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Using Triluma

Updated February 21, 2019

Triluma, or Tri-Luma, is a prescription cream used to treat melasma, a condition in which the skin on the face suddenly becomes darker, often for no apparent reason. It is not known precisely how Tri-Luma works to lighten the skin, but is contains keratolyic, a corticosteroid and a depigmentation agent. Melasma is a fairly common skin condition that mainly affects women. Anyone can develop melasma, but it generally affects more people with naturally darker skin tones.

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Applying Tri-Luma

Tri-Luma should be used at night, a half-hour going to bed. Before applying it, clean your face with a cleanser and pat it dry. Then apply Tri-Luma only to the affected skin, using caution to avoid the eyes, mouth, nose and any open wounds or sores. Only a thin coat of the cream needs to be applied, and it should disappear into the skin almost immediately after application. Do not cover the area after applying Tri-Luma. During the day, patients are free to use lotions, cosmetics and other skin-care products as normal.

Side Effects

Some melasma patients using Tri-Luma may experience side effects such as numbness or tingling; itching, peeling, redness, dryness or irritation at the application site; acne; and a feeling or warmth at the application site. None of these is cause for concern. However, in rare cases people may develop serious side effects that may require medical treatment. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: a gradual darkening of the skin to a blue-black colour; irregular or excessive hair growth; inflammation around the mouth; inflamed hair follicles; unusual weight gain, particularly in the face; thinning, softening or discolouration of the skin; severe or persistent oozing, crusting, irritation, swelling, peeling or blistering of the skin; muscle weakness; and loss of skin colour.


Because Tri-Luma contains a corticosteroid, patients should use not use it when already taking another corticosteroid medication such as prednisone unless a doctor is aware of the situation. Using Tri-Luma with a corticosteroid can increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects. Also, because it causes an increased sensitivity to light, Tri-Luma patients should avoid tanning booths and excessive sun exposure. Additionally, when going outdoors, even for a short period, be sure to use a strong sunscreen (SPF 30 of higher) and wear protective clothing when possible. If you do get sunburned, wait until the skin is fully healed before applying Tri-Luma on that area of skin.

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About the Author

Anna Aronson began working as a journalist in 2000 and spent six years at suburban Chicago newspapers before pursuing freelance work. She enjoys writing about health care topics, in particular obstetrics, pediatrics and nutrition. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and is now studying for a Master of Science in medicine degree to become a physician's assistant.

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