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Abstract: The efficacy of 20% azelaic acid cream and 4% hydroquinone cream, both used in conjunction with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, against melasma was investigated in a 24-week, double-blind study with 329 women. Over the treatment period the azelaic acid cream yielded 65% good or excellent results: no significant treatment differences were observed with regard to overall rating, reduction In lesion size, and pigmentary intensity. Severe side effects such as allergic sensitization or exogenous ochronosis were not observed with azelaic acid.