If you are struggling with brown-gray patches on your skin caused by hyperpigmentation, you might have melasma. A common skin problem, melasma is characterized by brown or gray patches that usually appears on the face, neck, and arms. Most frequently, when melasma appears, it is on the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the upper lip, and the chin.
Although melasma may appear because of too much exposure to sunlight, it may also be triggered by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and with thyroid disease. Although the risk of developing melasma may be higher if you have someone in your family who has it, preventive measures such as applying sunscreen and avoiding sunlight may help.
Hydroquinone Cream as Melasma Treatment
One of the most popular treatments for melasma is hydroquinone. This is often administered via a topical cream that contains hydroquinone. There are over-the-counter creams which contain only 2% hydroquinone while prescription-strengths cream containing 4% hydroquinone.
However, the use of topical hydroquinone cream has side effects. While immediate side effects of hydroquinone may include skin redness, burning, stinging, dryness, and cracking, a more serious side effect is associated with long term use. Numerous studies that hydroquinone has carcinogenic effects and may cause your skin to turn blue or black, also known as exogenous ochronosis.
Hydroquinone gets a lot of bad raps and although there are other melasma treatment options, most of them are not as effective. Recently, a growing number of people has turned to an effective but safer melasma cream.
Cysteamine Cream as Melasma Treatment
Cysteamine is a compound that is naturally present in animals and in nature, including in humans. The presence of cysteamine promotes the synthesis of glutathione which is known for its antioxidant properties, the effect of which is skin lightening. Hence, putting cysteamine in cream form and applying it on the skin will allow it to work its depigmenting abilities on the applied area.
A study on the efficacy of cysteamine cream on melasma showed that it can significantly decrease melanin content of the lesions caused by melasma. Not only has cysteamine cream showing to be a more effective melasma cream than hydroquinone cream, it is known to be anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic.