NeoStrata HQ Plus Review for Age Spots

Beauty Cred on 10 Nov 2008 at 9:15am

If there's one thing I know from years of working in beauty, it's that there are magic numbers. It all started with 2 and 4—as in "in 2 weeks you'll see..." and "by 4 weeks, your skin will be..." Anything longer (or an odd number) and the magic was gone. This brings me to age spot removal. And NeoStrata HQ Plus. Here's my first impression...

The magic number for NeoStrata HQ Plus? 12 WEEKS.

Ok, in fairness it's "within 12 weeks". And, it's not just NeoStrata. You'll find this for just about every Hydroquinone skin-lightening product out there. So the first thing you need to understand about topically applied skin lighteners is that it's...going...to...take...time.

I don't have patience for most skin care. I want immediate results, or at least the illusion (opalescent light-reflecting microspheres anyone?) of results. So my solution was to opt for the ramped up NeoStrata HQ Plus—which is a 4% Hydroquinone gel with glycolic acid. Over the counter Hydroquinone gels in the US offer up to a 2% level of Hydroquinone. It will remain my little secret as to how I scored the 4%, but you can—and should—do so by visiting your dermatologist.

My theory was this: higher concentration of Hydroquinone = faster results. My reality was: wrong.

NeoStrata HQ Plus is a no-brainer in terms of application. It's a clear gel that goes on easily and it's completely compatible with moisturizers and makeup. I wore NeoStrata HQ twice daily—you can opt for the once-a-day routine, but this would've blown my (wrong) theory.

I've been using NeoStata HQ Plus for about 3 weeks. Results? NADA. Believe me, it's not for lack of use or prayer. I still have my discolorations. I guess I have to keep going till I'm "within 12 weeks", though skin resurfacing would probably be a quicker option.

One thing about using a skin lightener—and using it seriously: it will make you obsessive. I found myself ducking from any possible intersection with sunlight. To the point of ridiculousness. My hands have a newfound purpose as visors and sun guards. I refuse to dine alfresco. I keep a sundial in the car so I know which side of the street to drive on. If I knew it were a short-term thing, ok. But I know if I'm serious, this is a lifestyle choice. And, truthfully, it's not one I want to make.

Was it Worth it? In terms of efficacy, I may have to give NeoStrata HQ Plus some more time. I like the glycolic acid in the formula—I'm a huge fan of all forms of exfoliation. I'm willing to give it more time, but my greater concern is whether I'll be able to maintain such a conscious avoidance of incidental sun exposure (yes, I do wear sunscreen already). This level of avoidance is almost unnatural—and borderline obsessive.