Randomized clinical trial of facial acupuncture with or without body acupuncture for treatment of melasma

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Feb;22:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.10.004. Epub 2015 Oct 30.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatments in treating facial melasma, contrasting treatments involving facial acupuncture with facial/body acupuncture.

Method: Women suffering with melasma were randomly assigned into: 1) facial acupuncture (n = 20); or 2) facial/body acupuncture (n = 21). Each group was given 2 sessions per week for 8 weeks. Melasma area and darkness of its pigmentation were assessed using digital images.

Results: 95.2% and 90% of participants in facial/body and facial acupuncture, respectively, had decreased melasma areas, with a mean reduction area being 2.6 cm(2) (95%CI 1.6-3.6 cm(2)) and 2.4 cm(2) (95%CI 1.6-3.3 cm(2)), respectively. 66.7% (facial/body acupuncture) and 80.0% (facial acupuncture) of participants had lighter melasma pigmentation compared to their baselines (p-value = 0.482).

Conclusions: Facial acupuncture, with or without body acupuncture, was shown to be effective in decreasing the size of melasma areas. This study is registered with the Thai Clinical Trial Registry (TCTR20140903004).

Keywords: Acupuncture therapy; Melasma; Randomized clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • Face / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanosis / therapy*
  • Middle Aged

Associated data

  • TCTR/TCTR20140903004