According to Elle magazine, September 2012, in the United States, we are very devoted to moisturizers and collagen-boosting serums, but our demand for brown spot lightening is steadily rising, especially since publication of a 2006 study, indicating that hyperpigmentation can impact on a woman’s perceived age by up to twenty years.
The Japanese spend a huge percentage of their beauty dollars on targeting “shimi.” Here we call them “spots” and they can apply to any skin discoloration, including freckles, UV-induced brown patches, melasma and those pinpoint spots that remain after a pimple has healed.
A prominent Miami dermatologist prescribes an aggressive treatment of Retin-A (exfoliates so bleaching creams will better penetrate) and hydroquinone for melasma. He says that melasma is so difficult to treat because it has a memory; the slightest bit of sun will set it off. Not all lasers work well for melasma. Fraxel, which can be used on a gentle low energy setting, is effective and “Q-switched lasers are great because they have a short pulse-width. They’re attracted to the brown pigmentation, and they kind of explode it.”
Of course, the number one weapon in the battle for even-toned and spot free skin is daily sunscreen (SPF 30 or more). If you have a zit and you go out without sunscreen, you’re essentially tanning your pimple. The second thing to remember is that when it comes to melasma, not all lasers are equal. A board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist can select the correct treatment.