La Roche Posay MelaB3 is a commercially available over the counter pigment corrector recently launched in Australia. It contains key ingredients that prevent pigment formation, reduces skin inflammation, builds collagen & provides exfoliation & skin renewal. Read more to understand how MelaB3 fits into our pigment corrector portfolio at The Melasma Clinic. 


Pigment corrector

When to use

Twice daily

Works with

Most pigment programs

Caution with


Dermatologist science score

What is MelaB3?

MelaB3 dark spot serum is an innovative pigment corrector that combines novel ingredients such as Melasyl, retinyl palmitate, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, & algae derived botanicals. It can potentially provide pigment reduction for melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, dark circles & other forms of pigmentation. 


What are the key ingredients of MelaB3?

This proprietary formulation by La Roche Posay combines key ingredients in optimal concentrations that have synergistic roles in reducing pigment production.

Melasyl: blocks pigment precursors in the upper layers of skin. 

Niacinamide: known as B3 (hence the name MelaB3) is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can also reduce pigmentation & has a photoprotective role (albeit small). MelaB3 has 10% niacinamide, the highest in the La Roche Posay range. 

Retinyl palmitate: MelaB3 has a low concentration of retinyl (0.2%). This retinoid precursor requires conversion in the skin to form more powerful retinoids. Retinoids can reduce pigment by acting as exfoliants, inhibiting pigment formation, as well as increasing the strength of the basement membrane of skin. 

Carnosine: is a powerful antioxidant with DNA protective roles. 

Cystoseira tamariscifolia: is a novel seaweed extract that can active collagen producing cells.

Hyaluronic acid: hydrates the skin & reduces water loss.

melab3 dark spot serum

How much does the La Roche Posay MelaB3 cost & where can I buy it?

The Australian pricing is $79.95 recommended retail; however, Chemist Warehouse can offer it at a discounted price. It is sold in most pharmacies & can be purchased online. 

As this is an entry level non-prescriptive formulation, we do not sell it at our Brisbane & Sydney clinics. 

How to use MelaB3?

MelaB3 recommended application is twice daily as part of your pigmentation reduction program. 

How good is it as a pigment corrector?

The following are claims from the manufacturer, La Roche Posay. For our personal viewpoint, scroll to the end of this page. 

La Roche claims that MelaB3 produces better pigment removal than-

  • Hydroquinone 4%
  • Ascorbic acid 7%
  • Kojic acid 1%
  • Tranexamic acid 1% 

*Results after 16 weeks. 

**Real world results will probably differ as dermatologists prescribe the above listed pigment correctors in higher concentrations to optimise outcomes. Ideally MelaB3 should be compared to the usual clinical prescriptive concentrations. 

pigment serum

What are more powerful pigment correctors?

Remember, MelaB3 is designed as an entry level, cost effective, over the counter, readily accessible, mass-produced product that is well tolerated by most (skin irritation is the rate limiting factor for more powerful products, including prescriptive skin care). 

The head-to-head comparisons of MelaB3 vs other pigment correctors we conducted at much lower concentrations than what dermatologists normally prescribe. In theory (as no comparison studies have been conducted by La Roche Posay), higher concentrations of hydroquinone, vitamin C & tranexamic acid will probably produce better results, albeit a high rate of skin irritation. 

What are the side effects of MelaB3?

Side effects are extremely uncommon as MelaB3 is a gentle formulation. It is well tolerated as it has a higher pH than vitamin C. Additionally it contains niacinamide 10%, which is anti-inflammatory. 

Because MelaB3 contains retinol (as retinyl palmitate) it is not recommended in pregnancy & breast feeding. 

How soon can I see results?

Initial results (as monotherapy or standalone supplementation) with sunscreen may take up to 16 weeks. 

*The Melasma Clinic approaches pigment clinically, namely we diagnose, prescribe & treat pigment. In most cases we provide faster more precise results than over the counter skin care. 

What other treatments do we combine with MelaB3?

Our team at The Melasma Clinic combines pigment correctors with procedures to quickly remove unwanted pigmentation.  

  • Lasers: Picosure Pro, Picoway, Pastelle, C6 Revlite, LaseMD Ultra.
  • Chemical peels: Dermamelan, Cosmelan, Vi Peels, glycolic & retinoic acids.
  • Oral supplementation with polypodium extract.
  • Pigment correctors: Vitamin C, arbutin, HQ, kojic acid, botanicals.
  • Plasminogen modifiers: oral, intradermal & topical. 

Can MelaB3 be used in all skin types?

La Roche Posay’s extensive testing has shown that MelaB3 is safe & effective in all skin types, ranging from fair to darker skin. Additionally, it has a much lower irritant potential as compared to vitamin C, retinoids, HQ, kojic acid & cysteamine. 

Is MelaB3 worth it?

