Best Cleanser For Melasma

Best Cleanser for Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes the appearance of discoloration and dark spots on the skin, particularly the face. Melasma is often referred to the ‘mask of pregnancy’ since the change in hormones seen in pregnancy can cause discoloration. Melasma usually appears as dark spots just above the lips, or patches of discoloration across the cheeks. However, it isn’t just pregnant women who experience melasma, as it can also be caused by sun exposure and skin irritation. Melasma is also more likely in darker skin tones, like brown skin and black skin, but it can occur in any skin color. 

What’s the Best Skin Care Routine for Melasma?

Following a dermatologist-recommended skincare routine for melasma can reduce the appearance of melasma, and the best place to start is with an effective melasma cleanser. 


The Best Cleansers to Treat Melasma

Selecting a face wash for melasma will often depend on your underlying skin type (i.e. whether you have dry skin or oily skin, for example), but the most effective melasma cleansers will contain either alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid) or both.

Both alpha hydroxy acid cleansers and beta hydroxy acid cleansers can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it is essential to always finish your skin care routine with a daily SPF.

The Best Glycolic Acid Cleansers For Melasma

Glycolic acid is very effective at treating melasma and evening out the skin tone, as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and treating acne (which can often result in skin discoloration).

Essopi Glycolic 10% Cleanser, while gentler than the best scrubs, provides an equally effective benefit. This alpha hydroxy acid cleanser prepares the skin for the melasma creams and melasma serums that follow and gives you smooth and radiant skin. This low pH melasma cleanser is best used daily as part of a complete personalized skincare routine.

In addition to glycolic acid, Essopi Glycolic 10% Cleanser also contains a powerhouse of antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, C and E), green tea extract and Co-Enzyme Q10 to aid the appearance of glowing, healthy-looking skin.

An alternative, effective resurfacing melasma cleanser ideal for combination skin types is SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, which combines both alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and citric acid) and beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid.

This powerful combination of alpha-hydroxy acids with salicylic acid exfoliates the skin to enhance skin tone and texture and will give dull skin an instant glow.

However, SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is not suitable for sensitive skin types and should be used with caution when you are also using retinoids (vitamin A, retinol skincare). In fact, it is so powerful that it is best used under the care of a Skin Type Solutions trained medical provider for the best skin effects.

Lactic acid is another form of alpha hydroxy acid. It is much gentler than glycolic acid, so is often better tolerated than glycolic acid, and is specifically used to treat melasma and hyperpigmentation of the skin, as well as moisturizing the skin.

PCA Skin Facial Wash is perfect for dry and sensitive skin types as it is a gentle face wash for melasma with alpha-hydroxy acids (lactic acid). It effectively reduces inflammation and gently exfoliates the skin, while natural aloe vera and allantoin provide soothing antioxidant benefits.

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser combines glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, making it a powerful face wash for melasma that purifies and brightens the skin, and is suitable for all skin types. Despite the combination of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid, this melasma cleanser is still gentle enough for daily use, and is fragrance-free and sulfate-free.

The Best Salicylic Acid Cleansers For Melasma

Beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid work to exfoliate the skin and by doing so, help to remove the pigmentation of melasma, as well as clearing the pores. Salicylic acid is suitable for oily, combination and sensitive skin types. 

As melasma can be the result of the inflammation and discoloration caused by acne, some of the most effective melasma cleansers are also effective for acne treatment.

One of our favorite melasma cleansers is NoLIO Salicylic Acid Cleanser. This face wash for melasma is ideal for oily skin types and a favorite among dermatologists owing to its low pH, which provides additional exfoliating benefits. This melasma cleanser is anti-inflammatory and also contains the antioxidant green tea extract, while zinc promotes skin repair and stearic acid helps to protect the skin barrier. 


For the best results you should follow with a melasma cream or serum as part of your daily skincare routine for melasma.

We also love La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser, which is the best drugstore face wash for melasma and is available anywhere in the world! The salicylic acid in this melasma cleanser combines with lipo-hydroxy acid to provide a gentle, exfoliating effect that removes impurities from the skin and improves skin texture. For the best results use a complete personalized skin care routine for melasma.



The Best Scrubs For Melasma

Exfoliating the skin with a facial scrub can help to lighten the pigmentation of melasma by removing dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

The best facial scrub for melasma is Pidanti Smoothing Polish Face and Body Scrub, which gently removes dead skin cells and leaves a smooth, even-toned appearance. This melasma cleanser combines glycolic acid and salicylic acid, as well as green tea extract to provide an antioxidant effect, and arbutin and ascorbyl palmitate to brighten the skin.

Jan Marini Bioglycolic Resurfacing Scrub is also an effective melasma scrub, particularly for melasma that appears on the arms and legs. Glycolic acid and the exfoliating particles of the scrub buff away dead skin cells and improve skin texture, while aloe vera prevents irritation. This melasma scrub also contains glyceryl stearate, which moisturizes the skin and helps prevent water loss.

Treat Melasma with a Dermatologist-Recommended Skin Routine

There are a number of highly effective melasma cleansers available, but look out for those that contain glycolic acid and salicylic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and brighten the skin. 

With any of the melasma cleansers we recommend, it is essential to wear an SPF and protective clothing very day - the sun can cause further pigmentation to appear.

For the best professional advice on melasma cleansers, you need to know your Baumann Skin Type® and the corresponding personalized skincare routine to treat melasma.

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