Many people find freckles attractive but I wanted mine gone so I turned to hydroquinone. My once adorable freckles turned into dark splotchy patches and I was very self conscious of my skin. Several dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons suggested the use of a hydroquinone based cream. I was willing to give that a try before spending money on laser treatments. After all, the cream was less than $100. Laser treatments exceed $1000 but I’ve also heard of the laser treatments can increase pigmentation with certain skin types, particularly darker skin. That’s alarming to me even though I’m quite fair. Now, I’ve tried hydroquinone based creams in the past from drug stores and the creams didn’t make a difference. Later, I learned the maximum dosage in an over the counter cream was 2% hydroquinone. The products you can purchase from a physician’s office are 4% – 8% hydroquinone. A big difference! I purchased a product called Blender (Step 5) of Obagi which is 4% hydroquinone and after about 6 weeks of using it nightly, my skin was more even toned and spots were fading. After several months of use, spots faded enough that I was willing to go out without makeup on.
Google it! “Hydroquinone”
If you Google hydroquinone, guess what? You’ll find various articles saying how effective it is. You will also find articles saying it may cause cancer, skin damage and who knows what else. Perhaps, your left arm will fall off? Despite this, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons prescribe the cream all the time. Actually, you can just walk into any office or medical spa and purchase it. You don’t have to see a doctor to purchase it. I wondered… if there’s so much out there saying the product is harmful why would these physicians put their reputation on the line and keep selling it? I asked a doctor that question and he said because there is no scientific evidence that the cream causes damage. Also, if you examine the sources where this information comes from, it’s often promoting other products with different ingredients intended to accomplish the same thing. Honestly, no matter what the topic is, you can find a well written article from what seems like a reliable source supporting any position you want to see. I can find as many articles saying formula is better than breast milk as I can that say breast milk is better than formula. So, I’m not buying into anything about hydroquinone unless a medical journal is put before me with a study showing results with statistical relevance. Even with relevant results, if .005% of people experienced something negative when using a product, I’d probably still use it. If 10% of users had negative effects, I’d think things through more carefully.
Lightening my skin with Obagi Blender
So anyhow, back to Obagi Blender. This wasn’t my favorite product because it smelled so bad. OK seriously, it smelled disgusting. I don’t know how they accomplished such a grotesque odor. However, the product works and it lightened the dark spots on my skin. After using it for a few months, I purchased another product that was formulated by a doctor with 5% hydroquinone and .05% Retin A.
I use this other formula every few days now for maintenance and it’s worked great with no side effects or odor. There are commercial products with similar combinations such as Tri-Luma which have been popular for many years. So, as long as I can avoid laser treatments, I’ll keep using the hydroquinone creams. So far, I’ve been really pleased with the results. It’s important when using these types of products to protect your skin with sunscreen but being a beauty fanatic, you probably already do that anyhow. 🙂
Have you tried any products to lighten and fade spots or the effects of melasma on your skin? I have seen other products marketed that state they are very effective but I haven’t tried them. Here is a picture of how my skin looks now. Since I refused to be photographed prior to lightening my skin, I have no before photos! I have a little makeup on in this photo but you can see how even the skin tone is. When I apply my usual amount of makeup, the skin now appears almost flawless. You just have to be patient and give the product time to work.