Its back on shelves! Tri-luma, the turbo powered skin lightener is now available after a more than an 18 month disappearance. There was no FDA recall or explanation from the company. Nothing. I discovered that compounding pharmacies could make it up for individual prescriptions, but that option was just not widely available. Then, without fanfare or explanation, Tri-luma was back– and I’m delighted.
How Tri-luma Works
This prescription- only skin lightener contains three active ingredients:
1. Tretinoin ( aka Retin A) is famous for its ability to speed up cell growth and exfoliate darkened areas.
2. Hydroquinone which prevents melanin production and is considered one of the most effective weapons in the anti- hyperpigmentation tool kit
3. Mild corticosteroid to keep things calm. Both Retin A and hydroquinone can be irritating. Enter a mild steroid. It allows the skin brighteners to do their job while keeping the skin calm and comfortable
While Tri-luma can be used over the entire face, I needed it mainly to lighten my dark under eye shadows. Plain Retin A is too irritating to be used on delicate under eye areas but mixed with a steroid it can address skin darkness without causing more problems.
Tri-luma was one of the first anti-aging tools I used and I loved the way it lightened my long standing dark shadows. However while plain RetinA can be used continuously for years, most doctors recommend using Tri-luma only for three montha at a time. The treatment period should be followed by a three month Tri-luma holiday and then the product can be used again for another three months. To keep it fresh and effective, pharmacists recommend keeping it in the refrigerator.
There is a whole buffet of skin lighteners including kojic acid, arbutin and soy extract, but Tri-luma is often the product of choice. It represents the new thinking about medical treatment. Rather than a single solution to a problem , researchers are looking at different targets for treatment. In the case of hyperpigmentation, some skin lighteners like retin A a can help the skin shed darkened skin cells while while ingredients like hydroquinone can break up existing melanin. Combining them in one product can be much more effective than used spearately. Since Kojic acid seems to prevent melanin production, I would love to see a product that combines all four ingredients. There are so many me-too products, it would wonderful to see a formulation that uses all of the science we now have about treatmenting dark patches and spots.