February 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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In the field of dermatology, skin discoloration is one of the most difficult conditions to solve. The medically sanctioned ingredient to tackle the problem is called hydroquinone. It works by inhibiting the manufacture of new pigment cells. However, it doesn’t do anything for dark spots once they’ve appeared. Pigment cells have about a six-week life span, after which they break down and are replaced by new cells. So if hydroquinone is prescribed, and the formation of some of the new pigment cells is inhibited, dark spots may fade from your complexion over time. The typical prescription dose of hydroquinone is 4 percent, but even at that strength it is only moderately effective. Sometimes, combined with glycolic acid, its effectiveness improves a bit, but I have yet to speak with a patient who was completely satisfied with the outcome of any prescription fading cream.

So why, you may ask, isn’t hydroquinone prescribed in a higher strength?

The answer is that if the percentage is increased it becomes very irritating. It’s a classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Hydroquinone, by law, cannot be sold over-the-counter in more than 2 percent strength. So you see, if it works only moderately at 4 percent strength, it’s no wonder that the high-priced department store brand creams with only half the power are not effective. This time, as I said, the cosmetics industry can’t be held entirely at fault.

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Dr. Adrienne Denses, M.D.
Secrets For Ageless Skin
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