September 23, 2012
How to Get Rid of Brown Spots (Sort Of)
Brown spots from sun damage or from hormones (which is called melasma) are the hardest things to treat. They are so stubborn. I had a dermatologist tell me recently that she'd rather treat a wrinkle than a brown spot because it's easier.
Spots are stubborn because they have incredible memory, and they just want to keep coming back and back again. The best way to fade them is with a laser treatment at your dermatologist or plastic surgeon's office. But please make sure you are going to someone who knows what they are doing, and it's not like, a dentist who also does laser treatments on the side.
Most people who ask me about spots want to fade them at home with products. I hate to break it to you, but 99 percent of products that claim to "brighten" or "even skin tone" don't work. Spots are just too tough. Even if they do work, it can take months to see even a slight fading, and most people give up by then.
One topical ingredient that really does work is hydroquinone. I recommend that you use it under the guidance of a dermatologist so you don't go screwing up your face. (It can be powerful stuff.) It comes in a prescription form, or there are two OTC brands that have a good reputation for fading spots: Obagi and Neocutis.
There's also a new product on the market that has been getting a lot of buzz, and I really want to try it. It's called Elure, and Dr. Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist who is always on the forefront of the best skincare technology, has said that she's seen brown spots fade in as little as four weeks with this stuff.
There's one nonnegotiable rule you have to follow when treating spots. You absolutely must wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine, and SPF in your makeup doesn't count. Like I said, spots have incredible memory and all it takes is the tiniest bit of UV exposure and they come bouncing back, so there's no point in going through all the trouble to fade them if you're not going to be diligent about sunscreen.
*You may have noticed that I frequently use pictures of Cate Blanchett to demonstrate perfect skin. She's just so gorgeous it makes me want to puke.