It is true that hydroquinone is thought to be carcinogenic and hence it is not approved by FDA in USA. Treatment options for melasma include treatment with vitamin C and hydrocortisone, peel with carbon dioxide snow and alexandrite and ND-Yag Q-Switched laser treatment preceded by a hydroquinone-based application. Please discuss these options with your dermatologist.
It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.
I read your concern about your age spots. I'm a 50 yr old male (Pacific Islander decent) and also have spots on my face. Probably because I'm a police officer in the sun alot and fish ALOT on the weekends. I tried the 4% Hydroquion perscribed by my doctor for probably 6 months and saw NO change in my condition. He also tried the laser treatment that didnt' help. I was bummed...so now I went to another dermotologist and he prescribed Desonide .05%. Not sure if thats gonna do anything but I'm trying it anyway. Hope this helps.
Oatmeal, Yogurt and Tomato Juice
One mask you can create is with the use of oatmeal, yogurt and tomato juice. Mix the three altogether to create a thin paste. Apply this paste all over your skin and allow it to stay for 20 minutes before rinsing the mask off with cold water.
Milk, Honey and Lemon Juice
Combine 1 tsp. each of powdered milk, honey and lemon juice with ½ tsp. almond oil to create another mask which you can use to lighten dark skin. Apply this mask all over your skin and let it sit on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it. You can use daily or alternately with other skin lightening masks until you reached your desired skin tone.