Hyperpimentation. How to Fix It!

Hyperpigmentation. It’s something we all struggle with, unfortunately. There are a lot of products out there making huge promises to get rid of it for. I’m going to break it down and explain to you the best options for the skin, without damaging the skin. As you know, that is always my goal. Let’s fix the problem without causing another one.

Some people are more prone to it than others, based on genetics, but everyone is susceptible. From the fairest skin to the darkest. This is why wearing sunscreen is so important for everyone (I’ll get more into that later).

Remember, no one is born with it. Every baby is free of hyperpigmentation, including freckles, which is also a type of hyperpigmentation.

Freckles are caused by melanin. Melanin is a pigment in the skin and is what gives skin its color. When the sun hits the skin, it causes a production on melanin so that it can protect the skin layers underneath. Once melanin builds up in one place, a freckle is the result.

Here are some ways our skin develops the pigmentation.

Sun Exposure– The sun triggers the production of melanin. The skin is usually worse in the summer months. Using good skin care and regular facial treatments, you can minimize damage. It is completely normal to have your skin get darker in some spots in the summer and lighter in those same spots in the winter. I want to also say, and this is important to remember, sun damage can take up to 10 years to show. That means you can think that your skin is fine after a summer in the sun but later your skin will show the damage. I haven’t tanned my face in 10 years and I am still surprised at the damage that shows up. I had a good time in my teen years and my 20’s!

Heat– This one usually surprises people. Most think that as long as they avoid the actual sun, they will not have any pigmentation. It definitely helps but heat triggers inflammation and inflammation triggers the increase of melanin activity. So even if you go to the beach and wear sunscreen, big sunglasses, a big hat and sit under a big umbrella you can still get the damage. Sorry, folks!

Over-Exfoliation– I am super careful with my clients on how often they exfoliate. When I create a home care plan for them, I consider both the physical and chemical exfoliations. Too much can cause pigmentation. As I said above, inflammation triggers the increase of melanin activity. Even if you can’t see the inflammation, it can still be happening.

Picking at Blemishes/Acne– This is bad for many reasons but one of the biggest ones is that it can create what is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). And like sun damage, you don’t always see it until a few years later.

Hormones– Due to the increase of hormones during pregnancy, melasma is often caused. Just another form of pigmentation but harder to lighten. A lot of women will experience what is called a “pregnancy mask.” The upper lip will darken. This can also happen with birth control and even some medications. Always ask your doctor. I have seen many clients with melasma all over their face so it’s not exclusive to the upper lip. Everyone is different in how they will react but there are some worse than others. I once took a birth control pill and immediately started getting that mask above my lip and I switched that pill real fast! Luckily, no long-term damage was done.

Now I will discuss ways to help the pigmented areas.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, shown to reduce the number of sunburned cells as well as reverse age-related damage to the skin. Antioxidants help fight cell damage from free radicals, which are molecules that could injure cells and increase inflammation.

It does not replace sunscreen, but Vitamin C protects against and may repair UV damage, like discoloration. It also helps brighten the skin, which can make the overall appearance of the skin healthier. This is safe for those pregnant or lactating.

Retinol- A natural form of Vitamin A, this boosts the thickness and elasticity of the skin therefore reducing the signs of wrinkles.

There is an abundant amount of evidence to support that retinol works! Finding it in the right products is the tricky part because you need to have enough to get results. Most over-the-counter products cannot put enough retinol in them to give you the benefits you need. Retinol works by promoting cellular renewal and collagen production to improve skin texture and to diminish brown spots. Not safe for those pregnant and lactating.

This serum is a little more expensive but you only use it about twice a week so lasts longer!

Exfoliation- It’s important not to exfoliate the skin to break up the pigmented areas. As I said before, be careful not to over-exfoliate. I have a great scrub that also acts as a mask. It has glycolic acid and retinol in it with gentle jojoba beads. I love it because over time it helps to lighten and lift hyperpigmentation. I also have these amazing glycolic/retinol pads that act as a toner so it’s a leave-on. Perfect for hyperpigmentation. Book a product consultation with me if you are interested in having me look over your routine using your products.

