Dark Spot Formulas
The Dark Spot Formula is a customized prescription blend that may include ingredients such as; lightening agents, retinol, corticosteroids, vitamin B, C, and E, hydrating agents, and/or ceramide lipids that target the main symptoms of melasma. This formulation may help relieve moderate to severe redness and dark spots due to hyperpigmented skin. It is an odorless gel typically applied once daily before bedtime.
What is the Dark Spot Formula?
The Dark Spot Formula combines prescription ingredients in a proprietary base developed specifically to deliver ingredients while moisturizing and softening the skin. It uses a unique delivery system designed to feel light, smooth, and creamy with a pleasant finish on the skin. It is also not tacky or oily, leaving a light and silky feel on the skin. The Dark Spot Formula is specifically made without fragrance or gluten.
Beta-glucans are soluble fibers that come from the cell walls of mushrooms, plants, algae, yeasts, and oats. Because beta-glucans have antioxidant properties and are anti-inflammatory, they are excellent ingredients for improving the look of redness and other signs of sensitive skin.
Ceramides are essential lipids naturally produced in the body and make up nearly 50% of the outermost layer of skin. Ceramides help in creating a lipid barrier that helps boost skin resilience and prevents the skin from losing moisture. When the skin lacks ceramides, it can lead to dryness and irritation, contributing to skin sensitivity.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body and is found in high concentrations within the skin. Hyaluronic acid is essential for maintaining your skin's moisture balance and is responsible for your skin’s plumpness and volume. Hyaluronic acid has been shown to attract and retain water, making it an excellent hydrating ingredient. As we age, hyaluronic acid levels decline, which is why it’s important to supplement products that contain this ingredient.
Hydrocortisone is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. This medication is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Hydrocortisone helps fade the color caused by melasma. It can also lessen the likelihood of dermatitis that may be caused by other agents.
Hydroquinone is used to lighten the dark patches of skin (also called hyperpigmentation, melasma, "liver spots," "age spots," freckles) caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone medicine, or injury to the skin. This medicine works by blocking the process in the skin that leads to discoloration.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, plays an important role in soothing and helping to restore the skin barrier. Niacinamide has become a popular ingredient in formulations for acne, eczema, rosacea, and skin discoloration. When applied topically, niacinamide may help strengthen the skin's moisture barrier, which may help reduce the visible effects of skin damage.
Tranexamic acid, a synthetic analog of the amino acid lysine, has been shown to interfere with the chemical pathway that produces melanin, which makes it useful as a depigmentation agent.
Tretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A, has been shown to help promote your skin’s natural exfoliation process. This exfoliation process encourages the shedding of dead skin cells, which may lead to improvement in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, texture, and uneven tone.
Vitamin C is not produced naturally by the body; however, research has shown it offers multiple benefits for the skin. Vitamin C has been shown to be a potent antioxidant that helps against free radicals, which can lead to dryness, rough surface texture, and signs of premature aging. Research has also shown that Vitamin C may help brighten the appearance of uneven skin tone.
Vitamin E research has shown it offers multiple benefits for your skin. Vitamin E has been shown to be a potent antioxidant that helps against free radicals, which can lead to dryness, rough surface texture, and signs of premature aging.
Frequently asked questions
What is a compounded medication?
One size doesn’t fit all and every patient is unique. Drug compounding is the process of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of a patient by a pharmacist as the result of a practitioner’s prescription drug order. While compounded medications are not FDA-approved, they serve an important patient need—especially when FDA-approved medication is not available for treatment. Our formulations are made to order in small batches to ensure freshness. The specific ingredients in your compounded formula will depend on your specific concerns and goals. It should be understood that your personal healthcare practitioner will make the final decision.
Are compounded medications FSA & HSA eligible?
Yes! All of our compounded formulations, regardless of ingredients, are eligible for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Saving Accounts (HSA).
What is melasma?
A usually harmless condition in which patches of skin are darker than the surrounding skin. It occurs when cells in the skin make too much melanin. Hyperpigmentation may appear as freckles, age spots, or larger areas of darkened skin on sun-exposed areas of the body, particularly on the face. Melasma is very common, affecting nearly 5 million Americans.
When should I see improvement in my symptoms?
