I’ve had freckles for as long as I can remember, but at some point the cute little spots grew, clumped together, and turned into big brown spots also known of as Melasma. Over the years I kept skin condition at bay with various over-the-counter potions, one of which I write about in the post A Skin Care Odyssey, but then I got lazy, and the spots grew and grew and got really bad. They got so bad my father was worried, so I decided to see a dermatologist to make sure that the problem was only cosmetic, and to see if there was a prescription-grade formula that would tame the spots into submission. It turns out there’s a lot you can do to treat Melasma, but although I wanted to write about it I simply don’t feel that I am enough of an expert on the subject, so I will turn it over to dermatologist Doctor Lisa Rhodes, who was kind enough to submit this guest post on how to effectively treat Melasma.
After developing several brown spots on her face Heather decided to see a dermatologist for treatment. The diagnosis: Melasma, a common condition that results in irregular hyperpigmentation (tan or dark discoloration) usually in the facial region. You can learn more about Melsama here.
Probably one of the best options for treating Melsama is the simple use of Hydroquinone, a skin lightening cream, for about two and a half months. Hydroquinone is a cream with skin bleaching or lightening properties. Basically hydroquinone helps with various hyperpigmentation conditions (melasma, “sun spots”, “age spots” and freckles) by blocking the process in the skin that leads to discoloration. Some hydroquinone cream also contains sunscreens (SPF) to prevent the reappearance of spots from UV ray exposure.
The cream is applied twice a day during the weekdays (Heather got to take a break on the weekends). She’s been using the cream for several weeks and thus far it’s worked really well:
Adding Retinol to this treatment mix could make the hydroquinone treatment more effective. Retinol promotes the absorption of the hydroquinone into the skin, boosting the results of the treatment. Retinol also helps with cell turnover (when older cells are eliminated and replaced with newly generated cells) to help the skin renew. Depending on how her skin reacts to the hydroquinone Retinol may or may not be added to the mix.
Do you have any pigmentation related spots that you want removed? I would encourage any readers with similar issues to consult a certified dermatologist. Today’s treatments for many of these issues are incredibly easy and effective.
About The Author
Dr. Lisa Rhodes is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology and practices medical dermatology at Westlake Dermatology.
After three months of using a topical Hydroquinone cream I went back to see my dermatologist and she was very happy with the results. To continue eliminating my faded, but still visible, brown spots I will be mixing the same cream I used before with a Retinol cream about every other night for another three months. I doubt I’ll every be completely brown spot free, after all I am freckly by nature, but I now can cover up the brown spots pretty easily with makeup. So you know these photos were all taken without a drop of cosmetic enhancement! That’s the real me. No foundation, good lighting, or fancy Instagram filters.
Do you have brown spots? Have you ever had them treated by a dermatologist?