Back to all

Melasma - the inside approaches

Melasma - the inside approaches


By Doreen, Pharmacist


Melasma, or chloasma, is a form of pigmentation disorder, manifested by patchy light to dark brown or greyish discolouration found on sun-exposed areas of both sides of the face, such as the cheeks, forehead, temples, above the upper lip and nose.  The exact cause of this skin condition is not exactly known, but it is believed that melasma is a direct consequence of excessive melanin production.  Melanin is a natural skin pigment which absorbs harmful UV rays and protects your cells from sun damage.  

Other factors which can increase your risk of melasma include:

  • Sunlight exposure or tanning beds, which promote melanin production
  • Hormones which lead to the production of more melanin pigment, whether through pregnancy, menopause, oral contraceptives, or cosmetics containing hormones.
  • Genetics play a role in about 50% of cases of people affected by melasma.
  • Malnutrition may be a contributing factors because melasma is often found in people with abnormal liver function and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Melasma is a complex condition that is influenced by a wide range of factors, including poor lifestyle choices and genetics.  There are attempts to heal the problem from the inside out.   Other prevention and treatment strategies include photo-protection, topical therapy, surgical treatment (chemical peeling and laser treatment), and cosmetic camouflage.  Numerous studies have demonstrated the role of oxidative stress in patients with melasma, prompting investigation into several antioxidants for melasma therapy.


Here, we will talk more about treating melasma from the inside.

Hormonal balance

If you develop melasma as a result of a hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, usually it will correct itself.  When melasma is linked to birth control pills or HRT, you may correct the problem by switching to another oral contraceptive or adjusting the dosage of the pills.  

Reduce stress and adequate sleep

Stress promotes the production of cortisol.  This elevates oestrogen levels, which may increase the amount of melanin you produce.  So, reducing stress may help reduce stress.

Diet modification

Enhancing a balanced diet with adequate amounts of water can give you good foundation to healthy skin.  Certain supplements or foods can help improve and lower the risk of melasma too.  For example, vitamin C are effective in reducing melanin production and providing photo-protection to reduce the effect of sun damage.  

Liver support

Liver plays an important role in regulating hormone levels in our body.  It is important to maintain a healthy liver.  Try to limit alcohol intake, add more fibre to your diet and even try the long trusted liver supplement.


Glutathione is one of the most powerful endogenous antioxidants produced by cells in the human body.  Studies found that, when taken in oral form, glutathione reduced melanin in people with melasma compared to those who took placebo.  According to another study( 8) oral glutathione supplements can elevate natural levels, thus inhibiting melanin content in the skin.  Glutathione has been found to manage melanin deposition in the basal layer of skin, while also acting as a photo-protective agent.  Recent study (5) found the daily oral administration of L-Cystine and L-Glutathione was a safe treatment to effectively lighten the skin and reduce the size of facial dark spots of Asian women.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant.  Study (4) has found vitamin c to interact with both tyrosinase enzyme and copper ions, which represent the core issues of melasma.  Furthermore, vitamin c has been known to combat free radicals, preserving skin quality, and reducing oxidative effects in melanin development.  


Collagen are proteins, largely present throughout the human body, including muscles, joints, tendons, bones, cartilage, and of course our skin.  Collagen has been found to help the basement membrane (which have been compromised by UV radiation) regain optimal levels.  This will potentially help reduce the chances of melasma to recur.  Moreover, collagen supplementation has also been shown to combat symptoms of UV radiation, reduce the effects of photoaging, maintain our skin barrier by managing its hydration and recovering damaged collagen fibres.  



  1. Melasma Should Not Be Overlooked retrieved fr
  2. Why Hyperpigmentation is Your Best Friend retrieved fr Hyperpigmentation is Your Best Friend
  3. New oral and topical approaches for the treatment of melasma retrieved fr
  4. An Overview on Melasma retrieved from 
  5. The effects of the oral supplementation of L-Cystine associated with reduced L-Glutathione-GSH on human skin pigmentation: a randomized, double-blinded, benchmark- and placebo-controlled clinical trial retrieved fr
  6. How to Cure Melasma From the Inside retrieved fr 
  7. Melasma: an Up-to-Date Comprehensive Review retrieved from
  8. Oral supplementation of L-glutathione prevents ultraviolet B-induced melanogenesis and oxidative stress in BALB/c mice retrieved fr
  9. The Therapeutic Use of Antioxidants for Melasma retrieved from
Write a comment Close