We’re so excited Dr. Angela is back today! Is it just us or does life feel busier than ever these days?! Well, Dr. A is giving us tips and ways to brighten the skin EVEN with a busy schedule. Keep reading…
All of us want smooth, even skin, but many of us have a non-stop, on-the-go lifestyle that makes some of the treatments impractical. We all look in the mirror and see that new brown spot or wrinkle that seems to pop up over night. I have to say that it stresses me out. Luckily, there are options!
Topical treatments can be a good answer, but which ones work? Scientific studies show that Retin-A improves skin texture and sun spots by stimulating the formation of new skin cells and promoting a type of exfoliation. Hydroquinone reduces and lightens brown spots by molecularly interrupting the melanin cycle, so your cells cannot make more pigment while the pigment that is already there cycles out. Steroids help reduce inflammation, which has been found to have a role in both aging and creation of brown spots. Any of these can be used or they can be combined in prescription form. A pre-made version, Tri-Luma, is available in most pharmacies and is one of my favorites for an overall softening and brightening effect! If a stronger cream is needed, this can be made in a compounding pharmacy under the direction of your physician. Natural lighteners, like Kojic acid, Arbutin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Niacinamide are available and effective, have their place in a regimen, but do not have the same level of scientific data behind their use.
Results start to become visible in about 4-12 weeks. With a hydroquinone product, you want to give your skin a rest after 12 weeks. Particularly in darker skinned people, you have the risk of developing ochronosis, which is a darkening of the skin that can have a blue colored hue if you use it longer than 12-16 weeks. The hydroquinone product can be replaced with an alternative product, such as kojic acid, retinol based, or other natural lightener can be used for 12 weeks to maintain the progress that you have made. Then, the hydroquinone product can be started again. Because you have to be very careful limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen while you use hydroquinone, summer is the perfect time to cycle off of this product and on to one that is not as sun sensitizing.
IPL, Lunchtime lasers
Intense Pulse Light treatments can be an alternative or a treatment to use in combination to the topical therapy. This is a treatment that uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths to help reduce sun spots and redness. A nice side effect is the stimulation of collagen. This has very little downtime, producing very little redness, flaking or skin changes. This is a series that needs to be repeated 7-10 times to get the full effect, though.
In the pursuit of getting more for less, the combination topical therapy and low downtime treatments can fit into todays busy lifestyle.
Image borrowed from Tanya Burr