Great for lightening the skin!

 

Sunscreen- Wear it everyday. SPF 30 is the perfect number. Most damage is done incidentally (about 78%), which means when you are not at the beach but just running errands around town or sitting in your car or next to a window at work. And just as a reminder, sunscreen in your makeup will not help. You have to wear about 7x the amount to actually get that number on the bottle. Sunscreen is skin care and skin care is separate from makeup. Skin care first, makeup second.

Facials- Always important but getting a facial (book with me if you’re local!) when dealing with a specific skin issue will definitely help. Make sure you address your concerns with your esthetician. What you see and what she (or he) sees may be different.

Chemical Peels- Oh my gosh! Anyone who knows me know these are my favorite especially when done in a series. I will only perform the chemical peel series between November and May because of the sun exposure. I am strict on this rule. No point in fixing the skin while damaging it. My series are done weekly over 8 weeks. Slow and steady. I recommend a home care plan so my clients can get the most benefits. They basically have no downtime and can resume normal activities. They might experience some flaking but nothing embarrassing or that will make you want to hide out in your house. You don’t have to peel with a peel because all the change is happening under the top layer.

Results from a Chemical Peel Series and using recommended home care products.

 

www.PSBLounge.com

Listen to the podcast, Pure Skin Talk. 

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Products for Your Winter Skin

Vita-C Serum

One of the most powerful functions of Vitamin C is it’s role in the production of collagen. As you age, collagen breaks down and wrinkles begin to form. Stabilizing your skin’s levels of Vitamin C can help to counteract wrinkle formation by increasing collagen production.

Age spots are essentially sun damage, and Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, shown to reduce the number of sunburned cells as well as reverse age-related damage to the skin. It does not replace sunscreen, but Vitamin C protects against and may repair UV damage, like discoloration and fine lines.

There are different forms of vitamin c but one of the most stable is MAP (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate). Stability is important because when it’s not, it can irritate the skin. That is why not all vitamin c’s are created equal. The one I recommend has MAP in it so therefore most people can use it without an issue.

Hyaluronic Shea Mask

Deep conditioning cream mask binds moisture to prevent water loss, dryness, and roughness while improving elasticity. Nourishing and rejuvenating blend of soothing oils, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter provides intensive, long-lasting hydration for dry, damaged, or mature skin. Your skin will feel so good after you use it. And you can even apply it to your hands for a deep conditioning hand mask. If the weather is making you feel dry, this mask will revitalize your skin again and give you back your glow.

Grapeseed Oil

You all have to be sick of me talking about this oil but I love it and think that it does such great things for the skin. Dry, oily, mature skin, acne skin, teens, babies…whatever your age, whatever your issue, this oil will work.

For those with dry skin, it will deeply hydrate and give you that youthful tone. If you have oily skin, it helps to balance out the oil and in turn, helps with acne.

Konjac Sponge

I love these sponges! I’ve often said how sensitive my skin is so that means I have to be super careful with how I care for it and especially how I exfoliate it. Scrubs don’t work with my skin. They irritate it. Washcloths, even baby washcloths don’t work either. I can use these sponges every other night and my skin has seriously never been softer. These are perfect for winter time when your barrier (top layer that protects you) becomes compromised…meaning dry and sensitive. It’s still important to exfoliate but you have got to be gentle.

Charcoal is great for acne and breakouts. Also available in white for all skin types.

24 Hr. Age Defying Cream

This moisturizer is not for everyone but those that do use it, love it! It immediately made my skin have a glow again. That’s not easy to achieve on dry skin.

Rich, creamy formula fortifies the skin’s essential moisture barrier, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promotes firmness, resiliency, and lasting hydration for up to 24 hours. Features skin-refining peptides, ceramides, and cupuacu, shea, and kukui butters to soothe dryness and irritation. Highly effective for improving the appearance of crepey, weathered neck skin.

