Tag Archives: hyper-pigmentation

Prepping Your Skin for a Peel

28 Jun

It’s not exactly the best time of year to be doing chemical peels (or laser treatments) because most people want to be outside enjoying the sun. But I’ve been doing a lot of training with Alexis Robertson, the Massachusetts rep for Image Skin Care, and I just finished reading a book she gave me on Chemical Peeling. So I had to post something before I gave her back her book! Stay tuned for more posts on different types of Peels or start researching with   ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!.


ßAlexis is peeling Andrea Purcell, an excellent aesthetician in North Reading at Stephanie Cogliano on Main Street. Andrea is a candidate for a peel in the summer because she has prepped her skin, and she will not be in the sun. She is a trained professional.

Why Peel?

Chemical Peels are great ways to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, clear up acne, and fade hyperpigmentation. But before you have a peel there are a few things you should be using on your skin to prep it. This will ensure you get the best results from your peel. Ideally, these products should be started two to four weeks before a peel, depending on the state of your skin to start and the type of peel that you will be receiving.

Prepping is important for several reasons.

  • It will reduce wound healing time.
  • Allow for more uniform penetration of the peeling agent.
  • Decrease the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Enforce the concept of a maintenance regimen and determine which products your skin tolerates.
  • Establish compliance and eliminate inappropriate peel candidates.

So what products should you be using to prep your skin? Here’s a little guide.

Retinoic Acid

(ex. Retin A, Trenitoin) By now you should know how much I love retinol! The use of Retinoic Acid 2 weeks before a TCA peel will speed up re-epithelization of cells (which prevents infection). Since Retinoic Acid thins the top layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum), it allows for better penetration of the peeling agent. Retinoic Acid has also been shown to have some skin lightening effects. It is also my FAVORITE skin care product.  More on Retinoic Acid (my fav!).

 

AHA’s

(ex. Glycolic acid) AHA products also thin the stratum corneum and allow better penetration of peeling agents. They also have been shown to have some skin lightening effects.

*My Favorite Product EVER is an AHA/RETINAL Blend:


MD Reconstructive Repair Crème. Hands down best product on the market.

Bleaching Agents

(ex. Hydroquinone, kojic acid) These products are not exactly bleaching your skin. They inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in the production of melanin, making hyperpigmentation reactions less likely. Personally, I love kojic acid, it smells like Mexico. No, not the dirty part… the part that smells like Piña Coladas. We will from now on refer to this product as the Cancun of skin care. Minus the hangover.

Currently, there is some controversy over the use of hydroquinone. It should not be used for long periods of time, or on pigmentation that is caused by hormones (also known as melasma). Be careful with this ingredient. It’s used in a lot of medical product lines (like Obagi… which I’m not a fan of).

Sunblock

Get used to it. SPF BABY! Remember stick to physical blocks with Zinc.  It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).

So why is it important to establish a baseline?

By starting on products prior to peeling, a baseline can be established as to what your skin normally tolerates when it’s not inflamed or irritated. Also it establishes some good habits, like the need to wear sunscreen. If you go in for a peel, and you don’t wear sunscreen, you are going to be in some serious trouble. The same goes with using Retinol products. But, it all honesty, we sometimes ignore home care instructions because we don’t understand why we are being told we need to do something. We need a consequence before we follow a rule. Well… I forgot sunscreen one time while using retinol. I won’t do that again. Caused my own little chemical peel. Not pretty.

Noncompliance is a HUGE problem in health care. And chemical peels can be dangerous if you’re not going to listen to post care instructions. If you can’t follow a few instructions before a peel, you certainly aren’t going to follow them after. This just proves to you and your skin person that you are not an eligible candidate for a peel. But if you CAN follow instructions, it gets you into a good regiment which you will need to continue post peel. Remember, your skin cells are constantly cycling, and therefore it is extremely important to ALWAYS be taking care of them.

