The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of gel formulations containing arbutin, synthetic ellagic acid and plant extracts that contain ellagic acid, on patients with melasma. Thirty patients who applied to Ege University Medical Faculty, Department of Dermatology, were included in the study. A signed consent was obtained from each patient prior to study. Patients whose type of melasma was determined via Wood's lamp were randomized to groups of arbutin, synthetic ellagic acid and plant extract containing natural ellagic acid. The pigment density of patients was evaluated via Mexameter before and after the treatment. The approval of the Institutional Ethics Committee of Ege University was obtained before the study. Wilcoxon and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used in the statistical analysis. Nine of 10 patients, for whom synthetic ellagic acid was started, completed the study. A decrease in the level of melanin was determined in eight of these nine patients (P = 0.038). A significant decrease in the level of melanin was also determined in all 10 patients who used plant extract containing ellagic acid (P = 0.05). A significant response was obtained from all of 10 patients who used arbutin. The difference between pre- and post-treatment levels of melanin was statistically significant (P = 0.05). Formulations prepared with plant extracts containing ellagic acid was found effective on melasma, similar to the formulations containing synthetic ellagic acid and arbutin. This material that is not yet being used widespread commercially on melasma could be an effective alternative for treatment of melasma.