Seeing Spots? October 14 2014

Are you bothered by brown spots, uneven skin tone and discoloration? Fear not! There are many treatments to lighten and even rid you of this condition.

Most people at some point are affected by hyperpigmentation especially on their face, hands and areas most exposed to the sun. Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of the skin become darkened by deposits of melanin, the brown pigment that produces skin color. These pesky spots are often referred to as “age” or “liver” spots and are caused by sun damage. Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by pregnancy, use of birth control pills or any hormonal changes and this is called melasma. Treatments for these spots range from lightening creams, microdermabrasion, peels and even laser treatments. Topical lighteners can be very effective and less evasive than laser and resurfacing treatments so often they are the best choice to try first.

When choosing a lightening product there are some key ingredients to look for. Hydroquinone has been a leader among the skin lightening ingredients but unfortunately it poses some health risks. Although hydroquinone is still FDA approved it has been banned in some countries because of serious side effects. However, there are many safe alternatives to hydroquinone that can also be very effective. Below are some ingredients to look for in your lightening product that are safe yet still do a great job with diminishing the dark spots and evening out skin tone.

Hexylresorcinol - In recent studies, .5% Hexylresorcinol concentration has proven to be just as effective as 2% concentration of Hydroquinone. There is also thought that Hexylresorcinol has more benefits as well, including an ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase protection against UVB and UVA rays, and improve the skin's barrier against pollution and sun exposure. Hexylresorcinol is considered safe for topical use and there are no warnings about its application.

Kojic acid - This is a naturally occurring derivative of certain fungal species with benefits similar to hydroquinone. In fact, hydroquinone and glycolic acid can produce better results when kojic acid is added to the formulation.

Azelaic acid - This was developed for the treatment of acne. However, it has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, especially from acne lesions. In one study, it demonstrated results similar to 4% hydroquinone, but without its side effects.

Mandelic acid - This alpha hydroxy acid is derived from almonds and is used in the treatment of several skin conditions, including all types of hyperpigmentation.

Consult your Esthetician for the product that is right for you. If spots become abnormal in size or shape be sure to check it out with a doctor. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so remember your sunscreen!

Check out DermaQuest SkinBrite Retinol Brightening Serum for your skin lightening needs!