Reader Question: Treatments for Hyperpigmentation!

 

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Hi readers!  Anyone else excited that it is Thursday? 🙂

Someone recently asked me about what they can do regarding sun spots.  What is commonly referred to as sun spots or age spots is hyperpigmentation. Simplified, hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin (brown pigment that gives skin color) that causes the darkening of the skin.  Below are causes of hyperpigmentation along with possible treatments.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

  • Overexposure to sun, tanning beds, fluorescent and ambient lighting
  • Hormones/ Pregnancy
  • Medications- birthcontrol, thyroid, hormone replacement therapy (*Note: Never discontinue medication without the approval of your physician)
  • Stress
  • Inflammation/trauma caused by heat, acne, wounds, burns, eczema, etc
  • Age

Treatment Options

  • Exfoliation/chemical peels such as TCA, Jessner’s peels or lactic acid peels
  • Increased cell turnover with retinol/retinoids (Retin-A)
  • IPL/Laser
  • LED Light Therapy
  • Skincare products that contain arbutin, kojic acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), lactic acid, azelaic acid, phytic acid, and licorice extract.  Hydroquinone is another option available but it is a controversial ingredient that has a high risk of creating skin sensitivity.  Hydroquinone also must be used in 3/6 month cycles meaning you can only use it for a few months at a time and then cycle off.
  • Sunscreen!  Important no matter what!  None of the above treatments will be effective if you don’t protect your skin from sun damage-you’ll end up right back where you started and can even cause more pigmentation problems.

Remember that these are guidelines and the treatment option that will work best for you depends on a consultation with a skincare professional/dermatologist.

I hope this was helpful. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie  

Can We Reach Pore-fection?

Aside from anti-aging, pore size seems to be a huge complaint from customers.

A study conducted by L’Oreal Paris revealed that roughly “45% of women wish they could change the size of their pores and            almost one in three women  (28%) are more concerned about  their pore size than wrinkles.”

With so many products out there that claim to shrink or eliminate your pores, how do we know what works?  Let’s take a closer look at what a pore really is.

What is a pore?

A pore is a small opening in the skin that allows oil to reach the surface.  On average, an adult has five million pores on their body with approximately 20,000 on their face alone.   Without pores, our skin would be dry and cracked since oil produced in the sebaceous glands travel up the pore to the skin’s surface and naturally moisturize the skin.

How is pore size determined?

For the most part, pore size is determined by genetics and generally speaking, is most prevalent in men.  However, oil, dirt, dead skin cells and our lifestyle can impact pore size.  For example, avid sun worshipers often see an increase in pore size because the sun’s UV rays breakdown and weaken the skin’s elasticity; the same can apply to aging skin.  Oily skin types typically have an excessive accumulation of dirt, oil and dead skin cells, leading to large, visible pores and in some cases acne.

How to minimize pore appearance

Since you can’t get ‘rid’ of pores (and really, you don’t want to as they flush out toxins and help regulate temperature) here’s a couple of suggestions to help reduce their appearance.   

  • Thoroughly cleanse skin daily
  • Regular exfoliation with either enzymes or hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic, lactic, or salicylic)
  • Those with oily skin types can benefit from using clay-based masks (look for kaolin or bentonite) about 2x/week
  • Limit excessive sun exposure and always wear SPF
  • Make sure you are using the correct skincare products/makeup for your skin type- makeup primers can help reduce pore appearance
  • Consult with a dermatologist and/or esthetician for other options such as chemical peels
  • Avoid pore strips as in the long run can stretch out skin even more

Questions? Comments? Have a pore-minimizing product you love? Do share!

Hands of Time

hourglass

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

This quote has stuck with me since my days as an undergrad English major, while taking a class in the Harlem Renaissance .  Albeit this quote was not aesthetically intended, my mind was always revolving around this concept, particularly on how it can tie into skincare.  How?  Simple.  Time will answer the question as to how well you took care of your skin.

Most of us spend so much time focusing on taking care of our face but forget about other telling signs: our hands, neck and décolleté,  These overlooked areas are also prone to sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and redness.  If you have inadvertently neglected these areas, here are some solutions to rectify these issues.

Sunscreen /Targeted Creams

Inarguably the least expensive and easiest to use is broad spectrum sunscreen.  When we are driving, UV rays penetrate the glass causing damage to our hands and décolleté leading to pigmentation later on.  Extending your sunscreen application to these areas (which we should already be doing anyway) will help.

Certain creams can also help with the appearance if sun damage is minimal.  PCA Skin Perfecting Neck and Décolleté and Revison Skincare Nectifirm are examples of great products to look into.

Microdermabrasion/Chemical Peels

Exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels can provide improvements in the color, tone and texture of treated areas and typically don’t require much downtime.

Other Options

For skin that has extensive damage, a visit to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon would suit best where they could perform IPL treatments, lasers (Fraxel, Active FX or Thermage), Botox or surgery, depending on the results you are looking for.

Remember that prevention is always the best rule to adhere to and will save you time and money in the long run.