Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Hype on Hyperpigmentation

 The struggle in the battle with hyperpigmentation is a raging war that seems to never end. There are so many factors that determine how we get these darkened stains/spots, but two most common causes which we deal with regularly are Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (usually caused by a pimple or acne), and Melasma (caused by hormones and excessive sun damage).

Most acne sufferers should be relieved to learn that Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is not scarring. Given a little time, PID should eventually fade, even without treatment. Note that it can take three to 24 months for PIH to fully fade, however it may take longer in a few cases. The  actual length of time it takes for PIH to fade depends on how dark the PIH macule is compared to your skin tone. (The bigger the contrast between the macule and your natural skin tone, the longer it will take to fade.)
Although there are treatment options available to help fade post inflammatory hyperpigmentation more quickly, your acne should be under control before beginning any treatment for PIH. Otherwise, each new pimple could cause another PIH macule, reducing the effectiveness of treatment.
Whatever treatment option you choose, understand that improvement will take time. Think in terms of months rather than weeks. Also, many dermatologist recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. The sun may darken the discolorations and increase fading time

Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by increased hormone stimulation. It is most commonly experienced by women who are pregnant (which is why it’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) or taking contraceptives, but can also be caused by cosmetics or medications.
The most common pattern of melasma is centrofacial: on the chin, upper lip, cheeks, nose, and forehead.  But it can also show up to a lesser extent on the cheeks, nose, and jaw line.
Studies suggest up to 75% of women may develop melasma during pregnancy and about 33% of women on oral contraceptives show symptoms as well. However, once hormonal fluctuations subside, such as the end of pregnancy or the discontinuing of oral contraceptives, the hyperpigmentation often disappears.
Excess sun exposure is also a strong risk factor for melasma. The condition is particularly common in tropical climates.
Creams containing a combination of tretinoin, kojic acid, and azelaic acid have been shown to improve the appearance of melasma. Occasionally, your doctor may recommend chemical peels or topical steroid creams. In severe cases, laser treatments can be used to remove the dark pigment.
Avoiding the sun and using sunscreen are key to preventing melasma.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A New Kinder Facelift

I recently had the pleasure of having an interesting new skin treatment called Microcurrent Facelift facial, by my good friend Jeff, who is also an esthetician. With all the media hype that has been featured on this procedure, I have been curious to how it works and the results that would be obtained. I have to say that the actual feeling of electrical pulses coursing through the skin was a little weird at first, but I became accustomed to it after a few minutes. (This was definitely a NEW experience for me.)
Microcurrent technology works by delivering impulses of mild electrical currents deep into the skin’s surface. This triggers the healing response because the skin cells sense that the tissues have been injured and the body begins to produce more and more cells in order to heal this ‘injury.’ This then boosts collagen production deep within the skin’s surface and encourages the skin cells to heal and repair themselves naturally as they reproduce to heal the injured site.
Dramatic results are not instant, but the skin will appear tighter and firmer after just one facial session. I am told that most people experience the best results about three weeks after the session when the body goes through its natural detoxification and cell turnover process.

If you are curious about this treatment call or email Jeff Davis:


Monday, November 2, 2009

Why so dry and sensitive

While there are many triggers to skin sensitization, one of the biggest consequences of dry skin is an increase in sensitivity. Dry skin is a precursor to sensitized skin because when skin is dry, it’s depleted of its natural protective lipid barrier. This lowers skin’s defenses against environmental assaults that can cause a sensitized reaction in skin, such as itching , redness, and sometimes even breakouts.
The top extrinsic causes of dry skin
Extrinsic refers to external factors that impact skin health, such as our environment and lifestyle. Here are some of the major extrinsic causes of dry skin.
Weather / Environmental elements

Cold winds and low temperatures can dry out skin, depriving it of balanced levels of oils, and contributing to premature aging. Prolonged exposure to the sun causes water to evaporate from skin. Forced air heating also dries out skin: warm, dry air acts like a sponge, soaking up moisture from everything it touches.

The trend of low-fat or fat-free diets can deprive our bodies of skin-friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) critical to all parts of a healthy functioning body. They help protect against water loss within cells and throughout skin, helping to prevent dryness, keeping skin supple and hydrated. An EFA deficiency can result in chronic itching, dryness, scaling, and thinning. Smoking can have a drying effect on skin: it drains skin and body of vitamins A and C and constricts blood vessels (which equates to less blood flow) – meaning smoking is somewhat like suffocating skin from the inside. Excess intake of alcoholic beverages and certain medications (such as nasal decongestants) can also contribute to dry skin.

Remember that hydrating your body both inside and out is key during the cooler months. Be sure to drink lots of water and use a humidifier if your heater is depleting your home of all moisture. You might also find that changing to a heavier moisturizer will help with surface dehydration as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Airing out the Laundry

At some point in time, we all deal with breakouts and want to know the best and safe way to clear up our congestion.

do your laundry habits affect your skin?

There’s no shortage of myths when it comes to acne. Cut through the rumors and understand the facts to further your understanding of how to keep skin clear.

Myth 1: A blackhead is actually dirt inside the pore.
FALSE! Blackheads, known as open comedones, are simply whiteheads that have reached the skin’s surface, triggering oxidization upon contact with air. Oxidization makes the comedone change/darken in color (think how an apple turns brown after it’s been cut).

Myth 2: Sugary, refined foods contribute to acne.
This is actually a misinterpretation – these foods don’t directly cause acne, but they do feed the breeding ground for acne by exacerbating sebum production.

Myth 3: Sunscreens increase oil production and feed acne bacteria.
FALSE. Speak with your professional skin therapist about new, sophisticated formulations that provide sun protection with skin care benefits, including oil control and minimization of bacteria.

Myth 4: Stay away from fabric softeners.
TRUE! Try to stay away from use of fabric softeners on sheets and pillowcases. Beef lard and fragrance are the main ingredients, and they’ll coat your skin!