The star of the two products is the PCA SKIN pHaze 13 Pigment Gel. This serum, with azaleic acid, kojic acid, lactic acid, Vitamin C, and hydroquinone has been the most effective serum that I have used on my melasma. Using it twice daily in conjunction with Renova (aka Retin-A, Trentinoin) at night, and with a morning scrub, I had noticeable lightening after a couple of weeks. I was previously using a hydroquinone cream, with less results.
The combination of the treatment actives in this serum is the key. Plus I tend to feel that serums deliver the actives better than creams do. Yes, this does contain hydroquinone, so if you have concerns about that, it isn’t for you. PCA does make a hyroquinone free version as well.
The PCA SKIN pHaze 13 Pigment Bar is a unique treatment product. This glycerin type soap comes in a jar with an exfoliating pad. The soap contains azealic and kojic acids to treat, plus adds the combination of glucosamine and niacinamide, which has been shown to be an effective pigment inhibiting combination. I was happy to see that in this product since those are fairly cheap actives to add, yet are still not included in many melasma treatments. The pad gives some extra exfoliation. I liked this product quite a bit, but I did not always use the pad simply because I already use a scrub in the shower.
The combination of these two products left me quite impressed. For anyone looking for an over the counter melasma treatment, I suggest giving these a try, especially if you can add some prescription Tretinoin, or a strong over the counter retinol to the mix.
Update: I am now combining use of these products with home microdermabrasion (link is to our buyer’s guide) and getting great results! The microderm seems to really help with the effectiveness of the PCA products in terms of overall lightening of melasma spots for me.
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