Harper's Bazaar, February 2016
Question: What are the best products and in-office treatments for erasing sun spots, discoloration and superficial scars on the body?
Answer: According to dermatologist and laser specialist Dr. Macrene Alexiades, a series of three to six treatments of intense pulsed light, or IPL, done in a doctor's office is the fastest route for lightening brown spots on the body, but there are plenty of effective at-home options to explore, too. If you're concerned about dark spots on legs and arms, "look for a product that contains an alpha hydroxy acid such as glycolic acid, which will exfoliate regularly and is often successful in peeling off and lightening brown spots," says Dr. Macrene, who recommends Eucerin Professional Repair Extremely Dry Skin Lotion. For the neck and décolletage, she says, "you want to use an anti-aging arsenal including an amino acid derivative such as glucosamine, which is in 37 Actives Neck and Decolletage Treatment, or take another acid approach with salicylic acid plus other brighteners such as Vitamin C, as found in Garnier Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Overnight Peel." Blemish marks due to old acne, cysts or ingrowns are actually superficial healing scars that can take a year or longer to go away, but peeling agents, like the Olay Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel, will help boost cell turnover, and silicone gel pads used overnight can prevent a depressed scar from forming. Lastly, approach hydroquinone with caution, warns Dr. Macrene. "It's banned in Europe and has been linked to possible mutations in cells, so I do not recommend using hydroquinone over the counter; you should be under the direction and supervision of a dermatologist and if you do use one, make sure to stop it every so often to give your skin a chance to recover from its effects."