After a lifetime of happy, sun filled days, the skin is dotted with freckles, dark spots and patches. But not all spots are equal. There can be little flat dark freckles, larger bumpy areas the size of a raisin and even larger cafe au lait patches of melasma.
I have been exploring different lightening and brightening products on different dark spots on my face and limbs. As it turned out these formulations are not effective against raised or very dark areas of pigmentation. I had tried just about everything on a tan rough spot on my arm which just kept getting bigger. When I finally showed it to Dr Lefkovits, he diagnosed it as a seborrheic keratosis. This is a benign growth that comes with both age and sun exposure. They have a waxy, flakey appearance– not attractive, … Continue Reading… →
Watching the red carpet parade of beautiful women at the Golden Globes, I was mesmerized by the flawless chests above the strapless or plunging gowns. While we usually focus on signs of aging around the face and eyes, the skin on chest is often more lined and sun damaged and in need of some TLC. These women who professional lives depend on their beauty clearly knew this and they take great care to create a smooth polished and sexy decollete.
After trying out a wide range of anti-aging tools for my face, I realized that there was now quite a difference between the skin on my face and the skin on my chest. Last year I had most of the freckles and age spots on my chest removed by laser, but one big oddly shaped splotch resisted treatment. … Continue Reading… →
Answer: I love new beauty ideas that are based on good science and BB creams are just such a concept. BB stands for ‘blemish balm” where blemish is defined as a skin defect ( eg dark spots and splotches and acne scars), not just traditional breakouts.
The original BB creams were developed by a Korean dermatologist to help his patients care for laser treated skin. After having both IPL and frying off my freckles with a YAG laser, I had difficulty finding appropriate moisturizers and sun protection products. The treatments made my skin especially vulnerable to sun damage, yet traditional chemical sunscreens were irritating while zinc based formulations left my skin with a weird white sticky film.
BB creams are a genuinely clever idea. They are a zinc based high SPF moisturizer/sun block combo that have a flattering tint. The result? On the skin … Continue Reading… →
Each time I do a post on skin lightening and mention hydroquinone, I get a flurry of concerned emails warning me against using it. Often they point out that hydroquinone can cause cancer and was banned in Europe. Yet the usually quick to pull the recall trigger FDA still permits hydroquinone to be sold here– both in over the counter formulations and in prescription only preparations. I was both confused and worried. Digging into the literature and talking to a few trusted experts, here is the current take on hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone is considered the most effective skin lightenens currently available and is one of the very few on that acts by preventing melanin formation. There are three problems associated with hydroquinone:
1) Tthe British Cancer Journal published a study that linked very high doses of hydroquinine to cancers in mice. A second similar study found similar … Continue Reading… →
Kojic Acid has been around for almost 100 years. It was originally discovered by Japanese scientists who were working on different fermenting methods to turn malted rice into sake. As the story goes, the scientists noticed that spots and freckles on their hands disappeared after working with Sake production. Kojic Acid has been a popular Japanese beauty aid for generations. In recent years we’ve learned that Kojic Acid acts somewhat like hydroquinone by preventing melanin formation.
Research has shown that Kojic Acid can be effective but it has its problems. On the one hand it tends to be unstable and high concentrations are often needed to be an effective spot buster. On the other hand, Kojic can be very irritating and is known to cause allergic reactions. Often the best solution is to combine lower concentrations of Kojic acid with other skin lighteners like soy or hydroquinone.
Soy is a fascinating ingredients in anti-aging skin care products. Studies have shown that its a powerful antioxidant and help the growth of healthy new collagen. In addition, genistein, a chemical in soy, prevents melanin pigments from attaching to skin cells. This makes soy a great addition to sun protection and indeed soy is effective for preventing and reducing brown spots and freckles of sun damage. However, soy does not work nearly so well for melasma, those dark patches that usually appear on the cheeks and forehead. This type of hyperpigmentation appears to be fueled by estrogen and in fact genistein is a type of pseudo-estrogen. In theory soy might actually make melasma worse.
So to bottom line it, if you have been a sun baby and have lots of small freckles, soy enriched moisturizers could brighten your skin. If you have larger patches, especially if they developed … Continue Reading… →
Here is the two step jar of Elure, the new skin brightening agent. The jar is divided into two compartments. As per instructions, I used the first little spatula to put a dab of cream from the first side on the BIG FRECKLE, waited a minute then spread the same amount from side two on the same spot. Totally simple, but I’ve yet to get into a routinue to do it twice a day. So far, I’ve put on about half the recommended doses. I’ve got to step up my game to give it a legitimate chance to work. I keep forgetting to put it on either in the morning or evening. I think that if I was using on my face, it would be easier to remember, and just add it to my skin care routinue– but I’m not … Continue Reading… →
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a type of photorejuvenation that uses a blast of light to remove freckles, unwanted hair and little red lines on the skin. Often called the “lunchtime laser” it does not burn off the top layers of the skin like a tradtional laser and the skin looks beautiful and smooth within a week. I had IPL last year in June with Dr Marmur and was so pleased with the results. I thought it made my skin look tighter and fresher and I posted before and after pics on the blog. My BFF ( best friend with freckles) liked the changes so much that she went for her own IPL date. I think her results were even better. Not only does she look 10 years younger, her skin has a new radiance. She is so pleased with the … Continue Reading… →