When my recent favorite treatment for melasma and hyperpigmentation from PCA Skin Care (read review) ran out, I decided to try a similar product from another brand simply for review purposes. That always makes me a bit nervous, because when I find something that works, I hate to switch. But in this case there was no need to worry. DDF Fade Gel 4 has been working wonderfully for me.
I chose DDF for a couple of reasons. First, I like melasma treatment products that contain multiple active ingredients, because studies have shown that combining and switching between actives is more effective in producing fading. DDF Fade Gel 4 meets that requirement with some of my favorites, such as glycolic acid, kojic acid, salicylic acid, lemon and lime oils, azelaic acid, and 2% hydroquinone. Second, I have been having some issues with acne, and DDF's Fade Gel does not contain any ingredients of particular concern for causing acne, while its glycolic, salicylic, and azelaic acids can treat and prevent acne -- Might as well get double duty from a product when you can!
Using the DDF Fade Gel in the mornings, and in combination with an evening application of Renova (Retin-A), along with a daily sunscreen, such as Philosophy A Pigment Of Your Imagination SPF 18 (Read Review), I have continued to see further lightening on pigmented areas. Of most importance, there has not been any darkening, despite the fact that I decreased my treatment regime to one application per day so that I could use the evening to focus on acne. I also saw no increase in my acne from using the DDF product and believe it helped in my overall treatment of both my acne and melsma.
Overall, I give DDF fade Gel 4 a big thumbs up and highly recommend it for melasma treatment or for general hyperpigmentation or discoloration. I particularly recommend it for those who are also treating acne or seeking to prevent breakouts. Something to note is that PCA Skin Care was fine for acne as well, so I find it and the DDF product to be pretty interchangeable. In the future I will likely buy whiever is cheaper or on sale.
For those concerned about hydroquinione, DDF makes DDF Intensive Holistic Lightener (2011 update, this is discontinued or very difficult to find now) which is a hydroquinone free lightener. I haven't tried that one and personally prefer hydroquinone since I have no problems with it. However, some are sensitive to hydroquinone or concered about cancer risk reports with it. For those who want to avoid it, the ingredient list is pretty good with the following ingredients: albatin, arbutin, bearberry extract, mulberry extract, licorice, skull cap, azelaic and glycolic acids. I wish kojic acid was in there though.
If you go with this one, I suggest combining it with Philosophy a Pigment of Your Imagination, linked above, in order to add some kojic acid to the mix. You should be wearing sunscreen anyway for the best treatment, so you might as well get double duty from your choice of product!