Moisture Infusion Mask

This is a good mask for all skin types. It’s tough when you are breaking out or even dealing with acne because sometimes (most of the time unless I’m treating you) the skin is also dry. You want a mask that will help hydrate but most that do that can also clog pores on acneic skin. Enter, the Moisture Infusion Mask. Packed with lots of serums that won’t cause breakouts but will hydrate and make the skin feel better. It comes in a pack of 4, but each mask can usually be used 2-3 times. And if you keep it in the fridge, then you will also get a firming effect. Great for holiday parties and date night!

www.PSBLounge.com

Are You Taking Care of Your Chest?

I have a lot of older clients that always ask me about their chest. They are concerned about sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. Once the damage is done, it is much more difficult to treat the skin…but not impossible. Start caring for your skin now! The younger you are, the more you can do to prevent the damage. Below I have listed options for preventing and correcting this often neglected area.

1. Exfoliation. Just like your face, you body needs to be exfoliated to get rid of the dry skin so that products can properly penetrate and do the job correctly. Dead skin is an unwanted barrier. Unlike your face, you can exfoliate this area more often. I recommend using a Konjac Body Sponge every other day and a Glycolic Cleanser about 2-3x a week.

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2. Treat the Skin. If you are using serums on your face, then apply them on your neck and chest too. Immediately after a shower.

3. Grapeseed Oil. This is great from head to toe. I personally use it all over my body and my skin is super soft. Even better, this is a great product for aging. Grapeseed Oil should be used at night after you get out of the shower.

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4. SPF. Always, always, always wear sunscreen. This is true for your face and body. Don’t just extend it from your face, hoping it is enough for your neck and chest. Use enough that you are fully covered.

Hydration is the key to making fine lines and wrinkles look less obvious. The drier your skin is (anywhere on the body), the more you will see what you don’t want to show the world.

www.PureSkinandBodyLounge.com

Acne Scars. How to Get Rid of Them.

I was recently asked how to get rid of those pesky marks left on your skin from a blemish. You know the ones…they are dark, red and purple and stick around for weeks and sometimes months.
It becomes dark because the inflammation from the blemish triggers the skin to produce pigment cells. Even if you didn’t pick at the blemish, it can still leave a scar (even though it will fade in time, it’s still considered a scar) because it stretches and damages the surrounding tissue.

1. The most important thing to do: Wear sunscreen. Every single day. There are no exceptions to this. Any exposure to UV rays will stimulate the melanin cells, making it more red and darker for a longer time (maybe forever).

2. Using a chemical and physical exfoliant will help stimulate new, healthy cells while removing the scarred, damaged cells.

3. Vitamin C will brighten the skin and help correct the problem.

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Be Sun Smart This Summer, 2013

Protecting your skin from the sun is more than just wearing sunscreen. Here are some tips to save your skin this summer and keep you looking young!

1. Even if you have damaged skin, it is never too late to start doing everything you can to protect yourself. Having the mentality that you have already done the damage so it doesn’t matter it not the way to go. Things can get worse!

2. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. It should say it on the label on the glasses. Large-framed, close-ftting frames are best to provide ultimate protection to your eyes. The skin is much thinner therefore it needs to be extra protected. If you can, have an extra pair in your car so that you never are without.

3. Sunscreens that protect against UVB and UVA rays are most important. The sunscreen factor is only for UVB rays. Look for these ingredients to block UVA rays… avobenzone (Parsol 1789), octocrylene, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, oxybenzone and Mexoryl SX (also called ecamsule). Other clues on the bottle? Words like “broad spectrum,” “multispectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.” Zinc oxide is my favorite and has definitely helped me avoid a burn when I haven’t been able to avoid the sun.

