Melasma Cream or Melasma Serum?

Melasma Cream or Melasma Serum?

Melasma is a skin condition characterized by dark spots on the skin called hyperpigmentation. Melasma on the face can be caused by sun exposure, hormonal changes (pregnancy, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy), or by skin irritation and inflammation. Melasma tends to occur on the face, but can appear on other parts of the body too. Melasma on the arms and melasma on the chest are common because they are sun exposed areas.

If you have the hyperpigmentation of melasma on your face, it is important to use the correct skin care routine everyday to even your skin tone and prevent worsening of the melasma.

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 melasma 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 melasma serum. The best melasma cream for your skin type depends upon which underlying barriers to skin health you have such as dehydration and inflammation.

Once you take the Skin Type Quiz, our software will generate a personalized skin care routine for melasma that will include the best melasma treatment for your skin type. You can choose the best skin care brands for your budget and we will tell you the exact skin care 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 skin care routines.

What are the Best Melasma Creams for Dry Skin?

Dry skin types need moisturizing melasma creams to keep the skin moisturized or dry skin types can use a melasma serum covered with a moisturizing cream.

One of the best dark spot removers for dry skin that also works well as a melasma cream is Medature Hydro Bright Treatment. This moisturizing hyperpigmentation cream contains niacinamide to brighten and soothe the skin. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin lighteners work better by enhancing penetration and makes this a very moisturizing melasma cream.  Hexylresorcinol, a powerful ingredient found to have comparable efficacy to hydroquinone, is a skin brightening agent that both repairs melasma and prevents the new formation of 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 to even out skin tone. This dark spot remover contains kojic acid and azelaic acid, both of which promote an even skin tone and lightly exfoliate for a clear complexion. Azelaic acid in particular is a naturally-occurring anti-inflammatory, so is also excellent to reduce the inflammation that can worsen pigmentation.  This dark spot remover contains silybum marianum, commonly known as milk thistle. It is an effective antioxidant to calm skin to prevent skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation on the skin. 

Another melasma cream to remove dark spots on the face is SkinMedica Lytera 2.0. This pigmentation cream has been proven to be highly effective to treat melasma and will correct any type of hyperpigmentation on the skin. Tranexamic acid corrects dark spots on the skin, while niacinamide (vitamin B3) prevents the appearance of new pigmentation and creates an even skin tone. Phenylethyl resorcinol is a skin brightening antioxidant that further corrects 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 effectively targets dark spots to even out skin tone. It contains powerful natural ingredients.  This melasma serum is the best natural melasma treatment.   This melasma serum contains alpha arbutin - a safe skin-brightening ingredient that reduces pigmentation by preventing melanin production (i.e. the formation of new dark spots on the skin). Glycerin and hyaluronic acid 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 with the skin lightener alpha arbutin.  This melasma serum is a strong skin lightener and may not be tolerated if you have melasma and sensitive skin because it has retinol.  Retinol (vitamin A) is a powerhouse skincare ingredient that stimulates cell turnover to not only reduce hyperpigmentation, but also reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to know your Baumann Skin Type when choosing a melasma serum because you need to pair the melasma serum with the correct cleansers and moisturizer to help you tolerate strong skin lightening ingredients.

What are the Best Melasma Serums for Combination Skin?

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense is a good melasma treatment for combination skin types. This hyperpigmentation serum is a clinically proven dark spot remover. This lightweight hyperpigmentation serum contains kojic acid, tranexamic acid and vitamin B3 (niacinamide). Niacinamide is a popular skincare ingredient that can reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin and even skin tone.  Niacinamide soothes skin and reduces inflammation.  Kojic acid has a low pH so lightly exfoliates skin and prevents melanin production to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Tranexamic acid is an oral medication for melasma that is a new ingredient to be used topically in melasma creams and melasma serums.  This new skin lightening ingredient for melasma is effective at treating skin hyperpigmentation and brightening the skin.


Melasma Treatment Skin Care Routine 

Learn more about the best skin care routine for melasma here. The best skin care routine for melasma depends upon your Baumann Skin type.  Take the skin type quiz to get specific melasma skin care routine steps.

Once you have a personalized skin care routine to treat melasma that is customized for your Baumann Skin Type, you need to use it every day as prescribed.  The skin pigment melanin is constantly made by the skin and you must be consistent with your melasma skin care 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 skin care regimen will help you clear dark spots on the skin before the tyrosinase inhibiting skin lightening ingredients stop working.

Melasma Treatment Skin Care Routines: Treatment Regimens and Maintenance Regimens

You need two different melasma treatment skin care routines to treat melasma.  The Melasma Treatment Regimen is used for 4 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?

Tyrosinase inhibitor containing melasma treatments tend to stop working after 4 months. You want to get as much out of the melasma treatment before this happens so use your regimen consistently every day the first 4 months. This is called the “treatment regimen” because it is treating dark spots on the face. You can learn more about the best skin care routine for melasma here.

How To Make Melasma Creams And Melasma Serums Work Faster

Skin lightening creams and serums works faster to treat melasma when used daily with hydroxy acid cleansers (e.g. glycolic acid or salicylic acid) as part of a personalized skin care routine. You must take the skin type quiz to get the best skin care 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 treatments for melasma.  

With any skin care routine it is vital to use an SPF every day, but even more so 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, which is suitable for sensitive skin and perfect for use after a chemical peel.

Take our free Skin Type Quiz to find out the best melasma treatment creams and melasma serums for your skin type. A personalized skin care routine is vital to keep dark spots under control and even out skin tone. 

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