Skin Lightening: Is Meladerm safe?

NancyM on 5 Feb 2008 at 11:01am

Interesting post over on The Beauty Brain today about Meladerm, a skin lightener. The question is whether Meladerm is safe for long-term use. The interesting thing about the response quoted below is how the company that makes the product admits that use should be discontinued after three or four months because effects tend to "plateau."

First about the ingredients:

1) Arbutin is extracted from Bearberry (Uva Ursi) and is natural occurring substance, unlike synthetic hydroquinone. Arbutin is present not only in the Bearberry plant, but also found in many plant-derived foods. Arbutin can be converted into hydroquinone when introduced to very alkaline conditions. These conditions however are uncommon and most definitely do not occur on the skin. Gastric fluids are known to be alkaline, but the Arbutin would have to be taken orally for it to enter the gastrointestinal tract. Our product, Meladerm, uses Alpha-Arbutin as opposed to regular (beta) Arbutin. Alpha-Arbutin is considered the most stable and effective form of Arbutin and does not readily hydrolyze into hydroquinone.

Arbutin and hydroquinone each have a different chemical composition and differ greatly in their skin lightening properties. Arbutin inhibits melanin synthesis where as hydroquinone can actually be cytotoxic to melanocytes. Furthermore, Arbutin does not have the associated side effects of hydroquinone. Due to the safety concerns presented by the FDA, we do not use hydroquinone in our products.

Next about long term use:

2) We suggest discontinuing daily use after 3-4 months. This is generally advisable for all skin lighteners, and not just Meladerm. After a few months of use, you will find that the results will begin to plateau and regular applications will no longer be necessary.

For more about Arbutin, read Dr. Arnold Oppenheim's opinion here.

Comments (4)

A friend of mine has tried this product and she told me that it worked well for her. However, I took a different route because I'm avoiding skin whiteners that contain synthetic ingredients. I am currently using NeuCell skin lightener. I find it safer to use because it contains all-natural ingredients. Yet, it is very effective in lightening dark spots, discoloration and hyperpigmentation, and it can also make acne marks and birthmarks less visible. Since creams are directly absorbed by the skin, it is best to settle with nature-based products and this is what I did.
  • Reply
A friend of mine has tried this product and she told me that it worked well for her. However, I took a different route because I'm avoiding skin whiteners that contain synthetic ingredients. I am currently using NeuCell skin lightener. I find it safer to use because it contains all-natural ingredients. Yet, it is very effective in lightening dark spots, discoloration and hyperpigmentation, and it can also make acne marks and birthmarks less visible. Since creams are directly absorbed by the skin, it is best to settle with nature-based products and this is what I did.
  • Reply
i highly do not recommend hydroquinone...every derm here will soon realize after more studies come out that it is unsafe and too harsh a product to recommend..it has not even been being used long enough to realize the harsh side effects and the fact that it will further age your skin...it is banned in several countries including france for fear of cancer risk..and harsh side effects like break down of the skin, severe rashes, and hypo-pigment problems..I cannot even believe a derm would recommend you put something like this on your face!!!... if you are using this too lighten hyper-pigment issues i would strongly recommend another approach...like retinoids..licorice extracts..AHA and BHA's...vitamin C products...and for faster more efficient results an IPL (FYI: only recommended when done by a dermatologist..no medi-spas or nurses.) and never forget the sunscreen! good luck kate. by the way a retinoid can do wonders...for aging and unlike hydroquinone there are plenty of years of evidence to prove
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is meladerm a natural/vegetal product.ingredients contains parabens which are supposed to cause cancers
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