Posted in Uncategorized, tagged freckles, brown spots, decollete, No-Nonsense Beauty Blog, Deb Chase, brown spot removal, what are brown spots, remove brown spots, what are age spots, brown spot, liver spots, dark brown spots on skin, Golden Globes on January 17, 2013 |
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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. Normally one spot ( even though it was shaped like a medieval serpent) would hardly be worth mentioning. But I get so many questions about the best way to even out chest skin tone, I decided to explore other tools for this area.
I asked Dr Marmur to use a Fraxel laser but she pointed out that the brown mark was slightly raised and textured ( photo on right). For this type of spot she need to zap it with an electro cautery needle. After numbing the area with a tiny shot of lidocaine, Dr Marmur touched the raised area with the heated wired needle. The skin actually sizzled as the tip burned off the raised brown splotch. It took less than a minute. The area was quite red and as directed, I dabbed on a bit of Aquaphor and covered it with a bandaid. When the lidocaine wore off, my chest felt just a bit sore.
The next day the area was still red and raw, but not painful ( see photo on left). Dr Marmur warned me that the chest skin will stay red for up to several months. Since body skin tends to heal more slowly than on the face, winter time is an excellent time to have laser work on body parts hidden by pants and sweaters. One week later the area has healed to a slightly dry, faint brownish pink splotch ( photo to right). In a month I’ll post a follow-up pix. If ever find myself walking on the red carpet, at least my decolette will be ready.
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Posted in Q&A, tagged age spots, akin lightening cream, bleach skin, bleaching cream, bleaching skin, brown spots, dark patches, freckle removal, freckles, how to lighten skin, laser freckles, lighten skin, skin bleach, skin lightening, skin lightening cream, whitening the skin on February 10, 2012 |
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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 it looks like a traditional, flattering foundation rather than mime make-up. Most of them are enriched with anti-aging ingredients like anti-oxidants and peptides that also promote healing.
BB creams from Dior, Mac, GArnier and Estee Lauder are promoted not so much for post- laser sensitive skin but as a skin brightener to erase dark spots and splotches. By coating the skin each day with a high 40-50 SPF, the existing melanin in the skin will be breaking down and new melanin will be prevented. The results should be a fresher, clearer complexion.
There is good theory here but does it really work? General skin lightening aka brightness or luminosity, is a hard thing to measure and even harder to capture in a home photograph. To see if BB creams can actually make a difference, I am going to take a Visia imaging scan that can actually see the melanin deposits in the skin.( I’ve posted this type of photo before and there results are pretty startling.) Then I will use a BB cream for a month and then do another Visia photo. If the BB cream actually changes the melanin content of the skin, we’ll all see it.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged age spots, anti-aging, bleaching the skin, freckles, hydroquinone, hydroquinone and cancer, melasma, mercury, skin bleach, skin bleaching, SPF sunscreen, sun lotion, whitening the skin on December 23, 2011 |
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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 results. Subsequently, hydroquinone was banned in Europe ,Australia and parts of Asia and Africa. In 2006, the FDA issued a four month moratorium on hydroquinone to review the data, but then allowed it to be used for”severe melasma for a short period of time”. Animal studies linking something to cancer is certainly a big, ugly, red flag, but to date there are no studies that show it affects people the same way.
There is also concern that hydroquinone is linked to increased risk of skin cancer, because it makes the skin more vulnerable to UV rays. For this reason its important to use an SPF50 when treating the skin with hydroquinone based products.
2) Hydroquinine is thought to cause a condition called ochronosis which provokes the appearance of dark blue/black pigment in the skin. If you pick up almost any article on hydroquinone you will read about this problem. However current wisdom now believes that this problem is actually due to the illegal presence of mercury in hydroquinone preparations, a common practice overseas including products from South Asia, and Africa. It was interesting that at a national dermatology meeting this summer, the speaker pointed out that most dermatologists had never seen a case of ochronosis from hydroquinone in this country. She asked the audience of 500 dermatologists to raise their hand if they had seen the problem in any patient. Only 2 out of the 500 raised their hands and both had seen these patients outside of the US– one in Africa and the other in Jamacia. Interesting.
3) Hydroquinone has been known to cause irritation and redness which in women of color can lead to increased patches of irregular pigmentation. I personally experienced the mother of all reactions when I did a patch test of popular skin lightening product when I was still in high school. A small dab in the crook of my arm produced a five inch patch of red, itchy skin. However, I was able to use Triluma without any problems, and I wonder what else was in that old time skin bleach. Because of its itrritation potential, doctors agree that it should not be used on skin that is already sunburned, dry, chapped or inflamed.
