After many years, Tri-Luma is finally available again. Tri-Luma is one of my favorite prescription cosmetic products. Its a combination of a topical steroid (Fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%), a bleaching medicine (Hydroquinone 4%), and retina-a (Tretinoin 0.05%) that works really well for melasma (brown spots) on the face. Its been around for quite awhile and is actually based on an old medication called Kligman’s formula that was published in 1978 that contains Dexamethasone 0.1%, Hydroquinone 5%, and Tretinoin 0.1%. The only problem with Kligman’s formula is that it has to be made by compounding pharmacies and can be expensive.
Tri-Luma is nearly identical and just used a different steroid, but since it is commercially made, it ends up being less expensive. The problem is that production was brought to a halt for years because of the same backlog at the FDA that has taken many other medications off the market.
But, its BACK!
So just what does this magic goo do? The bleaching agent, hydroquinone slows down the production of melanin (pigment in the skin) and helps to lighten the skin. Tretinoin leads to exfoliation which causes some of the built up pigment in skin to be shed. The steroid also helps to lighten the skin but is really there to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and make the treatment much better tolerated.
When applied nightly to brown spots, most people will see significant improvement after 8 weeks.