This is not a one and done procedure (like liposuction is… lol.).

“Youth No Longer Wasted On the Young”


Love LK.

P.S. I am sticking to being brunette. But I’m keeping my twitter name as @Boston_Barbie. I will forever be a blonde (and a child) at heart. You can follow me and Alexis at @ImageSkinCareMA.

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Hydra-facials are awesome.

19 May

(after picture)

Because I’m pretty and I say so. And in case that’s not enough of a reason… read on. J

A Little Latin Lesson in Linguistics (alliteration is as awesome as hydrafacials)

In case you’re a little rusty on your Latin, “hydra” means water and facial means … well facial isn’t Latin for anything. That I know of… but I’m not a linguist. Anyways. Hydrafacials are amazing! They work by infusing serums into your pores. Hydrafacial, or hydradermabrasion, is a noninvasive, non-laser skin resurfacing treatment that combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection simultaneously, resulting in clearer, more beautiful skin. There is no discomfort or down-time (although you might have a little redness for about an hour). The treatment is soothing, moisturizing, non-invasive and non-irritating. It also has attachments that can be used on the back, neck, and décolleté (that’s actually a French word… not Latin).

The HydraFacial treatment improves the appearance of:

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • congested and enlarged pores
  • oily or acne-prone skin
  • hyper-pigmentation and brown spots

Before starting, I washed all of my make up off (which I don’t wear much of because my skin is usually so nice!). This is my before picture. I was in DESPERATE need of a facial.

Pass 1: Activ-4™ Skin Solution

Designed for most skin types. It helps to promote the overall health of skin; improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, brown spots, fine lines and uneven skin tone. The tip attachment used on the hand-piece during this step has a fine sandpaper-like part works like microdermabrasion. It mechanically exfoliates the top layer of skin.

My face is RED.

The black part is the microdermabrasion tip.

Step 2: Beta-HD™ Skin Solution

This Salicylic Acid based skin solution is specifically designed for acne-prone and oily skin (like mine). It softens sebum, dislodges skin debris and aids in painless extractions of whiteheads and blackheads.

Step 3
Antiox-6™ Skin Solution:

Containing Vitamin A, Vitamin E, White Tea Extract and Hyaluronic Acid, the Antiox-6™ is designed for overall antioxdiant protection and deep hydration on most skin types.

Other Steps

  • DermaBuilder™ Peptide Complex (
    DermaBuilder™): THE new, hot age-refining solution right now! The DermaBuilder™ helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin firmness, skin tone and skin texture.
  • GlySal™ Acid Peels ( GlySal): This special Glycolic Acid & Salicylic Acid blend combines physical & chemical peeling to achieve optimal results. Unlike traditional acid peels, there is little to no downtime involved. Skin is well hydrated, smooth and radiant after the procedure.

1 hour later …

In the CAAAAAH Leaving JAHHHHR. Boston. Haaaaaa.

Representing my team. I love Rondo! #9 : My man.

Very happy my skin looks so good. Now if we could just fix my skunk hair. Just kidding. I love my Ombre (hombre? I think that’s Latin?). As you can see I’m still a little pink, but my skin looks and feels so fresh and so clean.

Recommendations

Visible skin refinement and an even, radiant skin tone may be seen after just one treatment. The smooth results and hydration may last 5 to 7 days or even longer.  A series of 6 treatments is recommended for improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, acne and oily skin. Remember, using good skin care products at home will help these results last longest and help give you the most bang for your buck (did I just say that?) for any in office procedure. (Step 2: Spend wisely.)

I even got Alexis to love them (the Image Rep slash Skin Guru). And she is so picky about her skin. See. She’s smiling.

Physical Facial Changes That Occur As We Age

24 Oct

Women often ask me to look at their face and tell them what I see as signs of aging.  I love loaded questions!  Many women don’t know what exactly it is that makes them look older, they just know they see age on their faces in the mirror.  Almost 90% of aging is due to sun damage.  So please start wearing sunblock everyday! (It makes a great base for mineral make-up, or if you like make-up free, get a tinted moisturizer with SPF).  Coming blogs will explain what to do about these factors!

