A Safer Alternative For Treating Brown Patches On The Skin

Stubborn brown spots, sun spots, and brown patches on the skin are a concern for many, and while there are topical skin care products that can help to encourage their fading, one in particular is not without controversy. Hydroquinone is a commonly used skin bleaching agent that inhibits Tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in producing pigment. The controversy around Hydroquinone revolves around redness and skin irritation, but some reports have shown it as possibly causing liver cancer and leukemia in rats. Countries such as Europe, South Africa, and Japan have banned its use, but in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers it safe and it is commonly prescribed by dermatologists.

While I generally support the FDA, and have seen the positive impact it can make in reducing these stubborn brown spots for many of my clients, I do understand people’s concern in wanting to find a natural, less controversial solution. Adding to the controversy, the Texas Attorney General’s office has made one known Hydroquinone maker remove all their products using this ingredient from the shelves of spas and medical offices. So, for those who live in Texas, Hydroquinone may be harder to access. This also has happened in the state of Florida.

For a Hydroquinone-free alternative, look for products that contain high concentrations of Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Kojic Acid, and Licorice Extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which can help inhibit melanin production…

My Vitamin C&E Treatment has been hugely beneficial for our clients in fading stubborn brown spots, sun spots and even discoloration due to hormones and pregnancy and it’s hydroquinone-free! It’s suggested to use underneath a daytime sunscreen, 365 days a year to suppress melanin activity. (We call it a “glow in a bottle.”)

Read: How Deep Are Your Sun Spots?

Read: Seeing Brown Spots? You’ll Be Surprised At One Of The Causes

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or FaceTime.

For more expert advice check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time. Get the #ReneeRouleauGlow!

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.


Post a comment
  1. Hello Renee! I have super sensitive skin and I am trying to treat some stubborn melsma spots. The problem I have encountered is that most melsma treatments irritate my skin, causing inflamation, which only seems to make my melasma worse. How would you recommend I treat my condition without irritating my skin or pemanently altering my natural skin color? Thanks!

    Posted By: Elizabeth Stefano  | 

    • Hi Elizabeth, The Vitamin C&E Treatment would be perfect for you as it’s non-irritating. Ultimately, if what you’re using is inflaming your skin, that is never good and will only keep melanin cells stimulated. I recently wrote a post about pigmentation which can give you more tips for how I treat discoloration for my clients. Read this post.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • Thanks! You rock

        Posted By: Elizabeth  | 

      • The vit c and e instantly irritates my skin. Could it be the oils?!

        Posted By: Sandy  | 

      • Hi Sandy, Are you referring to our Vitamin C&E Treatment specifically? It is a no-sting formula so if ti’s stinging your skin or causing irritation, it could be that you have a damaged moisture barrier and your skin is very reactive to almost everything. Read more about this here.

        Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • Yes thanks! That sounds like what’s happened. It’s been since I’ve been using a zinc/titanium sunscreen every 3hrs or so. Do you think it is too drying? I have the pro remedy oil I’ll start using.

        Posted By: Sandy  | 

  2. What are your thoughts on retinol for lightening melasma or sun spots?

    Posted By: Sandy  | 

  3. can I use this if I am a type 1 ??? 39 years old battleling with adult acne

    Posted By: ERIKA GONZALEZ  | 

    • Yes, you can Erika. I would suggest alternating with the Skin Correcting Serum in the morning under the Daily Protection SPF 30.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  4. Would this help with dermal melasma as well? Can Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate penetrate the dermis? Thanks!

    Posted By: Ashly  | 

    • This is a hydroquinone alternative, so it can work just as effectively as that but safer. Both MAP and Hydroquinone can help dermal melasma for some. Others have to go for laser treatments if they don’t respond with topicals. But it’s also a great anti-aging antioxidant and should be used regardless of melasma. It’s worth trying for sure!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


Post a Comment:

Find your
skin type

Great skin starts with knowing your skin type. Take our quiz to get personalized tips and product recommendations.

Take the Quiz