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Archive for the ‘skin lightening’ Category

FrecklesIts back on shelves!  Tri-luma, the turbo powered skin lightener is now available after a more than an 18 month disappearance.  There was no FDA recall or explanation from the company.  Nothing.   I discovered that compounding pharmacies could make it up for individual prescriptions, but that option  was just not widely  available.  Then,  without fanfare  or explanation,  Tri-luma  was back– and I’m delighted. 

 How Tri-luma Works

This prescription- only skin lightener  contains three active ingredients:

1.  Tretinoin ( aka Retin A) is famous for its ability to speed up cell growth and exfoliate darkened areas.

2. Hydroquinone which prevents melanin production and is considered one of the most effective  weapons in the  anti- hyperpigmentation tool  kit

3.  Mild corticosteroid to keep  things calm.  Both Retin A and  hydroquinone can be irritating.  Enter  a  mild steroid.  It allows the skin brighteners to do their job  while keeping the skin calm and comfortable

While Tri-luma can be used over the entire face, I needed it mainly  to lighten my dark under eye shadows.   Plain Retin A  is too irritating to be used on delicate under eye areas but mixed with a steroid it can  address  skin darkness without causing more  problems.

Tri-luma was one of the first anti-aging tools I used and I loved the way it lightened  my long standing  dark shadows.  However while plain RetinA can be used continuously for years, most  doctors recommend using  Tri-luma  only for three montha at a time.   The treatment period  should be followed by a three month  Tri-luma holiday and then the  product can be used again for another three months.  To keep it fresh and effective, pharmacists recommend keeping it in the refrigerator.

There is a whole buffet  of skin lighteners including kojic acid, arbutin and soy extract, but Tri-luma  is often the product of choice.   It represents the new thinking about  medical treatment.  Rather than a single  solution to a problem , researchers are looking at different targets  for treatment.  In the case of  hyperpigmentation,  some skin lighteners like retin A a can help the skin shed darkened skin cells while  while ingredients like hydroquinone  can break up existing  melanin.  Combining them in one product can be much more effective than used spearately.  Since Kojic acid seems to prevent melanin production, I would love to see a  product  that combines all four ingredients.  There are so many me-too  products, it would wonderful to see a formulation that uses all of the science  we  now have about treatmenting dark patches and spots.

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UNTREATED ACNE SCARI had managed to get through my adolescent acne without a single  scar.  This  summer my skin decided to act like  an out of control teenager.  By the time it was brought under control, I was left with my very first  acne scar.  Stuck in the lower half of my left cheek, I   hoped that  I could pass it off as a brand new dimple.   But pictures don’t lie  and it was clear that the indentation was it exactly what it looked like — an acne scar. 

Four Types of Acne Scars

Scars develop from acne eruption  when the skin hurriedly tries to repair itself after a pimple  has demolished  existing collagen.  The fast track  repaired collagen  is not up to code and the result is not ideal.   All acne scars are not created equally and there are actually four different kinds:

1. Saucer Shaped Scars— these are depressions in the skin where the collagen repair  has not provided enough tissue to fill in what was destroyed.  This  is what is going on in my sca.r

2. Icepick Scars— Looking like a giant pore,   they are called ice pick scars because they look like they have been made by a thin sharp instrument.   ( Remember Basic Instinct?  That kind of ice pick).   These scars occur because the follicle and oil gland  have  been totally trashed leaving an empty space where the structures had been.

3.  Hypertrophic Scars— Raised, bumpy  often red scars  are  accumulations of badly made collagen from  overlapping cysts.  The body  was so eagar to repair the skin  it worked   too hard and too fast. 

4. Papular Scars—  these white raised  bumps are  especially resistant treatment.

Treating Acne Scars

Each type of acne scar needs its own treatment protocol.  Retin A, sunscreens and lightening creams, can relieve the hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin   that can accompany scarring.   But the visable signs of collagen disruption need to experience the power of  different types of lasers.

For my “dimple” Dr Marmur zapped the area with Clear and Brilliant laser to lighten the scarACNE SCAR AFTER LASER and  encourage growth of new collagen.  Two weeks later my saucer scar is more  like  my natural skin tone   and  the indention is less deep.   We’re going to try another Clear and Brilliant treatment to encourage a bit more more natural collagen.   Saucer shaped scars can also be leveled off with fillers like Juvaderrm  or Radiesse.  These are generally not permanent solutions but over time, these injectables can also stimulate the growth of  healthy organized collagen.

I am  personally delighted that I do not have any more  acne scars to  repair, but I will be showing  before and after  posts from other women  that illustrate  treatments of the three other  types of scars.  Perfection may not be possible, but  new treatments, especially combination of treatments, can  make a huge difference.

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