5 Safer Ways to Treat Melasma for Darker Complexions Effectively

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Dr K K Chew

April 13th, 2020· 5 min read

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Melasma is a pervasive skin problem, especially among Asian people. It is also harder to find an effective treatment for melasma if you are Asian and have darker skin. Before melasma treatments evolved, people used to treat this condition by using topical hydroquinone 4% or doing a Q switched Nd YAG laser toning.

Nowadays, there are safer and newer alternatives to treat melasma that you can use for all skin types, including darker complexions.

Cysteamine cream 5%

This cream works to reduce melasma by lightening the skin colour. However, you cannot use this cream if you are a breastfeeding woman or pregnant as it has not been tested before.

Apply this cream to the darkened areas once daily. Wash your face using soap and lukewarm water after 15 minutes and apply moisturiser to prevent dryness [1].

Dual Yellow Laser

This Laser releases light in 2 wavelengths, green (511nm) and yellow (578nm), in a ratio of 1:9. It uses fast edge micropulse technology to help lighten your pigment as well as reducing melasma. [2]

SYLFIRM radiofrequency

This is a pulsed bipolar radiofrequency that prevents the movement of melanin from the outermost layer of your skin (epidermis) to the layer below (dermis). Patients are generally satisfied with the result of treatments using this device as they can see the results after 7 or 8 treatment sessions. [3]

Tranexamic acid

Tranexamic acid comes in 2 forms. There is an oral form that is provided at doses of 500 mg daily and a topical formulation of 3% that is sometimes given in combination with niacinamide. Tranexamic acid is thought to reduce UV induced pigmentation and is generally safe. [4]

Chemical peel

A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure that uses a chemical solution to remove the outermost layer of your skin. You can use chemical peels alone or alongside other cosmetic procedures. However, you can only do a light chemical peel if you have a darker skin tone to avoid hyperpigmentation. [5]


Thankfully, there are various treatments that you can use to treat melasma now. Keep in mind that all of those treatments only work if they are applied according to guidelines. Make sure that you also:

  • Always use sunscreen,
  • Wear hats outside,
  • Avoid direct heat to the skin
  • Use skincare that is suitable for your skin

These prevention measures play a significant role in treating melasma.

I hope that you've found this guide useful, and perhaps gained more insight into the application process. Most of the admissions-related information (admin and logistics wise) can be found on the official NUS Faculty of Dentistry website.

To help yourself out, you should take note of what people look for when they look for a dentist.

This article was written by Dr K K Chew and published on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Human medically reviewed the article on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. The last update was made on Friday, 18 September 2020.

Disclaimer: Opinions belong to the author and not to the platform.

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