Meladerm lightening cream

Posted 20 November 2013

We have been asked to comment on the product, Meladerm lightening cream, which claims to, among other, “diminishes the appearance of dark spots, scars and skin discolorations“.  The product is made by Civant Advanced Skin Care Solutions.

But does it work?

According to one of the websites promoting this product, it contains the following ingredients:

  1. Alpha Arbutin- It has water soluble and pure biosynthetic property which helps in stopping melanin development by inhibiting tyrosinase enzyme activity.
  2. Niacinamide- It is vitamin B3 which acts to prevent melanosomes by transferring them into keratinocytes which also helps in stopping skin pigmentation. It also reduces acne scars.
  3. Mulberry and Lemon Extracts- These ingredients are infused in the cream to help in maximizing skin lightening. It is used in small quantities.
  4. Bearberry Extract- It is also known as Beta Arbutin. It works similar to Alpha Arbutin. It is just that Alpha Arbutin is more expensive.
  5. Licorice Extract- This extract has got anti-inflammatory properties which are essential for skin lightening cream as it stabilizes the product. It also prevents tyrosinase activation.
  6. Kojic Acid- It is another essential ingredient used in the cream. It is used as an alternative to hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a bleaching chemical which is extremely harmful to the skin and is present in almost all skin lightening products. Kojic acid is used to reduce melanin production and also prevents age spots and treats them. It is used for Asian diets and the acid is made by fermenting malting rice. It is known to reduce pigmentation.
  7. Lactic acid- Lactic acid along with glycol acid is known as AHA ingredients used in the meladerm cream. They help in promoting the absorption of all other ingredients.

Interestingly, the Internet has many websites promoting this product – to a degree that one would be convinced that it works! But does it?

Frankly, we do not really know.

The Civant website claims “clinical studies” were performed, but these were all company sponsored, not peer reviewed and never published. Based on this one can only conclude that they may be valid, or they may not be valid – one cannot know for certain. In a very light grey colour, almost not visible, is the following disclaimer: “All studies were conducted on Ceramide 3 and are not generated on Eye Complex products as a whole. In a clinical study, Ceramide3 reduced the appearance of deep wrinkles by as much as 68% over a period of six months. Results may vary.” That should ring alarm bells.

There is simply not sufficient evidence to support the claims for the individual ingredients, and no published studies for the product as a whole. A recent review for ingredient Kojic acid and Arbutin, concluded ” . . .  kojic acid, arbutin, ascorbic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic peels have also been tried with limited success.” In other words, either the work for some individuals, or that some studies seem to show they work and other do not.

Furthermore, the ingredients may not always be safe. “More recent long-term Japanese studies have shown that kojic acid has the potential for causing contact dermatitis and erythema.” “The action of arbutin is dependent on its concentration. Higher concentrations are more efficacious than lower concentrations, but they may also result in a paradoxical hyperpigmentation.” UK has 13 comments, of which 5 give the product 1 star and warn users that it does not work. Only 6 of 13 users have given the product 4 or 5  stars. USA has 55 comments with 38 giving the product 4 or 5 stars. Fourteen give it 1 or 2 stars. 15 of 16 people found the following review helpful : Unsuccessful, November 26, 2012 “I used this product faithfully every morning and evening for 6 months and saw no change in the dark spots on my face. Don’t waste your money.

In conclusion: there is no reasonably good studies confirming that this product has any beneficial effect. However, there is some studies showing some benefit, but not necessarily conclusively, for some of the ingredients. User reviews appear to be mixed. In this product’s case, we cannot claim the product to be a scam (like many of the products we usually highlight here). The best advice is to probably warn consumers that the product may be beneficial for some users and not at all for others. There appears to also be a risk, possibly only small, of adverse effects – therefore if your skin starts deteriorating, stop the product immediately.

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