black woman smiling

Melasma is a type of skin condition that causes hyper-pigmentation, resulting in distinct patches. This pigmentation may range from light brown to grayish patches that are very distinct especially on the face. True to its definition, the condition’s name is derived from the Greek word melas which means black. This skin condition is pretty common among different populations, but is most prevalent in people with dark skin and especially those who reside in sunny areas.

Contrary to popular belief, melasma is not an infection, neither is it the result of an allergic reaction. Affected persons should not be afraid as the condition is not contagious and can easily be treated with a wide range of home remedies. The precise cause of this skin disorder is not known to-date, but there are a number of factors that predispose one to hyper-pigmentation.

These include hormonal changes during pregnancy, harsh cosmetic products as well as certain forms of contraception. Over exposure to the sun’s UV rays and a stressful lifestyle also tend to worsen the condition. Since there is no cure presently for melasma, most affected people have turned to different treatment options that seek to improve the overall appearance of the skin. Some of these remedies are listed below alongside the specific ingredients and the approximate time it takes for application.

NOTE: If you have any concerns about the symptoms presented by melasma, it is important to have a word with your dermatologist on the way forward.

1. Lemon Juice:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Fresh lemon, cotton wool and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy


When it comes to treating melasma at home, you can never go wrong with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This is because the juice is one of the most potent skin lighteners available as a natural home remedy. In addition to this bleaching effect which helps tone down the hyper-pigmentation, the juice’s astringent properties help tighten the pores and firm up the skin. Lemon juice is highly acidic and this goes a long way in helping get rid of the skin’s outer layer and giving way to the regeneration of new skin cells. Use this simple remedy to deal with hyper-pigmentation.


  1. Wash the fresh lemon and roll it between the palms of your hands. This is key because it stimulates maximum production of the juice.
  2. Squeeze the juice and collect it in a glass. You may do this manually or using a juicer.
  3. Soak the cotton wool in the lemon juice and use it to apply to the affected skin patches.
  4. Leave the remedy on for some 20 minutes before rinsing using warm water.
  5. Use this remedy twice daily until you notice an improvement on your skin, usually after a couple of weeks, so you need to be patient and consistent.


2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup each of water and apple cider vinegar, cotton ball, warm water and clean towel.
Difficulty: Easy


Apple cider vinegar is yet another remedy that you cannot afford to miss out on in the quest for affordable and effective home remedies to treat melasma. This is because, just like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic in nature. Acetic acid makes for a potent bleaching agent which is why it is recommended for people who suffer hyper-pigmentation. ACV is also a natural skin cleanser, which means that the results of using it for melasma include reduced pigmentation and soft glowing skin. Keep in mind that ACV may cause skin irritation, so it is advisable dilute it at the initial stages before increasing its concentration gradually over a period of time.


  1. Mix equal amounts of the ACV and water and stir.
  2. Dip the cotton ball in the resulting mixture and soak it before applying on the skin patches.
  3. Take care that the mixture does not come into contact with your eyes to avoid irritation.
  4. Let the remedy remain on the skin for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water.
  5. Wipe the skin dry.
  6. Use this remedy at least once daily for best results.


3.Onion Juice:

Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: 3 Medium-sized red onions, knife, cheesecloth, 1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar, cotton ball and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy


Onion juice is your go-to remedy when you need to restore your skin’s natural pigmentation, and this makes it ideal for the natural treatment of melasma. Onion juice is packed with sulfur compounds that cause the dark pigmented skin patches to fade over a period of time. The onions also have the benefit of nourishing the skin for a healthy glow. Apple cider vinegar is added for its immense health benefits as a natural skin cleanser and toner.


  1. Peel and wash the onions before chopping into small fine pieces.
  2. Transfer the chopped onion to the cheesecloth and then tug in opposite directions in order to squeeze the onion juice.
  3. Collect this juice in a bowl where you will add 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar.
  4. Stir the mixture before soaking a cotton ball in it.
  5. Dab the wet cotton wool on the skin patches and let the remedy stay on for half an hour.
  6. Rinse the skin with warm water and use this remedy twice daily for a couple of weeks until you notice an improvement in your natural skin tone.


4. Oatmeal:

Time Required:30 Min
What You Need: 3 Tablespoons of oatmeal powder, 3 tablespoons of warm milk, 1 tablespoon of raw organic honey, warm water and a clean towel.
Difficulty: Easy


One of the best natural remedies to treat melasma is to use oatmeal paste. Oatmeal works as an exfoliating agent that scrapes off dead skin cells, allowing the skin to regenerate and yield smooth bright toned skin. Add milk to create a base for the paste as well as provide proteins required for the synthesis of new skin cells. Honey is added to this remedy because it acts as a humectant that locks in skin moisture and prevents it from drying. This not only evens the skin, it also helps restore the skin’s natural glow and tone. Use oatmeal paste as follows.