4. Make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. The recommended amount for an adult (average) is 1oz and 1/2oz for a child. Reapply every 2 hours. Or you can do the math… Take the SPF # and multiply (x) that by how long it takes for you to burn (be realistic). Example: 15SPF x 15minutes to burn = 225 (3 hours, 45 minutes) That is how often YOU should reapply.

5. Price doesn’t matter when it comes to sunscreen. Well, I say that with everything. 🙂 Buy cheap when it comes BODY sunscreen because as long as it does the job you need it to do, you’re good! When it comes to your face, buy what is good and healthy for your skin. Not all face sunscreens are created equal and some will feel greasy or heavy or whatever. Find one you like and one that you know you will use everyday.

My favorite! Click to order online.
My favorite!

6. You don’t need anything higher than SPF 30. Everything else is just chemicals.

7. Don’t just stop at sunscreen. Wear a hat, use an umbrella and avoid the sun when it is strongest (10-2).

8. Don’t rely on the labels. “Waterproof”, “water-resistant”, “sweat-proof”, “protects all day.” The meanings vary from bottle to bottle and it doesn’t matter anyway because once you are exposed to the sun, the active ingredients begin to break down.

9. 90% of suns aging effects is incidental and not from laying on the beach all day. The sun can penetrate through windows and more often than not, those who don’t wear sunscreen everyday, have more damage on their left side of their face than their right.

www.PSBLouge.com

If you still find yourself with a burn…

TRY THESE TIPS!

What are Age Spots?

Updated March 2018

Age Spots or Liver Spots as they are sometimes called are not really caused by aging. Though they do show up as we get older, they are actually caused by sun damage which is why they show up on areas that tend to get more sun like our hands, chest and face. Bleaching creams, peels and lightening treatments may lessen their appearance but to rule out more serious problems, check with your dermatologist first.

Sunscreen is key to prevent further damage but also to stop the spots from getting darker.

My favorite!

Vitamin C is an ingredient that will help the current spots by brightening and evening the skin tone.

Retinol is similar to vitamin c but much stronger. This gets deeper into the skin creating even more results.

www.PSBLounge.com

Foundation and SPF

We all want our morning routine to be quick and easy but sometimes taking shortcuts isn’t the best for our skin. So many foundations have sunscreen in them today and it seems that it would be one less step to do. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The number on the bottle (ex: SPF 15) is not quite accurate. You would have to apply about 7x the amount of foundation to actually get that number. And hopefully, no one is wearing that much makeup! Below are some tips to protecting your skin and looking your best.

  1. Skin Care Products before Makeup. Always. Sunscreen is considered skin care.
  2. SPF in your foundation is not necessary and will not provide the protection you need.
  3. If you wear Tinted Moisturizer, you should still wear a regular moisturizer. I know this can be confusing. Why should you wear both? It goes to skin tip #1…skin care products before makeup. Tinted Moisturizer is makeup. Apply your regular moisturizer first so the color doesn’t seep into dry patches and/or blemishes. It will give you a more even finish.
  4. Sunscreen should never be skipped. Rain or shine your skin is still exposed to UV rays.
My favorite!

 

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www.PSBLounge.com

Skin Care Tips for Everyone

1. Be gentle with your skin. You’re in a hurry, I know, but rubbing and pulling vigorously will only age your skin and damage capillaries.

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2. Try to stay away from fragrances. It doesn’t matter what skin type you have, fragrances are usually not good for the skin. They smell nice but can do long-term damage, like break down collagen and elastin. If you have sensitive skin, it can do a lot more, like give you a rash or make you itch.

3. Don’t skip the moisturizer. I talk to clients all the time with oily skin that are afraid of moisturizer. This product is your friend. I promise. Finding the right one is key. Moisturizer doesn’t penetrate the skin and it will protect you from everything coming at you all day…sun, pollution, smoke, makeup, etc. Your skin needs that barrier.

