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Q: I used Clinique's Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector for three months. I did notice a minimal difference after a week, but that didn't last long. I developed blackheads (never had blackheads before this—I'm 35). I also used the Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer religiously. I saw no results (other than the week of slight improvement).
Now I have been using NeoStrata HQ Skin Lightening Gel (2 percent hydroquinone) for a month. No change with this product with either. I've only been applying this to two spots of hyperpigmentation on my upper lip. I'm going to stick it out for another month.
My sister-in-law used Lustra (4 percent hydroquinone), and had wonderful results. She stopped using it after four months, and her spots are back.
I've grown a little tired of searching for a "miracle in a bottle." Are there any products or procedures you can recommend? — Kim
A: Kim, the pigmentation you are describing may be melasma, which is very hard to treat.
Higher strength hydroquinones, like the Lustra you describe, may help.
Melasma will commonly recur, especially if there is sun exposure to the area. Apply a strong sunscreen to the area every day to prevent it from getting worse or recurring.
If none of the products are working, then see a dermatologist, who can make a proper diagnosis and recommend a treatment regimen.
Dr. Nowell Solish is one of Canada's top cosmetic dermatologists, with an office at 66 Avenue Road, Suite 1, in Toronto. Call 416-964-8888 to book an appointment.