Advanced Medical Skin Care
We provide medical skin care products that help to cleanse, moisture, protect, stimulate collagen production and exfoliate the skin in order to reduce fine lines, to tone and restore glow, to protect against the harmful effects of solar radiation and pollution, and generally slow the effects of ageing on the skin.
The first and most recommended line of treatment is a topical combination hydroquinone cream, avoiding sun, and NO estrogen exposure.
Hydroquinone has been used for years in melasma treatment. It’s still used alone or combined with other products. HQ blocks a critical step in the formation of melanin. It lightens the skin, essentially by lightening the pigment where it is applied.
Hydroquinone formulations (3% or more HQ) are available from a doctors and medical clinics. The stronger the formulation, the better it works – but stronger formulations have more adverse effects, especially when used long term. Some of the possible side effects are skin irritation, light sensitivity with a secondary reaction that causes more skin darkening, and irreversible ochronosis ( ie onchronosis is a rare disease with speckles of dark brown or black spots sprinkled symmetrically over the face, neck, and other sun-exposed areas.)
In an effort to minimize side effects, doctor commonly cycle hydroquinone. In other words, they prescribe hydroquinone products for 4 months, stop for 4 months, then start again for 4 months, and so on. During off months, a HQ-free skin brightener is recommended.
Hydroquinone has been banned in some countries over concerns of an increased cancer risk. However, it’s important to say that there was no cancerous injuries association has been found in the 50+ year history of the use of HQ. To date, all concerns regarding HQ’s potential toxic effect are considered speculation.
You may need to experiment with several different treatments to determine the best combination for your melasma.
Topical retinoids are a form of vitamin A. Retinoids speed up cell turnover, which speeds up the removal of dark skin cells. They decrease the number of melanocytes, the cells that make pigment and cause skin darkening. They also increase the penetration of other products. Retinoids work more slowly than HQ. You’ll see improvement after about 6 months – or more.
The major side effect of retinoids is mild skin irritation (redness and flaking), especially when higher concentrations are used.
Retinol is a great alternative to Retinoic acid (the prescription form of vitamin A called Retin-A) because it is much less irritating.
A stabilized pure retinol at 0.5% will give faster results than a retinol complex. (A retinol complex is a blend of different strengths of retinol.) If you use retinol blended with calming and soothing ingredients, it will cause much less irritation. Retinoids should always be used at night because the sun makes vitamin A inactive.
NB: Oral retinoids are a bad idea for pregnant women or women attempting to become pregnant because they can cause birth defects. Experts advise against using topical retinoids while pregnant or breastfeeding also – just to be safe.
Vitamin C Treatments and other topical treatments
There are a number of topical agents that helps with pigmentation, such as vitamin C, Kojic acid, azelaic acid, niacinamide, ellagic acid, tranexamic acid and others. Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is well known and is used in combinations with other active ingredients. L-Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that prevents the formation of free-radicals and absorption of UV radiation. It also prevents melanin from forming. Vitamin C is one of the few topical ingredients that have clinical studies to back its effectiveness. It works as an antioxidant to stop the free radicals that trigger wrinkling, sagging, and other ageing changes. Vitamin C also helps smooth and firm skin and it helps fade brown spots.
With age and sun exposure, your body’s ability to make collagen decreases, leading to wrinkles. Vitamin C has been proven to stimulate new collagen formation and minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.