The Best Treatment for Melasma: Tri-Luma

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Melasma, a disorder of facial hyperpigmentation, is most common in women 20 – 50 years of age. Melasma looks like brown, tan, or blue-gray spots on the face and is caused partly by sun, genetic predisposition, and hormonal changes. Combination therapy with hydroquinone, tretinoin, and fluocinolone acetonide has proven effective, but is generally more expensive than older treatments. What is Tri-Luma and why might it be worth spending the money?

Tri-Luma has proved to be much more effective. Studies have shown that the cost effectiveness is best for Tri-Luma because guess what, it works better. Way better than older treatments.

Tri-luma is a cream that is a mixture of three things: a steroid (fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%) a “bleaching” agent (hydroquinone 4%) and a topical retinoid (tretinoin 0.05%). Several studies comparing Tri-Luma to hydroquinone 4% alone show that Tri-Luma has a 30% better rate of complete clearing. Despite the fact that Tri-Luma has been shown to be the most cost-effective treatment for melasma it’s still not covered by most insurance companies, and it’s expensive. Expensive but worth it.

Dr O.

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