A 2 percent hydroquinone cream is commonly used to reduce the intensity of dark spots, or melasma, on the face. Stronger creams with 4 percent hydroquinone are available with a prescription. The condition may clear up without intervention by avoiding sun exposure.
Melasma sometimes occurs after pregnancy, when a woman is taking birth control pills or is undergoing hormone therapy. As a result, the condition often ceases after giving birth and when birth control or hormone therapies end. When topical creams are unsuccessful, other treatments used for melasma include chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments performed in doctors' offices or clinics.