Asked Jul 14, 2012, 09:30 PM
5 yr ago I joined this forum. Looking back, I have tried so many products, concoctions, and wasted at least over $10,000 in products alone, and that doesn't including dermatologist visits and treatments!
I thought I'd give a recap and then ask, as a veteran of AMHD skin lightening, what my next move should be!
Heres a timeline or synopsis of my skin lightening journey:
(2007) 5 yrs ago - My mother and other family members commented I had gotten much darker than when I was younger. I never really paid attention to my skin color but suddenly began comparing my arms and face to others and I was so much darker than every one else around. I found AMHD and a few other forums (brighterskin, brightskin, depig) and was told monobenzone is the only permanent lightener. I purchased monobenzone/microbenzone from various online sources. It was very expensive, at $100s of dollars for a few ounces.
(2007-2008ish) 4-5 yrs ago? - Monobenzone lightened up my neck and face about 1-2 shades fast but it only lasted about a month! After which brown spots started appearing overnight all over me from head to toes. Just when I thought I had found a miracle, it was like someone had pulled the plug and all my lightening I obtained in just about 4 weeks or so was so quickly reversing before my eyes. At first I blamed the suppliers, suspecting they were selling fake or mixed up mono. But after buying monobenzone directly from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (I work at a lab in a major univ) for around $2000 for 1 kg, even that didnt work and I just got more and more blackish spots.
(2009-Present) At this point I dont remember everything exactly, because so many products just didnt work well. Some were so excessively expensive, like fairandflawless I was silly initially thought, "Oh, this is custom, and hollywood people use it? It must work!" and did nothing but burned then hyperpigmented up my skin! Stuff that did work, always had a catch-22, like Mequinol 20% kind of helped, but it burned my skin and I was always black cherry red, inflamed, peeling and smelled like kerosene! I moved onto Herbalinn which also worked and was milder, but it seemed homemade and one order/batch would vary wildly from another, first it was a thick cream in sealed jars, then it was liquidy lotion in bottles, it was weird and shady but worked, then they suddenly disappeared and by 2010 I ran out of the supply I had stashed. While it lasted, I really liked that I could be out in the sun and it kept working, unlike monobenzone where you have to hide from the sun in a dark closet for the rest of your life like MJ may he RIP. Well after a few months of not being able to get more herbalinn (benzyarbutin?) Some of the brown patches returned, but at least they weren't black, they are brownish.
Most recently, I went to a few derms and they did TCA peels but the those peels actually stimulated so much hyperpigmentation it was unbelievable. I still remember like 10mins after the derm did the peel, my skin turned black with a white frost and he said it would peel, but when it peeled, it remained a dark brown color
So no more peels. I fired that derm, got some money back, and went to another derm who prescribed Hydroquinone 5% as a prelightener for a couple weeks, then spent hours lasering me each brown spot all over my body. That hasn't worked well enough for me to return for those expensive sessions. They'd seem to lighten the brown pigments at first but it was just the redness that gave that appearance, and laser, like TCA peel, tends to leave dark ridges of hyperpigmentation between the treated skin and not treated. Again, it is the melanocytes fighting back fiercely. Its like they got gotten smarter and tougher over the years!
In the end, 5 years gone by, I am about a shade darker than I started overall, because my skin is probably fighting off the monobenzone crystals embedded deep in my dermis basal layer, according to derms. In addition to being a shade darker than my beginning coloring, I have lots of black marks on my back, black streaks around my neck, and black marks around each hair follicle on my hands, arms, legs, feet, everywhere. My face has black freckles that seem to be growing out of my beard and sideburn stubbles, and my forehead has black streaks growing down from my hairline. I am like the black Frankenstein, of skin lightening!
Monobenzone is my biggest regret in life. I can't believe I used it 5 years ago and only for 1-2 months and I am still suffering the disfigurement, and it left me darker and patchier instead of at least alittle lighter.
What else is there out there these days? Has technology improved in the past 5 yrs? I have been waiting and waiting but my derms seem to offer up the same things over and over, TCA and laser which costed more money on top of all the money I wasted on mono and other creams, and haven't worked neither.
Where is the light at the end of the tunnel, guys?? What works for you? I'm on the verge of throwing in the towel. Honestly the only time my skin looks best is when I go on vacation and get lots of sun, and get darker and not evenly darker, but at least then my skin has this redness that kind of masks some of the unevenness. In the winter its worst because you see all the contrast between blackened patches and slightly lightened, and brown/darkened patches of the bulk of my skin, like a tri-color patchwork doll, an ugly one!