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and stir until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the paste on the dark skin patches.
  3. Wait for 20 minutes before rinsing the paste off using warm water.
  4. Dry the skin using a clean towel.
  5. Remember to use this remedy at least twice daily for a few weeks until the dark patches start to fade away.


5. Aloe Vera Gel:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Fresh aloe vera leaf and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy


What is a list of home remedies for treating melasma without fresh aloe vera gel? This is because the gel contains polysacharides that help get rid of the increased pigmentation. Regular use of aloe vera gel helps restore your skin’s natural tone without any side effects. In fact, the gel’s additional health benefits go a long way in promoting the regeneration of new skin cells. You will need warm water to rinse the gel off as indicated in the steps below.


  1. Slice the aloe vera leaf in order to tap the oozing fresh gel.
  2. Collect the gel and rub it on the hyper pigmented skin as gently as you can.
  3. Massage the gel in for better absorption.
  4. After 20 minutes, rinse the skin using warm water.
  5. Repeat this procedure two times, preferably in the morning and at bedtime for best results.
  6. Follow up on this remedy for a couple of weeks until you are satisfied with the progress made.


6. Turmeric Paste:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/4 Cup of turmeric powder, 1/8 cup of milk (preferably whole milk), 1 tablespoon of gram flour, warm water and clean towel.
Difficulty: Easy


Make the best use of turmeric powder for the natural treatment of melasma and harness its skin lightening properties to heal your skin. Here’s how it works: turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is loved for its excellent skin-lightening traits and antioxidant properties. Whole milk is preferred in this remedy as it is rich in lactic acid, proteins and calcium that are beneficial for healthy skin. The lactic acid is a desirable ingredient thanks to its exfoliating properties. Follow the steps below to prepare this simple remedy and find ways to incorporate it into your skin care routine until the skin condition clears.


  1. Add the milk to the turmeric powder in small amounts and stir as you mix the two. This is done to ensure that the resulting paste is neither too runny or too sticky for topical application.
  2. Add the gram flour to firm up the paste and stir some more.
  3. Scoop some of the paste and apply directly on the dark patches of the skin. Massage the skin for maximum absorption and quick healing.
  4. Let the paste dry on the skin for about 25 minutes and then rinse using warm water.
  5. Dab the skin dry using a clean towel and repeat this procedure everyday for best results.


7. Horseradish:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Horseradish slices and warm water. Horseradish powder and sour milk (alternatives)
Difficulty: Easy


Horseradish is a traditional remedy for the treatment of melasma, and has since been passed down generations for its excellent health benefits. Like the aforementioned remedies, horseradish has excellent bleaching properties that help fade any discolored patches on the skin. Sour milk on the other hand, may be added to the powder in order to exfoliate the skin and get rid of dead skin cells. For both options, the remedy is left on the skin for almost half an hour for best results.


  1. Slice the horseradish so that one end exposes the juicy side.
  2. Use the cut horseradish to massage the affected skin.
  3. Let the juice dry on its own for about 25 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water and pat the skin dry.
  5.  Alternatively, add sour milk to the horseradish powder and mix until you get a paste with the desired consistency.
  6. Apply this paste on the skin and let it dry for 25 minutes before washing it away with warm water.
  7. Repeat this remedy twice weekly.


8. Sandalwood Mask:

Time Required: 40 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of each of the following: Sandalwood powder, freshly squeezed lemon juice, whole milk and turmeric powder. You will also need warm water to rinse.
Difficulty: Easy


Sandalwood powder has key skin lightening properties and this explains why it is used for the treatment of melasma. It is also no surprise that this powder is an ingredient in many skin care products. The active compound in the powder helps improve skin complexion while evening out the tone particularly in deeply pigmented parts of the skin. The addition of milk, lemon juice and turmeric to create a paste not only improve the remedy’s efficiency, but also helps refresh the skin. Prepare this face mask by following the directions included below.


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and stir so that you re able to get a thick paste.
  2. Apply the paste on the skin and any other part of the body that is affected.
  3. Make sure you massage the remedy gently.
  4. Once the mask has dried for about 20 minutes, get rid of it by rinsing with clean water.
  5. Remember to dry the skin.
  6. Repeat this remedy once daily until you are satisfied with the results you get after a few weeks.


Other effective home remedies for the management of melasma include cucumber that restores the natural pigment and hydrates the skin, apricot oil that nourishes and lightens the skin as well as a banana mask. Additionally, there are several tips that come in handy in the management of melasma. These include:

  1. Always using sunscreen while in the outdoors. This is because overexposure to the sun’s rays often worsens melasma and increases the hyper-pigmentation. It also helps to use wide-brimmed hats for the same reason.
  2. Avoiding waxing as this aggravates the skin and makes melasma more. Instead, opt for less abrasive air removal techniques.
  3. Proper skin care goes a long way in helping treat melasma.
  4. Eat a healthy balanced diet to ensure that your skin gets the necessary nutrients required for healthy glowing skin.
  5. Remember to stay hydrated too because regular water intake is needed for healthy skin.