These changes are sequential and predictable!

Starting at 25…

Beginning in your mid-twenties, the rate of skin cell renewal actually slows. As this happens, your skin becomes thinner which makes it more prone to damaging environmental elements like the sun, harsh weather conditions, and pollution, which causes it to develop a dull, rough, or uneven texture. In addition, the network of collagen and elastin fibers that is so important to maintaining the skin’s structure and elasticity breaks down and slowly diminishes, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and loose, sagging skin. Lastly, lipids that form a barrier against water loss in the stratum corneum break down in response to changing hormone levels. The skin’s moisture barrier becomes leaky, allowing water to escape the skin, which may cause your skin to become drier with age.

When you’re younger you have a triangular shape face, and as you age, it becomes more trapezoidal.

Wrinkles

Wrinkles occur because of the damage the sun inflicts on our skin’s collagen and elastin matrix. The sun breaks down that matrix, leaving skin thinner, saggier, and less able to regain its former, tighter contour.  The skin falls into the crevice of muscle fibers which forms the wrinkle.  Muscle movement does not cause wrinkles, but it does contribute to forming them. 

Nasolabial Folds

Gravity pulls the skin and causes it to sag, creating folds in the face.  First they increase in prominence, then they become deeper.  If you look at your face in the mirror you will see one side has deeper folds than the other.  This is from the gravity that occurs as we sleep.  Because most of us are side sleepers, the deeper side is the one that is opposite the side we sleep on.  Look in the mirror.  Is this true for you?

Mouth Area

The cupid’s bow becomes less defined as the upper lip flattens and lengthens.  The lips become thinner, and the corners start to turn down, making the appearance of a permanent scowl.  This scowl continues to increase in recognizably as marionette (puppet) lines form and a pre-jowl depression becomes more prominent.  Vertical lines begin to form (called rhytids) around the mouth.

Cheek Volume

One sign of aging that women often don’t notice is the loss of volume in their cheeks.  We loose fat in our face (and I think it travels to other fun places).  This also contributes to making naso-labial folds look deeper.  Check out Cheek Augmentation with Radiesse: A Personal Experience.

Eye Area

Gravity.  Fat pads from gravity slide out from the eye area and begin to bulge the skin beneath the eye.  The skin above the eye begins to sag and cover the top lid.

Age Spots

Also known as hyper-pigmentation or photoaging, is caused by over production of melanin in the skin.  This is from sun damaging your cell’s DNA.

Skin Care Product Ingredients for Hyper-Pigmentation

22 Oct

Arbutin – L-Arbutin is a naturally occurring form of hydroquinone that inhibits melanin synthesis by inhibiting tyrosinase activity.  Arbutin has also been clinically proven to lighten existing pigment.

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate (Licorice)** – Natural plant lightening agent, tyrosinase inhibitor, more effective than kojic acid and 75 times more effective than ascorbic acid as a lightening agent.

Hydroquinone – A pigment-lightening agent used in bleaching creams.  The FDA allows a maximum of 2 percent concentration in a cosmetic formulation.  Although it occurs naturally, the synthetic version is the one most commonly used in cosmetics.

*Hydroquinone is a very controversial ingredient.  It may be taken off the market due to its “boomerang effect”- when you stop using it, your hyper-pigmentation comes back-with a vengeance*

Kojic Acid – A skin-lightening agent of widespread use in Japan.  Studies are finding it to be a tyrosinase inhibitor, though not as effective as licorice extract.  When combined with allantoin and other proper ingredients in sunscreen preparations, the mixture can inhibit UV-caused erythematic and accelerate wound healing.

Matsuke Singer Enzyme Mushroom Extract – Highly potent mushroom extract from Japan. Studies are showing to be the most potent skin whitening agent.

