Question: I am a 45 year old South Asian women. I now live near Chicago and the weather is usually grey and very cold. My cousin says I still need to use a sunscreen and I think its unnecesary at this time of year. Who is right?
Answer: Umm, I tend to stay out of family arguments, but in this case I have to say your cousin is right. The UV rays are hitting our skin all year round. While your melanin rich complexion provides protection from sun aging and skin cancers, even weak UV rays can provoke unwanted patches of darker pigmentation known as hyperpigmentation or melasma. Brown spots and splotches are an increasing problem for skin of color. Rather than spend a good part of your beauty dollar on products that promise to brighten and even out the skin tones, prevent hyperpigmentation … Continue Reading… →
Tri-luma was a popular combination of tretinoin ( the generic name for Retin-A), hydroquinone to lighten the skin and a medium strength steroid by the name of flucinolone. The tretinoin would hasten skin growth and exfoliation to shed darkened skin; the hydroquinone would decease melanin production and the steroid would avoid redness and swelling from the other two turbo driven ingredients. It worked well for my under eye shadows and was the go to-product for brown patches known as melasma.
It would take at least three weeks to see results for Tri-luma, but when it worked, it WORKED. You had to be complusive about sunscreen using at least a 30SPF during and after Tri-luma since the ingredients increased sun sensitivity to the sun.Then one day Tri-luma seemed to disappear from pharmacy … 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… →
I was intrigued by a new freckle fighting cream called Elure. There are good clinical studies that it can lighten dark patches in 7-28 days. Elure gets its power from a type of naturally occuring enzyme derived from tree mushrooms. Called legnin peroxidase, it acts by breaking down melanin in the skin cells. Unlike hydroquinone, this enzyme is non irritating and shows no skin sensitivity.
We all know that excess pigmentation is linked to sun exposure. What is less well known is that as we get older there is an increase in dark spots and splotches due to a slowdown in the rate of cell growth. In our twenties cells turn over every 28 days. By the 50’s, the cycle is extended to 45 days. This means that darkened … Continue Reading… →
IPL laser treatments are one of the fastest growing anti-aging office proceedures. When I had IPL and posted the before, healing and after photos, I received more questions than on any other topic. IPL is often described as the “lunchtime laser”, but its really a bigger deal than say, a manicure. What I learned from the experience should give you the tools to get the beautiful results you want
1. Can I have IPL while pregnant?
It’s not recommended. IPL has never been tested during pregnancy and few if any dermatologists would do the procedure during these critical nine months. If anyone says they will do it at this time, run.
2. Can I have IPL on my hands?
Yes, it works beautifully on the hands and probably heals faster than the YAG laser I used on my hands last month. However IPL is more expensive than the traditional laser treatment on the same area.