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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Treating Pigmented Areas
August 2000

Q. What products out there (or ingredients in products) truly fade scars, stretch marks and age spots?

A. Before treating those pigmented areas that concern you, be sure to have your doctor or a dermatologist take a look at them. If there is any concern that there is skin cancer or a pre-cancerous spot, a biopsy may be needed. If they are determined to be just a cosmetic problem, several treatments are available to bleach or lighten the skin:

  1. hydroquinone formulations: 2% (over-the-counter) and 4% (prescription); many brands are available including Eldopauque, Solarquin, Lustra, and others
  2. azelaic acid
  3. kojic acid
  4. a-hydroxy acid products
  5. superficial chemical peels
Sun protection is also quite important to prevent worsening of the condition.

HELPFUL WEBSITES:

  • http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~zatz/Skinprobs/Hyperpig.html
  • http://www.derm-infonet.com/
MEDICAL REFERENCES (usually available through the library of your local hospital):
  • Pramphongsant T: Treatment of Melasma: A Review with Personal Experience. Int J Dermdatol 37:897, 1998
  • Pandya AG, Guevara IL.
    Disorders of Hyperpigmentation. Dermatol Clin. 2000 Jan;18(1):91-8, ix. Review.
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