Rumex – Alpha Arbutin’s manufacturers proclaim that the active, pure substance works on removing “liver spots”, brightening skin color, and inhibiting tanning (even after UV sun exposure) and darkening of the skin BETTER than d-kojic acid and hydroquinone — the medicine dermatologists prescribe and the de facto OTC go-to for ridding of age spots.

Alpha Arbutin as the ALPHA (a-glucosidic ) inhibits the activity of tyrosinase MUCH more effectively than its beta version. The alpha form offers higher stability and efficacy, leading to a skin lightening active that acts faster and more efficiently leading to much more pronounced diminishing of liver spots (age spots), and an obvious reduction in the degree of skin tanning after UV exposure.

The most special version of Alpha Arbutin is perhaps that made by Tyrostat. Tyrostat claims its skin-lightening ingredients, in particular its version of Alpha Arbutin, is derived from plants that are native to the northern Canadian prairie region. The most significant “plant” out of these is the Rumex. Traditionally the plant is used more to stop the sting in nettles (it’s a proven folk remedy for nettle stings and rashes), or as an astringent. However, Tyrostat apparently found a new use, bringing Rumex extract’s high concentration of Alpha Arbutin to the table and promoting its capability in inhibiting the production of the enzyme tyrosinase, leading to clearer complexion and a reduction in skin pigmentation, by limiting both melanin production (tan) and skin reddening (erythema).

***This list was emailed to me from Alexis Robertson, L.M.E., of Image Skin Care, a cosmeceutical line that I use and love.  Check it out at ImageSkinCare.com

Clear, Smooth, Even Skin

16 Oct

The conditions involving skin clarity can be broken into the following physiological categories:

Environmentally Damaged Skin

Environmentally damaged skin results from a history of overexposure to environmental elements.  The sun is responsible for 80% of aging!  Fibers that maintain the skin’s structure and elasticity (collagen and elastin) break down and slowly diminish, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and loose, sagging skin.  UV light can damage the DNA in the skin cells which can lead to different forms of skin cancer.

Other environmental factors include:

    • Harsh weather conditions which destroy the skins moisture barrier resulting in rough, dry, uneven skin tone and texture).
    • Cigarette smoke results in free radicals which break down collagen fibers and cigarettes limit the skin’s oxygen supply.  This results in deep lines, wrinkles, leathery skin, and a yellowish appearance.
    • Pollution causes free radicals, which breaks down collagen fibers resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyper-pigmented Skin

An over production of melanin in the skin results from:

  • UV light causes melanocytes to produce too much pigment.
  • Hormonal Imbalances

Preventing hyperpigmentation should start with sunblock.  ALWAYS wear an SPF when outside, and reapply as needed!

Fixing hyper-pigmentation involves chemical peels and/or laser (usually Intense Pulse Light-IPL).

Problematic

Caused by a number of factors, including genetics, stress, and hormonal imbalances resulting in:

  • Enlarged pores
  • Acne
  • Oil production (too much, not enough)

Reducing the build up of excess oil and dead skin cells, and normalizing the function of cell renewal, helping reduce inflammation and prevents bacteria formation deep within the hair follicle and pores.

How to Maintain Clear, Smooth, Even Skin

Refer to blog posts Step 1: See a Professional and Step 2: Spend wisely.

Clear, smooth skin starts with a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eating a nutritious diet (avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and salt)
  • Regular exercise
  • Adequate hydration
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Avoiding weather extremes (wearing sunscreen EVERY day)

Keeping clear smooth skin doesn’t just involve topic solutions from over the counter.  In fact, they should NEVER involve over the counter products.  Good skin care products recommended by a professional should be used in the morning and evening (especially before bed; your skin restores itself while you sleep).  A professional deep cleanse should be done every 4-6 weeks.

For serious dermatological issues, see a dermatologist!

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