Depends on how you see it. Our view is that it is worth trying only if you have deep understanding on the level of photoprotection. Throughout this website (& repeated in our socials) the rate liming factor for pigment resolution is not the product, it is the level of sun protection. 

Before buying MelaB3 invest your money & efforts with sunscreen. Here is a quick checklist- 

  • SPF 50 plus, tinted daily. 2 applications, correct amount (2 finger lengths). Iron oxide formulations. 
  • SPF 50+, waterproof or for activity, zinc or titanium dioxide. 
  • Adjunctive sun protection; hats, tint, umbrellas. 
  • Pigment diagnosis (type, level ,cause)

*MelaB3 pairs well with Anthelios XL La Roche Posay tinted line of sunscreens. 

best sunscreen for melasma pigmentation
Sunscreen with Iron Oxides

Why is sunscreen essential with any pigment corrector, including MelaB3?

Sunscreens protect against UVB, UVA & in some cases visible light radiation. MelaB3 on the other hand reduces formation of pigment by inhibiting pigment precursors. 

The MelaB3 dark spot serum can also reduce pigment production, & aid in exfoliation of the upper layers of skin. 

What does a simple skin care routine that is frequently combined with MelaB3?

AM: Polypodium orally, MelaB3, SPF tinted.

Midday: Polypodium supplement, reapplication of sunscreen.

PM: MelaB3. 

Weekends: AHA serum as a chemical exfoliator (as tolerated). 

*The exact formulations, timings, & application frequency is modified according to your skin sensitives. For more information on the ideal skin care formulations, book a consultation with our dermal therapists at The Melasma Clinic.

What other pigmentation conditions can be treated with MelaB3?

Apart from melasma, MelaB3 has shown to have efficacy in treating– 

  • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to acne.
  • Some forms of dark circles. 
  • Sun damage including freckles & age spots.
  • Photoaging as part of an antiaging skin care program.

What conditions are resistant to MelaB3 treatment?

Topical formulations are not effective in treating deeper forms of pigmentation including-

  • Hori
  • Ota pigment
  • Dermal melasma
  • Macular age warts
  • Drug induced pigmentation.
  • Miscellaneous conditions such as Ashy dermatosis, constitutional dark circles, acanthosis nigricans & many more.

*Dermatologists approach pigment with a diagnosis, namely, to understand the cause of the disorder, prior to initiating therapy. 

How long can I use MelaB3 for?

Unlike some pigment correctors, there is  as there are no safety issues, apart from pregnancy & lactation recommendations. 

Dermatologists recommend long term use, coupled with appropriate use of sunscreens & other forms of photoprotection. 

melab3 dark spot serum

What are other skin care ingredients that can treat melasma?

Other skin care ingredients that can reduce melasma & other forms of pigmentation include-

  1. Arbutin
  2. Kojic acid
  3. Arbutin 
  4. Azelaic acid 
  5. Plant extracts include liquorice root, bearberries.
  6. Skin vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin E & ferulic acid. 
  7. Skin acids include glycolic, lactic, & mandelic acids. 

What oral supplements can help with melasma?

Apart from polypodium, there are no other supplements that we recommend. You can however add the following as part of your anti-aging / healthy living approach to life.

  • Vitamin C (as antioxidants) 
  • Vitamin E & fish oil (antioxidants) 
  • Green tea, gingko, ginseng root, liquorice root extracts

What is our signature treatment for melasma at the clinic?

Though MelaB3 is a useful skincare formulation for pigment, specialist do not prescribe it in clinic, as we have our own bespoke melasma treatments. They include-

  • Customised prescriptive skin care infused with pigment correctors, specific to the type of pigment, skin type (colour) as well as skin sensitivities. 
  • Laser program that includes the use of pigment lasers such as Picosure Pro, Fraxel & other fractional laser systems. 
  • Customised peeling with slow-release formulations of phenol, TCA, retinoic & phytic acid. 

Each program is customised for the patient to ensure maximal results in the shortest possible time frame. 

A SummaryDavin’s viewpoint on MelaB3 for melasma & pigmentation

Dr Davin Lim | Dermatologist
The Melasma Clinic, Brisbane | Sydney

Dr Davin Lim | Dermatologist
Sydney, Australia 

MelaB3 is an excellent starting point for patients wanting to treat skin pigmentation at an entry level with a formulated mix that is well tolerated. La Roche Posay has cut the guess work as to how to combine ingredients in this convenient optimised formulation. 


An important concept to grasp is that MelaB3 is not the best solution for all forms of pigmentation. As an affordable over the counter product, it fills the niche between non-specific formulations & prescriptive skin care. The range of pigmentary conditions that can be treated with this novel formulation ranges from mild epidermal melasma to freckles. A realistic expectation is a 20 to 60% reduction of pigment over 16 weeks, with adjunctive sunscreens. Given the low cost of this product, it is worth trying.