So to bottom line it, hydroquinone is strong stuff and certainly has some baggage. But its still the most effective skin lightening we have in out tool kit. It seems to work beautifully with other ingredients like vitamin C, retin A and alpha hydroxy acids. You can use lower concertrations and get addtional benefits from complementary ingredients. Always keep the concentration of hydroquinone as low as possible. Over the counter preparations can have up to 2% while those available by prescriptions usually have around 4% hydroquinone. And only buy skin lightening products made in the US. Mercury has been banned for decades and this seems to be a major source of problems in skin bleaching preparations from other countries
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged age spots, bleach skin, bleaching cream, bleaching skin, freckles, how to lighten skin, hydroquinone, hyperpigmentation, kojic acid, pigmentation, removal of freckles, skin bleaching, skin whitening, soy, whitening the skin on December 2, 2011 |
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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 Kojic acid skin lightening creams, make sure you do a little patch test on your arm before slathering it on your face.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged age spots, brighten skin, facial freckles, freckle, freckle treatment, freckles, genestein, hyperpigmentation, melasma, pigmentation, skin whitening, soy, sun spots, treatment for freckles on November 18, 2011 |
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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 after you’ve been on ”the pill” and or had a baby, soy won’t be of that much help.
One final thought. Some doctors are concerned that the estrogen-like compounds in soy could increase risk of breast and ovarian cancers. They have recommended limiting soy intake in foods and are now increasing that advice to include soy enriched skin care products. If you or your family have a history of breast or ovarian cancer, you might be wise to avoid soy based beauty aids.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged agespots, alpha hydroxy acid, arbutin, brown spots, freckle, freckles, glycolic, hyperpigmentation, kojic acid, laser freckles, melasma, pigmenttion on September 21, 2011 |
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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 used to treating my forearm twice a day. Guidelines are also to top the treated areas with a sunscreen but since sweater weather is here, the arms are not exposed to the skin, and I skip this step.
On the plus side, I didn’t have any irritation or rednesss that has been a problem with other skin lighteners. Doctors also recommend combining Elure with other brighteners such as glycolic acid, kojic acid and arbutin. I’m going to try that in the next round, but right now I want to see what this contender can do all by itself.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged anti-age, anti-aging skin, facial anti-aging, foto facial, freckles, intense pulse light, IPL laser, laser clinic, laser face, laser facial, laser freckles, laser hair removal, nti-aging, photo facial, skin laser, skin rejuvenation, wrinkle remover on May 11, 2011 |
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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 results, that she has now joined me in my anti-aging journey.
First we developed a plan. In the morning she is using a strong sunscreen to prevent the return of freckles. When she was in school, BFF was a super athlete. Her current passion is gardening and she is developing a new style of wall garden. For either activity she is often in direct sun, and needs an uber sunscreen. At night she is using Retin A to stimulate circulation and new collagen. After a few months on Retin A, she will have Pelleve and will share the results on No-Nonsense Beauty Blog. Have you tried out an anti-aging tool or technique? It would be wonderful if you could share your experience and before and after photos. There are so many options out there its hard to know which work and which are empty promises? As Mulder would say to Scully–” The Truth is out there”.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged age, age spots, anti-age, anti-aging, cherry angiomas, cosmetic laser, dermatologu laser, Fraxel, freckle, freckles, freckles treatment, laser face, laser facial, laser freckles, skin laser, skin rejuvenation, spider angiomas on April 27, 2011 |
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Here is a pix of my neck ten days after removing the various bumps and splotches. The scabs are gone and the redness is slowly fading. To avoid awkward stares questions, I am still wearing scarves and chuncky necklaces to cover them up. I found that powder mineral foundation does hide them, but then rubs off and stains my tees and blouses, soI’m sticking to camouflage rather than make-up. Now that I’ve worked so hard to polish up my neck and chest I want to protect it from new problems. I had three types of spots:
Brown spots: These are a combination of age and sunlight. The former I can’t so anything about– the latter just needs a daily sunscreen. Done.
Skin tags: These are also linked to age and to high blood sugar levels. Not surprising, since I have type II Diabetes. As a matter of fact, it was Park Avenue dermatologist Dr Lefkovits who saw them 15 years ago and told me to get tested for diabetes. If I keep my blood sugar under control, they do not reappear.
Red spots: These are called cherry angiomas and result when a small group of tiny blood vessels clump together. They are a genetic thing and there is nothing I can do to prevent them. However they can develop little extensions which are known as spider angiomas. Both sunlight and alcohol can provoke these to appear. I’m a two glasses of wine a week kind of drinker, so that’s not a problem. Remembering to apply aunscreen to my neck and chest is my new summer routinue.
And I’ve noticed an extra bonus to this round of freckle removal. In the area where I had laser treatment, the neck skin looks smoother and less bumpy. This ability to tighten skin is one of lasers best benefits and spot tightening is actually the principle behind the Fraxel Laser. Rather than totally burning off the top layer with the ultimate C02 Laser, Fraxel works on a grid to treat tiny areas. but leave adjacent skin untouched. The result? A more natural looking tightening. I had not been that interested to do Fraxel, but now that I see how the principle works, its something I will explore it a bit, especially for my neck.
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