We sought to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of treating melasma using a 4% hydroquinone skin care system, including a proprietary cleanser, toner, 4% hydroquinone, exfoliation enhancer, and sunscreen, plus tretinoin cream 0.025%. Together these products offer not only treatment of melasma but also a complete skin care regimen. Twenty participants with mild or moderate epidermal melasma with Fitzpatrick skin types III to VI were instructed to use the hydroquinone skin care system and tretinoin cream for 12 weeks.
Melasma severity, melasma pigmentation intensity, and melasma area and severity index (MASI) score were significantly reduced from week 4 onward relative to baseline (P≤ .01). The proportion of participants who felt embarrassed or self-conscious about their skin very much or a lot declined from 80% (16/20) to 20% (4/20) between baseline and week 12. Similarly, the proportion of those who made very much or a lot of effort to hide their skin discoloration declined from 90% (18/20) to 37% (7/19). In total, 85% (17/20) of participants were satisfied with the overall effectiveness of the study treatment. Three participants had adverse events probably related to treatment (dryness, erythema, peeling, and stinging sensation). The 4% hydroquinone skin care system plus tretinoin cream 0.025% is effective and well-tolerated in the treatment of melasma.