Questions re pigment problems, peels and hydroquinones?

1. Are the positive lightening results of using hydroquinone permanent? I know I need to use sunscreen and wear hats (which I do daily) but will the lightening eventually reverse and if so then what can be done since using the hydroquinone is recommended for only temporary usage? 2. Would it be safe for me to have additional TCA peels after my last experience? 3. How long of a break should I have between hydroquinone use and my next peel? 4. I would simply like to know whether or not I can have long term results from hyperpigmentation if I get some good results from the hydroquinone and then back it up, so to speak, with an occasional TCA peel. Daily SPF usage is the norm for me but I've been avoiding the sun and wearing hats for the past 18 months more than ever before and the hyperpigmenation seems to have gotten worse during that time.

Hi Annie –   many of the answers to your questions depend on:

  • Your underlying skin type –  dermatology uses a 1-6 scale at the moment with 1 being almost no pigment like a true redhead and 6 being  a very dark espresso shade.  Pigment behaves differently in each.
  • Where you live –  you will be much more exposed to UV light in Texas than Canada
  • How much time you spend outside –  someone training for a marathon or with an outdoor job, has different UV light issues than someone in an office all day.

Also, your situation is complicated and do you have a dermtologist advising you –  if not – please see our resources guide to find a good dermatologist near you.

I hear you about this pigmentation getting worse.  In some patients hydroquinones and/or peels DO make the pigment worse.  It’s  a very delicate balance sometimes.

Please write again if you want with more of the specifics.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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