A new skin regimen available from doctors can effectively treat a common type of discoloration. Twenty-seven people who had moderate to severe melasma underwent one to four sessions of Illuminase—a combination of microdermabrasion, treatment with a low-energy YAG laser, and ongoing skin care (hydroquinone, Retin-A, and sunscreen). Despite previous failure with other therapies, such as hydroquinone alone, everyone improved, and 44 percent of them experienced near-complete clearance of their condition, says Arielle Kauvar, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center. More aggressive treatments, including peels, Intense Pulsed Light, and various lasers, may actually worsen melasma because they cause inflammation, which stimulates pigment production, Kauvar warns. Women interested in Illuminase should go to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with expertise in YAG lasers, she says, adding that sun protection is crucial to prevent melasma’s recurrence.