I used to be on this forum years ago and recently revived my account because my melasma came back with a vengeance on a recent holiday overseas. I holidayed on the opposite side of the world to where I live and my body clock went haywire. I am also nearly 45 so my hormones are changing and my melasma has started to creep back. When I got back from my holiday 2 weeks ago my melasma went from mild- hardly noticeable to REALLY dark on the sides of my face. Around my mouth my melasma had returned and it was very dark. I put this down to the stress of holidaying in a different time zone, lack of sleep - and a retin A product I had been using over my holiday. In my case Retin A really worsens my condition and it is a shame because Doctors and beauticians keep on recommending it to me and trying to sell it to me.
The retin A product I used before I went on holiday I had no idea it was retin A because it had a different brand name and was an over the counter product (very expensive) that was marketed as a brightening gel. It was only when I got home I checked the bottle and saw it was actually Retin A. My fault as I did not check carefully enough before I put it on my face. I listened to the sales assistant who knows nothing about my skin.
Another thing that triggered my melasma is that I had gone from winter in my country to summer in the other (London) and the heat was incredible. We had a great time and I spent a lot of time in the sun. I wore a hat the whole time and La Roche-Posay 50+. The heat was too much for my melasma and regardless of these efforts, by the time I returned to my country, my cheeks were basically black with melasma.
I was so shocked. Here we go yet again I thought. Luckily I had a few tricks up my sleeve from my previous experiences. I actually used to contribute to this forum and others quite a lot - sharing my tips and routine.
What I do might not work for everyone but it combines a variety of things others have tried to varying levels of success. I am writing this now because when I woke this morning my face was almost melasma free and I am so happy. I know the curse of this condition and I would love to help other sufferers.
In the morning I used turmeric face masks – every day for a week. Mix one teaspoon of powdered turmeric with water or lemon juice. Put resulting paste on your face for 20-25 minutes. Rinse twice. This will leave a yellow stain but it goes away after a few washes. This is a very ancient traditional cure for melasma and it really works. It is very messy and stains your clothes so be careful. But believe me as strange as it sounds it works and costs very little money. Google turmeric masks and there are many clips on you tube about it. People have different recipes (use yoghurt, almond milk etc.) so find something you want to try. Water and turmeric worked for me.
At the same time take the daily recommended amounts of Zinc, Vitamin C, Folic acid, Cod liver oil and iron - once a day for all of these is fine. Don't overdose you do not need to take more than what is written on the bottle. Please don't ask me what brand because I really don't think it matters. Just whatever you can find.
I also have been taking 20 drops Nutribotic GRAPE FRUIT SEED EXTRACT twice a day, with 1000-3000 mgs of MSM each time. This is an old melasma cure. To be honest I have no idea why this stuff works but it works for me and it works really fast. Again, the MSM brand is not important. I do think powdered is better though. I only know one brand of grape fruit seed extract. It is revolting to the taste so many people empty the liquid into empty gel pill cases. I do that too.
Every night, I apply 1 gel filled 500mg capsule powdered niacinamide mixed into my normal face cream. I buy it as a supplement and empty the gel caps into a little bit of my face cream. This forms a thick paste which I rub into my skin and sleep with it on.
After two weeks my skin has gone from terrible to almost perfectly clear.
I ordered the full cosmelan mask of e - bay as a back-up two weeks ago just in case all these things didn't work. Cosmelan is very effective, but VERY expensive as a home mask. I probably won't need to do the full face peel now. If you do the full Cosmelan peel you need to take about a week out of work because your skin peels so much and your face goes super red.
I will use it anyway as I find that mixing cosmelan 1 with my normal face cream and using that once or twice a month results in a very light peel that is good for keeping your skin texture smooth and perfectly clear without the downtown of a full Cosmelan peel.
For those of you who do not want to buy Cosmelan in my view it is not needed because you can fix this yourself with the right routine. It is just a matter of finding what works for you.
If you have very deep dermal melasma it is very distressing and can take a long time to cure. I had deep dermal melasma in 2010 but I did cure it and have lived a very normal life since. I really believe others can cure their melasma too. You just need to find the right thing.
I know how awful Melasma is. I wish all of you the very best of luck with it.