not link the two as I had recently turned 30 and thought that my skin was just getting more patchy with age. I was living in the uk, so sun exposure wasn’t huge. A month after starting Yasmin, I went on holiday and my skin was a mess. I have ended up with dark patches on my chin, lip, cheeks, nose and forehead. My doctor did not link this to Yasmin, and only after my own research did I find out the cause. I took Yasmin for only two months and three years later I am still battling with the mess it has made of my face. It is particularly difficult to attend job interviews etc with a dark shadow across my lip as I am currently doing. Stay away from Yasmin. They should be warning us of this side affect- or even better, take it off the market.

  43. Sam Says:

    I took Seasonale in 2005 for approx 1 year and stopped. To this day melasma appears on my lip after only 1 min of sun exposure. I am methodical about sunblock, hats, and scarves. Now I need to find a “safer” bc pill for my skin. Any suggestions ladies?? I cannot use the IUD, and know to STAY AWAY FROM YASMIN and SEASONALE. Any more pills to AVOID? My doc wants me to try Microgestin, I do not know if it is safe, or if any pills are safe…

  44. Cute Says:

    Hi everyone! I’m an african an black skinned. I have melasma on my nose, my jawline and it’s developin on my forehead now. It’s in between my cleavage. It’s really bad.i take vitamin C everyday, but plan to increase dose. I’m in mid 20’s, the dark skin colouration is really at it’s peak, i’m so ashamed of myself. I really need help. Some of the drug here, is not in my country. I’m just fed.

  45. Mari Says:

    Hi all. I have been fighting melasma for about 5 years now. My dermatologist prescribed hydroquinone and retin-A. It has lightened a little, but I don’t think it
    will ever go away. My melasma came about due to menopause, so any hormonal change can trigger it, not just the pill.

    I use a sunblock, try to stay out of the sun, but it just won’t budge.

  46. suzie Says:

    Hi everyone I recently developed melasma on my top lip and it looks like a moustache its so embarrassing and depressing. I have olive skin and love the sun but am going to have to completely avoid it now to try and sort my melasma out. I came off the pill in october and haven’t seen any significant results as yet. I’ve been using skinceuticles phyto+ correct gel for a few months and I think its starting to break it up a bit but we’ll see. I’m so embarrassed and paranoid about it I now wear a ton of make up and suncream everyday to try and prevent/cover it up. I’m too scared to use hydroquione or have laser/fraxel incase it makes it worse, surely there must be a cure for this!

  47. Emily Says:

    I am 37 and have been on the pill more or less continuously since I was 19. I never had any issues with hyperpigmentation even though I got a lot of sun exposure as a kid and teen. I had been on Desogen for most of the time, but then switched to Yasmin a few years ago. Around that same time, I started noticing hyperpigmented blotchy patches up around my hair line. I attributed the changes to aging and sun exposure even though as an adult I have been compulsive about wearing sun block and a hat. Three weeks ago, I stopped taking Yasmin (a little scary since the few times I have tried stopping it in the past I broke out like crazy). A week ago, I had an IPL photo facial. The nurse practitioner performing the treatment wasn’t totally sure whether my spots were melasma or just hyperpigmentation from cumulative sun exposure. I definitely looked freaky with little scabby spots all over my face for the past 7 days, but my complexion is much more even now that they have flaked away. I’m hoping getting off the Yasmin for good will help as well. Will probably get another photofacial within the next month. Time will tell whether these effects will be long-lasting. I can only hope….

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