Melanin is the pigment in your skin that is sensitive to sunlight. Sun exposure, hormonal changes and trauma to the skin can cause melanin to concentrate in areas of your face, a condition known as chloasma or melasma, reports Total Dermatology. Age spots, freckles, brown spots and other patches of darkened skin most often affect the face, chest and hands, according to San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center. Whatever the cause of the melanin patches on your face, you may be able to remove them with home remedies, over-the-counter treatments or dermatology procedures.
Try an herbal or home remedy. Apply Castor Oil, garlic juice or lemon juice to brown spots with a cotton ball. Grind a couple of blanched almonds, recommends Ayurveda Herbal Remedy.com. Mix them with an egg white and 1/2 tsp lime juice. Apply and let dry before rinsing.
Try a paste made with saffron or honey; rub fresh aloe vera gel on melanin patches; wash your face with buttermilk or sour milk.
The site reports that 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp orange juice can lighten melanin spots as can parsley juice mixed with lemon, orange and red currant juice. One tsp grated horseradish root, 1/2 tsp lemon juice and vinegar and three drops of rosemary essential oil will lighten brown spots. Try mixing 1/8 tsp each ginseng and gotu kola, and a pinch of cayenne into an herbal tea and apply to brown spots with a cotton ball.
See your dermatologist and ask about prescription creams. Use skin-lightening creams, especially hydroquinone, to lighten brown spots. This is the only FDA-approved skin-bleaching ingredient, reports Beth Janes of Good Housekeeping. At prescription formulations of 4 per cent, this ingredient halts the production of melanin, according to San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center. You can find over-the-counter formulas at concentrations of 2 per cent. Use hydroquinone only on the melanin patches on your face: not all over your skin. It may take four months to a year for the melanin spots to fade.
Your dermatologist may recommend other creams. Both the San Francisco and Total Dermatology dermatologists recommend the Obagi Skin Rejuventation Program. The combination of products in the program, which include hydroquinone, alpha hydroxyl acids and Retin-A, reduce melanin patches and improve the firmness and texture of the skin. Cosmelan De-Pigmentation Treatment is another program recommended by Total Dermatology to reduce melanin spots.
Try a microdermabrasion or chemical peel to lighten brown spots. They both work by removing the top layer of the skin on your face and can help lighten melanin patches. Your dermatologist may use a deeper level peel to remove melanin spots.
Try laser or light therapy. Your dermatologist can use a laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) to break up melanin patches, reports Janes. Light therapy is also known as photofacial therapy. The YAG laser can break up brown spots within five minutes. A Diolite laser is appropriate for small melanin spots, reports Total Dermatology. A Fraxel laser may be used for larger melanin patches. Lasers direct more heat and may work with fewer treatments. The Perfecta laser may work even faster.
You should cover up and use sunscreen during any skin treatment to remove melanin spots. Herbal remedies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).