5 Natural Remedies for Melasma Supported by Scientific Research

Mask of pregnancy refers to a skin condition that’s triggered by hormonal changes and develops around your forehead, lips, nose and cheekbones. It’s actually common for pregnant women to develop dark, blotchy spots on their face — a condition known as chloasma or melasma. Changing hormone levels stimulate an excess production of melanin, which leads to hyperpigmentation [R].

If glutathione, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 or niacinamide, kojic acid, and alpha arbutin did not give you significant results, you may want to consider these natural remedies for your melasma treatment.

1. Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol is a patented extract of the French maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster). It is standardized to contain 65-75% procyanidins, a class of polyphenols and flavonoids like those found in blueberries, wine, grape skin, citrus, and cocoa. Procyanidins are strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory natural substances. The remaining compounds are phenolic acids, also potent antioxidants [R] [R].

In a 2002 study, Pycnogenol was shown to be therapeutically effective and safe in patients suffering from melasma [R].

Pycnogenol may stimulate the immune system. So it may not be safe for people with immune disorders, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis [R].

2. Lutein

What’s lutein? It’s a type of carotenoid antioxidant that helps to fight free radical damage that’s caused by blue light or sun exposure. Many people know of it as “the eye vitamin,” but it can help with improving chloasma symptoms too [R].

According to a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, carotenoids like lutein can be used to lighten and improve skin conditions. When 50 healthy participants with mild-to-moderate dry skin were given either a daily supplement containing 10 milligrams of lutein or a placebo daily for 12 weeks, those taking lutein showed significant improvements. Researchers indicated that the lutein supplement improved overall skin tone and has skin-lightening effects [R].

3. Schisandra

Schisandra, also referred to as Schizandra or Schisandra Chinensis, comes from a vine native to China and parts of Russia. Its berry is used as a form of traditional Chinese medicine. The Schisandra fruit is also known as the Five Flavor Berry because its taste captures the five major favors – sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy [R].

Gomisin N, one of the lignan compounds found in Schisandra chinensis has been shown to possess anti-oxidative, anti-tumorigenic, and anti-inflammatory activities in various studies. In February 2017, the US National Library of Medicine published a study that shows Gomisin N has anti-melenogenic efficacy, which means it can be used to treat melasma and hyperpigmentation [R].

4. Suma Root

Suma is a plant with deep roots that pull nutrients from the soil. For this reason, suma’s roots are the richest source of its bioactive compounds. Suma is often referred to as “Brazilian ginseng.” Suma’s medical properties were originally discovered by indigenous cultures throughout South and Central America [R] [R] [R].

In a 2010 study, suma root inhibits melanin production in human skin cells, without causing toxic or disruptive side effects [R].

5. Lemon Essential Oil

Compounds found in lemon essential oil possess strong antioxidant properties and are capable of inhibiting free radical damage that changes the appearance of your skin. It’s often used in anti-aging management and may help to nourish and lighten your skin [R].

To use lemon essential oil to help improve signs of chloasma, simply place a small amount of your gentle skin cleanser in your hand, add 2–3 drops of lemon oil, combine the two and apply it to problematic areas. You can also combine 2–3 drops of lemon oil with a half teaspoon of coconut oil and apply it directly to your skin. But remember, lemon essential oil can increase your sensitivity to the sun, so completely avoid direct sunlight exposure within 12 hours of using it.

We strongly advise you to have regular check-ups with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least once every six months if you decide to take any oral herbal medicine or supplements mentioned in the list for long-term.

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