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Friday, March 19, 2010

Skin. Article: Dark Spots. How to Get Rid of Them!

Have you found after your pimple goes away, you have a left over spot?  Or maybe you loving the sun has caused some new dark spots on your face and body that you've never noticed before?  Or, if you are a person of color and you're looking at your face without makeup, you notice some light as well as dark areas?  Well, the good news is that you're not alone.  A lot of people experience this extremely common skin concern.  And even better, there are many ways to fix them.

Dark spots are known as hypERpigmentation and lighter spots are knows as hypOpigmentation.  Both are catergorized as pigmented skin.  The good news is the darker spots you can fix, but unfortunately the lighter spots you cannot.  There are many ways you can get these spots and blotches.  For some, it may be hormonal changes, maybe a change of your birth control or pregnancy.  It could be because you are a person of color, or maybe it's your lifestyle of loving to be in the sun or tanning bed.  Illness or a particular medication could be the culprit, or it can simply be age.  So how do you get rid of these dreaded dark spots so your skin can be more even and radiant again?

First, you may need to change your lifestyle a bit.  For example, look at when you noticed your skin changing. Maybe it was when you started that new birth control, or you realized you had been in the sun for years without protection.  If it was the birth control, you can stop taking it and change to an alternative method.  It may take months until you see some improvement, but this just may do the trick.  In terms of laying in the sun, there are many alternative methods that will still give you that healthy glow you love, but without the dangers of premature lines and wrinkles and even worse, skin cancer like melanoma. You'll love the variety of spray tans out these days.  Notice I mentioned spray, not a tanning bed.  Lotions, gels, creams, and foam can now give you that St. Tropez sunless glow you love.

As listed above,  life changes can prevent future dark spots from appearing, but here are the ingredients you need to get rid of the ones you already have.  You will need to use both an exfoliating ingredient as well as a lightning agent to see the best results.  Combining these two ingredients is the ideal recipe!  You will not see the best results by using one without the other.  Please note there are some treatments that have both the exfoliation and lightning agents combined.  A great example is to look for products that contain Vitamin C.  Vitamin C, depending on its formulation, can both exfoliate and lighten, but only if it's the right formulation.  Make sure and ask an expert and do your research to make sure you have the correct formulation.

In terms of exfoliation only, look for treatment products that have Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) in them such as glycolic acid and/or lactic acid.  Another great exfoliating ingredient is retinol (Vitamin A).  Or for a gentler method, enzymes are great.  Enzymes can be used on the gentlest of skins and will also give the skin an amazing glow.  Papaya and Pineapple are great enzymes if you prefer this more gentle, yet effective exfoliant.  These are all ingredients you can find over the counter.  If you'd like to get a perscription from your dermatologist, Retin-A or the generic form Tretinoin are very popular.  For a gentle dosage, you can get the tretinoin as low as .025%.

In terms of lightning ingredients, hydroquinone is the most popular.  It is very important to note that you should not lay out in the sun if you are using hydroquinone, you should always use sunscreen, and it is suggested that pregnant or nursing women should not use hydroquinone.  These disclaimers are not to scare you, rather to protect you.  Hydroquinone has not been known to effect  pregnant or nursing women because it has never been tested on these women, so it is a blanket disclaimer for precautionary reasons.  You can purchase over the counter hydroquinone at nothing higher than 2%.  Anything higher and you will need a prescription from your dermatologist.  If you start to get irritated, cut down your use to every other evening or even less, to two nights a week.  Herbal lightners are great as well.  Here are some great ingredients to look for if you'd like to go the herbal route - licorice, rasberry, bearberry, grape seed extract, rice, and echinacea.

The tricks for removing your dark spots are recognizing what may have caused them, deciding to change your lifestyle (if needed), wearing sunscreen regardless, and using up to two treatment products, one that has an exfoliating ingredient and one that has a lighting agent.

So your morning regimen would be as follows: cleansing and toning, using your exfoliating treatment #1, and moisturizer w/ an SPF.  In the evening, cleanse and tone again, use your lightning treatment #2, and then moisturize with no SPF.  You should start to see the fading within 24-30 days or in about a month.

Like anything, patience is key.  Stick to it, and you will notice your even, glowing skin coming through!

Great Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Better Skin by Lucy Beale and Angela Jensen

Copyright 2010 Lori Moore. All Rights Reserved.

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