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Can Melasma Turn Into Cancer?

Brown patches appearing on the surface of the skin is definitely not something to be proud of. Many people believe that they have to hide their skin ailment with shame and goes to the extent believing that it will lead to major disease such as cancer. The truth behind the question will be answered in the article below.

Melasma and its causes

Melasma is an ordinary pigmentation disorder that changes the clear surface of skin into the forming of brown and gray patches. The reason for that is due to the over-production of melanin. The appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone is the normal outcome for the phenomenon. The melanin pigment helps in defining the colour of an individual’s eyes, hair and skin but excessive production flips the whole goodness purpose that the pigment offers. The reason for the over-production to occur are changes in hormone (pregnancy, hormone treatment or taking birth control pills), UV rays exposure, incompatible skin care product and hereditary genetic.

Parts of body that can be affected with Melasma

The bridge of the nose, the forehead, the cheeks and the upper lips is  where the melasma can be found in the face area. Other parts of body where the brown or grey patches can naturally appear is the forearms, neck and shoulders. These area is is related to the effect of sunlight exposure does to the body. Women with darker skin complexion has higher chances to develop melasma than women with lighter skin or men in general.

Is immediate treatment required?

Curing melasma through treatment is not necessary in general because it will be gone naturally after few months (pregnant women delivering her baby) or it will come back eventually after the individual stopped doing their treatment (it is hard to cure). Therefore, the answer is no. Immediate treatment is not required.

Can Melasma turn cancerous?

Melasma is not cancerous and will not develop into skin cancer. It might irritate the skin of the individual but will never lead to anything serious.

Is there a permanent treatment available?

There is no permanent treatment available for curing melasma. The only option to reduce melasma or the brown or gray patches from occurring is to not end the previous treatment for there will be high chances for it to come back after a while. The temporary treatment includes removal and regulation. Doctor may suggest combination treatment to get the best outcome.


Laser therapy, intense pulse light or chemical peel is the clinically proven method to help in treating melasma but the side effect such as inflammation, irritation and burning sensation of the skin is the potential side effect that the individual has to be prepared for if considering in taking these kinds of treatment.  

Laser therapies (Fraxel, Erbium YAG) and Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

Between these three treatment in removal, laser therapies and intense pulse light has higher chances in treating melasma. It is effective and more precise in discarding the hyperpigmented skin cells at surface and deeper level.

Chemical peels

Glycolic acid is the main substance being used for chemical peeling. The dermatologist will start the treatment by applying the solution to the affected skin and leave


Regulation method are focusing on the right ingredients to be used in skin care product to cure melasma in slower pace than removal.


Hydroquinone is a brightening agent that are proven to be effective in handling melasma. It lightens the colour of skin patches to create an even tone skin complexion. Cream, lotion and gel is the common form for this type of ingredients.


Arbutin is less effective ingredients in treating melasma but it does lower the risk of having major side effect to the skin. It serves as brightening agent to help fading the patches into as close to the normal skin complexion.

Glycolic Acid (or hydroxyacetic acid)

Glycolic acid is commonly used for chemical peel treatment. Most hyperpigmentation topical cream has glycolic acid as their active ingredients. The cream can be found at the nearest pharmacy or drugstore.

Kojic Acid

The substance has a debatable ability in reducing the production of melanin in the body. Although, some mentioned that it can block tyrosine from forming and and provide a brightening effect to the individual’s skin. Kojic acid is banned in many country  as it can lead to major disease such as cancer.

Vitamin C derivatives

The fading of brown or gray patches can be seen gradually after the use of this substance. Vitamin C derivatives is one of the active ingredients in treating melasma.

Retinoic Acid

Not the best option to choose from to treat melasma. Irritation and increasing skin sensitivity towards UV rays is the serious effect that can potentially occur. It is advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid this substance at all cost to avoid any harm for the baby.


In four weeks, the brightening result can be seen almost immediately with minimal side effect to the individual with the use of this substance.

Additional treatments

A much slower result to be seen but if the individual choose to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high SPF in their daily skin routine persistently, there are small chances for melasma to be treated.

Conclusion/ Final Thoughts

To ease the thoughts of many, the answer to the question is that melasma would not lead to cancer. It may cause a slight inconvenience to the individual but never necessarily lead to major and highly feared disease such as cancer.

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