Botanicals May Rid Age Spots Just As Well As Hydroquinone

You may have noticed more plant ingredients in your favorite skin-care lines, as scientists are constantly learning how natural ingredients can improve complexions and even reverse damage and signs of aging. One new finding is the use of botanicals to reduce melasma (sun-related age spots) according to High Point, NC, clinical dermatologist Zoe Draelos, MD, who reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

She said mushroom-derived kojic acid, liquiritin and isoquercetin from licorice extracts, and arbutin from bearberries (pictured) used in combination, can work as well as hydroquinone, the only FDA-approved agent for skin lightening.

“Interestingly enough, arbutin is very similar to glycosylated hydroquinone, and it has been used in Indian tribal medicine,” Dr. Draelos explained.

Hydroquinone may cause slight burning or redness, and rare allergic reactions. Your body can also eventually develop a resistance against it, which may cause some users to seek other natural treatments.

“You should stop using hydroquinone every three to four months to give your skin a break from it,” Miami, FL, dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, told NewBeauty magazine.

Dr. Draelos said other natural ingredients that help the treatment of melasma include soy and Indian gooseberry, which is rich in vitamin C, tannins and flavonoids that inhibit the cell production of melanin. However, “the depth of pigment is key to treatment success. Sunscreens, pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and surgical treatments may be used individually or in combination to treat melanoma.”

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