I have become something of a Lady MacBeth, incessantly wringing my hands and muttering "out damn spot". In my case, this is not the result of persuading my husband to murder someone called Duncan; I am obsessing about a larger and darker than desired freckle (I refuse to use the term 'age spot', and will concede to 'sun spot' only when pushed). My quest for something that will fade it is ceaseless and it was with high hopes that I tested Dermalogica's Chroma White range.

Everything about Chroma White suggested that it was going to work. Its expensive and its got its own, proprietary peptide, amino acids and a fancy alga. I tried out TRx C-12 Concentrate ($90). After two months of daily use, my high hopes were dashed. In the freckle fading dept it was, in fact, hopeless. It did nothing, absolutely nothing. Rien du tout. Nada.

The main active (I should, I suppose, say inactive) ingredient is oligopeptide-34. This is supposed to inhibit tyrosinase, which is the essential enzyme in the formation of melanin and works by converting DOPA to DOPAquinone. Therefore, reducing its activity is likely to prevent further pigmentation. The problem is that outside of Dermalogica-land, there isn't much independent research about oligopeptide-34.

Next up is palmaria palmata extract and, I am pleased to say, that this one comes with some data: after 56 days skin lightness was increased by 0.8% and yellow melanin pigmentation was reduced by 2.4%. Is it just me, or does this seem unimpressive? At least it gets a helping hand from a brown algae called ascophyllum nodosum extract.

A kinder reviewer might give Chroma White the benefit of the doubt and assume that its role might be preventative rather than curative. The trouble with the kind-hearted theory is that Dermalogica says Chroma White "reduces" hyperpigmentation.

I am not the only one who lost patience with Chroma White - check out our community section. In the meantime, the quest continues.

Ingredients in Dermalogica Chroma White TRx C-12 Concentrate

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Oligopeptide-34, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldiethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 60, Squalane, Zinc Glycinate, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Phytic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl PCA, Phenoxyethanol.