4. Wash your face every morning and every night. Be consistent with your products.

5. Wear sunscreen, rain or shine. No higher than SPF 30 is necessary.

www.PSBLounge.com

Sunscreen, Sun and Your Skin Myths

1. I don’t need to wear an SPF during the winter months or when there is no sun. This is simply not true. UVA means Ultra Violet Aging and those are visible 365 days a year. Protect your skin and always wear it. Even if you are indoors. The sun can penetrate through windows and over time, do more damage than you think.

2. SPF in my makeup is enough. Nope, sorry. 😦 You need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label. I really hope you aren’t going to apply that much makeup!

3. Applying once a day is enough. If you are not in the direct sun AT ALL, then this is probably okay for you. Otherwise you need to re-apply every 1-2 hours. More if you are prone to burn. As soon as you are in the sun, the sunscreen starts to breakdown.

4. I put sunscreen on all the obvious areas so I’m good. What about the back of your neck? Ears? Top of your hands? These areas are often neglected but definitely exposed to sun. Skin cancer and skin damage can be anywhere!

5. Lotions, sprays and sticks all work differently. Not really. My advice is to start with a lotion (stick for the face if you want) and get a good base. When you reapply, a spray should be fine once. Then, use a lotion again. I love the convenience of a spray but it is very easy to miss spots.

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I love this sunscreen!
Click on picture to purchase.

6. Expiration dates don’t mean anything. YES THEY DO! If it is expired, STOP using it. No exceptions.

7. A tan is fine as long as I don’t burn. You are still damaging your skin. That is what a tan actually is.

8. My umbrella is enough protection so I don’t need sunscreen. Please don’t believe this! Did you know that sand reflects 17% of UV radiation. That means you are still exposed. It is still important to stay in the shade but wear your sunscreen.

9. The sun always cures my acne (or breakouts). This is a BIG myth. It can be a (very) temporary solution (the sun does kill bacteria) but in reality it causes a buildup of dead skin which leads to clogged pores. And, if you have oily skin, the sun will dry you out, producing even more oil. Viscous cycle.

10. I use SPF100 so I am fully protecting my skin. That isn’t even going to be available anymore because you get 96% protection with SPF30. Anything higher may give you a 4% increase but it will definitely give you more chemicals.

11. The damage is done so it doesn’t matter anymore. It always matters! Wear sunscreen at every age!

www.PSBLounge.com

Read this previous blog post on sunscreen…

Be Sun Smart

Read this previous blog post on how to care for sunburned skin…

Sunburn Tips

Should You Use a Spray Sunscreen?

Now that summer is here I think it’s important to talk about sunscreens. Here are some tips to help you prevent sunburns and premature aging…

  1. SPF 30 is all you need. Anything higher is not necessarily more protection (maybe 2% more) but it is more chemicals. In fact, the best way to protect your skin while in the sun is to make sure you apply the sunscreen generously and often.
  2. I recommend reapplying sunscreen at least every 2 hours. If you are in the water or sweating, apply sooner.
  3. Don’t be stingy with the sunscreen. Applying more will only ensure that you don’t miss a spot.
  4. Spray Sunscreens- I think it’s best to start with a cream sunscreen first. That way you have a good base and then you can reapply with a spray. Again, spray generously so you don’t miss a spot. Please don’t spray your face. A separate face sunscreen is better to use since those are made specifically for the face. Recommended Product: Sheer Protection SPF 30
  5. Kids- There really isn’t a difference between kids and adult sunscreens. Keep them protected since they are too young to know better or even care. Until they are old enough to understand the importance, they won’t do it so it’s 100% up to you!
  6. Kids & Spray Sunscreens- I don’t recommend these for kids. It is not safe for them to inhale the chemicals on a continuous basis. As adults, we know to not breathe while spraying but kids won’t. If it is all you have, something is better than nothing but it’s best not to make it a habit.
  7. Lips- Your lips can burn as well and anyone who has had this happen knows that it hurts! Make sure your chapstick or lip balm has SPF in it. Recommended Product: Lip Balm SPF 15

Follow these simple and easy tips and you should avoid a sunburn!

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