How Does Cosmelan Work?

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Erin Benjamin 

The Cosmelan Skin-Lightening System

Hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure, PIH, melasma and chloasma. These conditions can be traced to an excess of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is essential to the creation of melanin.


A pharmaceutical firm – Mesoestetic USA Laboratories – has a solution in its Cosmelan system. Cosmelan blocks the tyrosinase enzyme, and so halts the production of melanin. Photos from the web sites of skin-care clinics offering Cosmelan treatments show great differences in patients before and after treatments, and claims of 95% improvements in blemishes have been claimed.

Cosmelan requires two treatments: a mask that is can only be applied by trained professionals, and a maintenance cream that can be used at home. Clinics that apply the mask report that customers can suffer from flaking and red skin after three to four days. These clinics usually charge between $500 and $1000 for a Cosmelan treatment; the company web site does not list any costs for the materials themselves.

In favor of Cosmelan:

  • Treats many forms of hyperpigmentation
  • Has been shown to be highly effective
  • Manufactured by a firm with skin-care experience

Against Cosmelan:

  • Causes flaking and reddening
  • Must be applied by a professional
  • Treatments costly – and true cost unknown

The biggest drawback to Cosmelan is the fact that the first treatment must be applied by a professional. This limits access to Cosmelan, and also makes it hard to comparison-shop. If someone does decide to seek the treatment, however, the improvements are dramatic.

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