Melasma Cream or Melasma Serum?

Melasma is a skin condition marked by dark spots and uneven skin, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. Melasma on the face can be caused by sun exposure, hormonal changes or skin irritation and inflammation. Melasma usually occurs on the face but can appear on other parts of the body. Melasma on the arms and chest is common because these areas often experience the most sun exposure.

Melasma is harmless and, in most cases, goes away on its own, but treatment is essential to reduce symptoms. If you have melasma on your face, it is important to use the correct skincare routine every day to even your skin tone and encourage healing. Here we take a look at the best melasma creams and melasma serums suited to your skin type. 

What Is Better for Melasma: A Melasma Cream or a Melasma Serum?

There are a variety of melasma creams and serums available, but what’s best for you depends on your Baumann Skin Type®. For example, dry skin types usually prefer a melasma cream, while oily skin types prefer a serum. The best melasma product for your skin type depends upon any skin conditions you might have, such as dehydration and inflammation.

Once you take the Skin Type Quiz, our software will personalize a skincare routine with the best serum or cream for melasma that suits your skin type. You can choose the best skincare brands for your budget, and we will tell you the exact skincare routine steps and when to use your melasma cream. Whether you want to save money or splurge, we will guide you with our dermatologist-recommended skincare routines.

What Are the Best Melasma Creams for Dry Skin?

Dry skin types need moisturizing melasma creams to keep the skin hydrated. Dry skin types can also use a melasma serum followed by a moisturizing cream.

One of the best dark spot removers for dry skin that works well as a melasma cream is Medature Hydro Bright Treatment. This moisturizing hyperpigmentation cream contains vitamin B3 to brighten and soothe the skin. The hyaluronic acid helps the skin lighteners work better by going deeper into the skin and making this a very moisturizing melasma cream. Also included is hexylresorcinol, a skin brightening agent that repairs melasma and prevents new dark spots on the skin. 

Another melasma cream that is a safe dark spot remover is PCA Skin Pigment Gel HQ Free, which is very effective at evening out skin tone. This dark spot remover contains kojic acid and azelaic acid. Both ingredients even skin tone and lightly exfoliate for a clear complexion. 

Azelaic acid is an anti-inflammatory used to treat acne and rosacea. It is an excellent choice to reduce the inflammation that can worsen pigmentation. This dark spot remover contains milk thistle, which can treat various conditions. It is an effective antioxidant to calm the skin to prevent discoloration and patchiness. 

Another melasma cream to remove dark spots on the face is SkinMedica Lytera 2.0. This pigmentation cream is highly effective at treating melasma and will correct any hyperpigmentation on the skin. Tranexamic acid, an ingredient initially created to promote blood clotting, corrects dark spots on the skin. Vitamin B3 prevents the appearance of new pigmentation and creates an even skin tone. Skin brightening ingredients further reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

What Are the Best Melasma Serums for Oily Skin?

There are many melasma serums to treat dark spots on the face. ClarityRx Let There Be Light Lightening Serum is an effective pigmentation serum that targets dark spots to even out skin tone. This melasma serum is the best natural melasma treatment. This serum contains a safe skin-brightening ingredient that visibly reduces dark spots and uneven skin. The serum also includes ingredients that naturally occur in the body, such as glycerin, to hydrate the skin without making it feel greasy. 

Another melasma serum for oily skin types is Jan Marini Luminate Face Lotion which corrects and brightens dark spots on the skin. This melasma serum is a strong skin lightener and may not be best for sensitive skin because it has retinol. Retinol (vitamin A) is a skincare ingredient that increases natural proteins in the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to know your skin type when choosing a melasma serum so you can pair it with the correct cleansers and moisturizers.

What Are the Best Melasma Serums for Combination Skin?

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense is a good melasma treatment for combination skin types. This lightweight hyperpigmentation serum contains kojic acid, tranexamic acid and vitamin B3 and is clinically proven to remove dark spots. Vitamin B3 is a popular skincare ingredient that can reduce dark spots on the skin and even skin tone. It also soothes skin and reduces inflammation. 

Kojic acid lightly exfoliates the skin and provides the same benefits as vitamin B3. Tranexamic acid is a new ingredient in topical melasma creams and serums. This new skin lightening ingredient treats hyperpigmentation and brightens the skin.

Melasma Treatment Skincare Routine 

The best skincare routine for melasma depends upon your Baumann Skin type. Take the skin type quiz to get specific melasma skincare routine steps.


Once you have a personalized skincare routine to treat melasma, you need to use it every day as prescribed.  The skin constantly produces melanin, and you must be consistent with your melasma skincare regimen to get the best results. Your skin becomes accustomed to the skin lightening ingredients, and they will stop working after a few months. Regular use of your melasma skincare regimen will help clear dark spots on the skin before the skin-lightening ingredients stop working.

Melasma Treatment Skincare Routines: Treatment Regimens and Maintenance Regimens

You need two different melasma treatment skincare routines to treat melasma. The Melasma Treatment Regimen is used for four months, and the Melasma Maintenance Regimen is used for one month. You should cycle between these two to keep melasma under control.

Why Do I Need to Take A Holiday From My Melasma Cream?

Melasma treatments tend to stop working after four months. You want to get as much out of the melasma treatment before this happens, so use your regimen consistently every day for the first four months. This is called the “treatment regimen” because treats dark spots on the face. You can learn more about the best skincare routine for melasma here.

How to Make Melasma Creams And Melasma Serums Work Faster

Skin lightening creams and serums work faster to treat melasma when used daily with personalized cleansers. Take the skin type quiz to get the best skincare recommendation for what cleansers and moisturizers to use with your melasma creams.  You can also talk to your medical aesthetician about chemical peels and microneedling, which are effective melasma treatments.  

Use an SPF every day to protect yourself from the sun with any skincare routine. This is even more important if you are undergoing melasma treatment to prevent any new dark spots from forming.

Do I Apply My Sunscreen Before or After My Melasma Cream or Melasma Serum?

You should always apply your melasma serum or melasma cream before an SPF. Look for a face moisturizer with SPF that contains iron oxide pigments, such as EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44. This product is suitable for sensitive skin and perfect after a chemical peel.

Find the Right Product With Skin Type Solutions

Take our free Skin Type Quiz to find out the best melasma treatment creams and melasma serums for your skin type. Once you've discovered your skin type, you can shop from our wide range of products, such as our dermatologist-recommended cleansers or specialized treatments. A personalized skincare routine is vital to keep dark spots under control and even out skin tone.  Round out your skincare routine with a melasma cream or serum and say hello to healthy, vibrant skin. 


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