The skincare market is filled with creams that promise to fade discoloration and brown spots. Every season there is a new spot-fading product with new ingredients and new claims. Just how effective are these creams and is it worth spending the time and money for these products?
Despite the myriad of brands and creams available in the market, there are only a few ingredients that are considered mainstream for the purpose of fading brown discoloration. Hydroquinone, also available in a weaker over-the-counter formulation, is the most effective ingredient prescribed by dermatologists to fade brown discoloration. Although considered more effective than other mainstream ingredients such as azelaic acid or vitamin C, hydroquinone’s efficacy is still limited and results are variable. Furthermore, hydroquinone can have a potentially undesired effect of irreversible darkening if used for a prolonged period of time.
The problem with topical treatment for discoloration is that there is a reliance of the cream or lotion to penetrate through the skin and reach only the areas in which the discoloration exists. In reality, there is limited penetration of the formulation and no selective targeting of the discolored areas. Hence, the results of using topical formulas to treat discoloration have never been optimal.
In recent decades, advances in laser technology has transformed the field of dermatology and allowed for a scientifically targeted approach in dealing with skin discoloration. Specific pigment lasers have the capability to selectively eliminate the darker skin cells and spare the normal skin cells. This translates into an effective and scientifically elegant way to remove brown spots in one or several treatment sessions without the uncertainty of whether and when a cream will be able to fade a brown spot. That being said, it is also critical to ensure that the operator of the laser device has a profound understanding of the biophysical interactions between skin and laser energy.
So, next time you’re at the beauty store you can be a bit more savvy about the ingredients contained in and what to expect from fading creams. There is real science behind brown spot removal, and the proof is in the clear-cut results.
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