How Does Cosmelan Work?

iValuaVitaly/iStock/Getty Images

What is Cosmelan?

Cosmelan is a topical treatment that is available through dermatologists. The treatment is used to hyper-pigmentation (dark areas on the skin) and some types of skin scarring. Cosmelan may be used on the face or on the body. There are two mechanisms of action that Cosmelan uses to reduce hyper-pigmentation. It exfoliates the skin to even skin tone and it inhibits the production of melanin. Melanin is what produces color in the skin. Cosmelan comes in a kit that contains four products. The four products are a degreasing solution, Cosmelan mask, Cosmelan cream and a Vitamin K cream.

Degreasing Agent

The degreasing agent contains water and acetone. A dermatologist cleanses the skin with the degreasing agent before applying the mask. The purpose of the degreasing agent is to remove oils from the skin so that the Cosmelan mask can easily penetrate the surface of the skin.

Cosmelan Mask

A dermatologist applies the Cosmelan mask to the skin. The mask is a strong topical cream mask that works to quickly reduce hyper-pigmentation. After the dermatologist applies the mask, the patient is sent home with instructions on when and how to remove it. The mask is worn for 4 to 8 hours. The more damage to the skin, the longer the mask is worn. The mask is only applied once at the beginning of the Cosmelan treatment.

Removing the Mask

The patient removes the mask at home after the amount of time the dermatologist advised has lapsed. The mask is removed using a gentle cleanser and water. Usually the dermatologist recommends a specific cleanser to reduce skin sensitivity. After washing the mask from the skin, the patient applies the Hydra Vital Factor K Cream to the treated area. The Vitamin K cream moisturizes and heals the skin. The patient applies sunscreen before sun exposure to prevent further sun damage.

Cosmelan 2 and Hydra Vital Factor K Cream

Daily, the patient applies the Cosmelan 2 cream followed by the Hydra Vital Factor K Cream. Both creams are applied 2 to 3 times a day as prescribed by the dermatologist. Length of the treatment is guided by the dermatologist. To prevent hyper-pigmentation from returning, the Cosmelan 2 cream can be used once a day indefinitely after the end of treatment. Sunscreen should always be used to prevent further hyper-pigmentation damage to the skin.

Skin Irritation

The initial treatment with the Cosmelan mask can cause skin redness in some people. Treatment with Cosmelan 2 cream can cause flaking of the skin and skin dryness. The Hydra Vital Factor K Cream can be applied every few hours if needed to relieve severe dryness. Skin irritation usually subsides after 2 weeks.


Results can be seen within a few days. Full results are typically seen after 3 to 6 weeks of treatment. If the use of Cosmelan 2 cream is discontinued, hyper-pigmentation can come back. Using the Cosmelan 2 cream continually reduces the likelihood of the hyper-pigmentation returning.