Melasma is a disease which causes hyper pigmentation of the skin. This skin disorder leaves dark, colored skin patches that appear on the cheeks, forehead, chin and upper lips of young women. Estrogen and progesterone effect melasma and therefore the symptoms more common in women taking oral contraceptives or who are pregnant. The dark patches are usually symmetrical and appear on those with darker skin. Melasma may also effect older women and men and may appear on other parts of the body. Discuss treatment with your doctor prior to beginning any home remedies. Herbs may react with prescribed medications.
A paste made of Chinese hawthorn, also known as sanzha, and egg whites is is used to treat melasma. Purchase the dried, raw Chinese hawthorn from a Chinese herbalist or food shop. Grind approximately 300 grams of the herb into a powder and mix with enough egg white to make a paste. Apply to a clean, dry face and let the mixture sit for an hour. Repeat twice daily for two months.
Licorice, glycyrrhiza glabra or glycyrrhiza uralensis, originated in central Europe and is now widely used in Chinese medicines. A licorice extract, known as Liquiritin, can be used to treat melasma. It is available as a topical cream which is applied directly to the melasma spots twice daily for four weeks. Licorice has been known to increase blood pressure and water retention.
St. John's Wart
An infusion of St. John's Wart can be used to treat melasma. To make your own St. John's Wart infusion, fill a clean, dry jar with fresh chopped St. John's Wart and olive oil. Avoid leaving an air pocket in the jar and cover tightly. Let this mixture sit for six weeks. Strain the liquid out of the jar and allow the oil to separate from the water. Remove this oil and apply to the melasma.