A new topical product featuring a combination of retinoids offers results comparable to hydroquinone in patients with facial melasma. Maria Teresa Truchuelo MD, PhD, Natalia Jimenez, MD, and Pedro Jaen, MD, PhD, of the dermatology department at University Hospital Ramon y Cajal in Madrid, Spain, performed a prospective, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, and randomized study in 30 patients with melasma. Sibjects applied the combination retinoid product on one side of their faces and the vehicle on the other. Product was applied twice daily for three months.
The researchers used standardized photographs taken at baseline, 1 ½ months and 3 months to measure outcomes. The main variable to determine the efficacy was improvement of the hemifacial Melasma Area Severity Index (MASI). The authors also gauged improvement perceived by the investigator, improvement perceived by the patient, impact on quality of life and side effects.
After 3 months, the treated side improved significantly vs. the vehicle side, reaching an improvement of 70%, which the authors note is comparable to the percentage of improvement described with hydroquinone. No notable side effects were detected. The study was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (December 2014).