A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Melasma

Women everywhere are realizing the importance of taking care of their skin, with so many struggling to find effective ways to get rid of the skin disorder melasma.


Scientists have discovered various effective compounds for treating melasma, a condition characterized by dark brown spots on the skin. These compounds address the underlying causes of melasma and offer potential solutions for those affected. In this article, we will explore these compounds in detail.

1Understanding Melasma

Melasma refers to the development of dark brown spots on the skin, typically observed on the cheeks, nose, and chin. These spots result from the increased pigmentation of melanocytes, specialized cells found in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanocytes determine the color of the skin by producing melanin, a pigment that protects the skin from harmful UV rays by absorbing and converting them into heat.

What is melasma?Melasma is caused by an increase in melanin pigment.

Prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight prompts the skin to produce excess melanin, leading to a darkening of the skin over time and the formation of melasma.

Treating melasma is a gradual and intricate process that calls for significant time and effort to restore the skin’s health. However, certain compounds have shown efficacy in treating melasma when used consistently.

2Effective Melasma Treatment Compounds

Hydroquinone (HQ):

Hydroquinone, a compound structurally resembling melanin precursors, acts by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase. By doing so, it prevents melanin production and affects the structure of melanocyte cells, ultimately leading to their death.

Hydroquinone (HQ)Hydroquinone (HQ)

Note that hydroquinone is susceptible to oxidation, which can compromise its quality and effectiveness. To achieve optimal results, a concentration of 2-5% is recommended for daily usage over a duration of 5-7 weeks. For complete improvement, it is advisable to continue this treatment regimen for at least 1 year.

Azelaic Acid:

Azelaic acid, a natural dicarboxylic acid, reduces tyrosinase activity, thereby inhibiting melanin production. Initially used for acne treatment, its inhibitory effect on tyrosinase prompted its application in melasma treatment.

Azelaic acidAzelaic acid inhibits melanin production.

For effective results, a concentration of 15-20% should be applied twice daily for a minimum of 6 months to 1 year. If no improvement is observed, discontinuing the compound and exploring an alternative treatment option is advisable. Combining azelaic acid with 0.05% or 0.1% hydroquinone often yields the best outcomes.

Kojic Acid:

Kojic acid, derived from mushrooms and the rice fermentation process, effectively brightens the skin and addresses melasma and freckle-related issues by inhibiting tyrosinase activity.

Kojic AcidKojic Acid found in mushrooms.

This compound also aids in fading facial brown spots and freckles while enhancing the elimination of melanin, the cause of melasma, from the skin by increasing the number of neutrophilic acid cells. A concentration of 1-4% is recommended for optimal results. Some experts advocate combining kojic acid with 2% hydroquinone and 2% glycolic acid to maximize treatment effectiveness.


Previously used in conjunction with hydroquinone to enhance skin absorption, retinoids have shown independent efficacy in melanin reduction, particularly with the retinoid tretinoin. This ingredient accelerates epidermal regeneration, facilitating melanin removal and reducing melasma formation.

RetinoidsRetinoids accelerate epidermal regeneration.

Retinoids may exhibit a slower onset of action compared to hydroquinone, with visible brightening effects appearing after approximately 20-24 weeks. Tretinoin can be used as a standalone treatment, although combining it with specific hydroquinone compounds can enhance efficacy.

Glycolic Acid:

Glycolic acid, typically present in concentrations of 5-10% in skin whitening products, works by regenerating the epidermal structure and significantly reducing skin pigmentation. This compound effectively inhibits tyrosinase, diminishing melanin production and subsequently ameliorating melasma.

Glycolic acidGlycolic acid diminishes skin pigmentation.


Arbutin, derived from plants, serves as a hydroquinone derivative and is commonly employed for the treatment of skin hyperpigmentation disorders. Its mechanism of action involves the controlled release of hydroquinone following the breakdown of the glycoside bond. A concentration of 2-4% is recommended for safe application.

ArbutinArbutin effectively treats skin hyperpigmentation disorders.

The compounds mentioned above offer promising melasma treatment options. We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights. Good luck!

You may also be interested in:




You may also like

Review of the Top 3 Obagi Products for Treating Melasma

Discover how Obagi’s newest trio of products can help treat melasma and brighten skin with Bach Hoa XANH’s articles on the most effective melasma treatment.

Rice Water as a Facial Cleanser and Melasma Treatment

Rice water has been a folk remedy used for centuries – but what does science say about its potential for treating skin pigmentation? Bach Hoa Xanh is taking a closer look to uncover the truth about this natural product in this article.

Investigating the Risk Factors of Mequinol in Skin Care Products

Are you considering using Mequinol as a topical ingredient for your skin? This article examines the potential benefits and concerns of this drug, as well as its safety and efficacy. Read on to find out if this ingredient is a good choice for your needs.

New Approach to Fading Hyperpigmentation with Pumpkin Seed Oil Blend

Want to get glowing, luminous skin? Combining pumpkin seed oil and Bách Hoá XANH could be the key to eliminating dark spots and achieving flawless skin! Find out how below.

Doctors Recommend Top 5 Active Ingredients for Treating Resistant Acne

Are you plagued by hidden acne? It can be a difficult dermatological issue to treat, but thankfully doctors have offered up six active ingredients that could help you get a better handle on the problem. Read on to find out more.