Based on research and patient testimonials, you may see improvement as early as 2 weeks; however, each patient is unique and time frames may differ. The medication only works while you are using it and melasma can also return with increased exposure to the sun or if you are on birth control.
How should I use the Dark Spot Formula?
The Dark Spot Formula is for topical use only. If this medicine gets in your eyes or mouth, rinse with water.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Using this medicine in larger amounts or applying it more often than prescribed will not make it work any faster, and it may increase side effects such as irritation, inflammation and darkening of skin.
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying the medicine. Do not allow other people to get this medicine on their skin. If this happens, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Gently wash your face with a mild cleanser before applying this medicine. Do not use a washcloth to apply the cleanser, just your fingers. Rinse and pat dry the skin.
Apply a thin layer to cover the entire face once per day, at least 30 minutes before bedtime. If your compound contains tretinoin, only apply to the discolored spot(s).
Avoid getting the medicine on your lips, eyelids or in the creases of your nose. Spread it away from those areas when applying.
Do not apply when skin is HOT (directly after showering or workout)
Do not cover treated skin with a bandage. Bandaging can increase the amount of drug absorbed through your skin and may cause harmful effects.
The Dark Spot Formula should be used as part of a complete skin care program that includes avoiding sunlight, using an effective mineral based broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, and wearing protective clothing.
If incorporating additional products, it is recommended to follow the following order: cleanser, Dark Spot Formula, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup.
Wait for at least 20 minutes before applying moisturizer or any other skincare products.
Who should not use the Dark Spot Formula?
Do not start using the Dark Spot Formula if you have a history of hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients prescribed . Please tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, or wait until the next night to apply the medicine. Do not use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
How should I store this medication?
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
Research has shown, topically applied medications are less likely to cause the same systemic side effects or drug-to-drug interactions as oral medications; however, there is never an absolute zero chance that side effects or drug interactions will not occur. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
What should I avoid while using the Dark Spot Formula?
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. The Dark Spot Formula can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Your skin may be more sensitive to weather extremes such as cold and wind. Protect your skin with clothing and use a moisturizing cream or lotion as needed.
Avoid using other products that may contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, hydrocortisone or tranexamic acid.
Avoid using hydroquinone together with benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide or other peroxide products due to potential staining of your skin.
Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime. Do not use other medicated skin products unless your doctor has told you to.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
What are the common side effects of the Dark Spot Formula?
Common side effects may include application site reactions of:
Skin reactions (dermatitis)
Burning, stinging or warmth
Itching or tingling
Redness, dryness or peeling
Serious, but less common side effects include that should prompt discontinuation:
Changes of color of treated skin (blue or black discoloration of the skin)
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, severe itching; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. These are not all of the possible side effects of the Dark Spot Formula. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication. High doses or long-term use of steroid medicine can lead to thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.
Handel AC, Miot LD, Miot HA. Melasma: a clinical and epidemiological review. An Bras Dermatol. 2014 Sep-Oct;89(5):771-82. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20143063. PMID: 25184917; PMCID: PMC4155956.
Kang HY, Valerio L, Bahadoran P, Ortonne JP. The role of topical retinoids in the treatment of pigmentary disorders: an evidence-based review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2009;10(4):251-60. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200910040-00005. PMID: 19489658.
Torok HM. A comprehensive review of the long-term and short-term treatment of melasma with a triple combination cream. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2006;7(4):223-30. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200607040-00003. PMID: 16901182.
Taraz M, Niknam S, Ehsani AH. Tranexamic acid in treatment of melasma: A comprehensive review of clinical studies. Dermatol Ther. 2017 May;30(3). doi: 10.1111/dth.12465. Epub 2017 Jan 30. PMID: 28133910.
Atefi N, Dalvand B, Ghassemi M, Mehran G, Heydarian A. Therapeutic Effects of Topical Tranexamic Acid in Comparison with Hydroquinone in Treatment of Women with Melasma. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Sep;7(3):417-424. doi: 10.1007/s13555-017-0195-0. Epub 2017 Jul 26. PMID: 28748406; PMCID: PMC5574746.
Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004 Apr;3(2):88-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x. PMID: 17147561.
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