Do I Really Need to Use A Sunscreen in Winter?

Q&A2Question: 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…

Custom-Made Tri-luma for me– and you too

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– Can it lighten my skin?

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.

If you want to try … Continue Reading…

Can A Soy Moisturizer Brighten My Skin?

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…

Exploring a New Freckle Fighter

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– Five Top Questions

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.

3. … Continue Reading…