Nationwide Skin Care Coaching
Online Skin Care Coaching & Consultation ⋅ Products Shipped via USPS Within 3 Business Days ⋅ Long distance clients please note that you would like a phone consultation in the “Notes Section” of our online booking calendar ⋅ Mountain Standard Time
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No Guests & No Children Unless Being Serviced (No Exceptions) See Policy
Dark Spots, Acne Scars, Melasma & Blemishes: Delete Discoloration & Brighten Your Skin Tone!
Causes of Dark Spots
Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) is the chief complaint of most people. It can be the aftermath of skin problems, hormones, medications, medical conditions and many other factors including acne and minor “skin insults” that lead to skin discoloration.
Hormonal hyperpigmentation (dark patches) on the cheeks, forehead and upper lip, can be caused by slight hormone imbalance, birth control pills and hormone devices (melasma), pregnancy (chloasma), weight gain, obesity, photo-sensitizing medications and sun exposure. It can be very stubborn because it’s driven by family history, hormone changes, skin tone, sun exposure, product overuse and sunscreen underuse. It’s aggravated by friction, various heat sources and sun exposure, and often worsened by the various methods used to treat it, like dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, IPL, lasers, sonic brushes, and potent combinations of retinoids, steroids and hydroquinone.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation known as PIH, is dark spots and discoloration caused by skin disorders, injury and inflammation. These include acne, deep ingrown hairs, picking, scratching, tampering with your skin by any means, chicken pox, shingles, infections, cold sores, surgical procedures, burns, injury of any kind, lasers, IPL and microdermabrasion. More examples are categorized below.
Acne scars on darker skin can often be just hyperpigmented dark spots (PIH) that fade if the acne is kept under control, which halts the cause of the spots. Because they don’t always permanently damage the surface planes of the skin, many PIH marks aren’t considered true scars. Still, they can be both cosmetically and emotionally devastating.
Medications: Antibiotics (sulfa and tetracycline families), blood pressure meds, diuretics, oral diabetic meds, hormone pills and devices, and many others.
Sun: Photo-sensitivity or sun allergy, sunburn, tanning, sun freckles, seborrheic keratoses, vascular changes in the skin, photo-dermatitis and staining of the skin from perfumes and medications used while exposed to the sun.
Irritation: Chemicals, hard water, product overuse or misuse, skin peels, scrubbing, microdermabrasion, harsh or inappropriate treatments, cleansers, astringents and/or active exfoliants.
Heat sources: Space heaters, stoves, ovens, hair dryers, fireplaces, dry saunas, hot sun, and work-related heat exposure.
Hair removal: Shaving irritation, razor bumps, ingrown hairs, shaving irritation, razor burn, depilatories, waxing, tweezing, threading, electrolysis, or laser hair removal.
Friction and pressure: Abrasive scrubs, friction, road rash, abrasive burns, scrubbing your skin, sonic scrubbers, wiping and rubbing the skin or eyes, poorly-fitted eyewear, seat belt shoulder straps, tight and/or ill-fitting headgear, underwear, clothing and footwear.
Smoking causes severe dark circles, darkened lips and gums, and encourages dark spots and scarring from acne, surgery, etc. because it shows down the healing process.
Other causes: Auto-immune diseases, kidney disease, hemochromatosis, chemotherapy, dehydration, seasonal allergies, eczema, allergic reactions, insect bites, and allergic shiners, the dark circles caused by allergies, inhaling scented products, smoke, etc.
Scars occur when the deeper dermal layer is damaged. Most are flat and leave only a trace of the original injury. The worse the initial damage, the worse the scar will generally be down the road. Made of fibrous tissue, scars replace normal skin after injury and/or prolonged inflammation. It’s the same protein (collagen) as the skin it replaces, but the composition is very different. With black skin and other ethnic skin, the scarring will often heal much darker than the surrounding skin.
Scars can also become raised (hypertrophic), grow outside of the original injury site (keloid), or form a sunken recess with a pitted appearance (atrophic), the scarring usually associated with acne. Addressing dark scars is similar to protocols for hyperpigmentation, but clinic treatment will be different and additional products may be necessary.
The “Must Do” List
1. Take a complete health history,including weight, complete list of medications, skin problems and products, health, healing, sun, and sensitivities.
2. Address the lifestyle issues that can cause or worsen the problem.
3. Add melanin-suppressing products and the right sunscreen to existing skin care regimen.
4. Get professional skin peels chosen for your skin condition, sensitivity, ethnicity and lifestyle.
5. Practice “safe sun” lifestyle habits all year round.
6. Monitor product usage, sunscreen use and under-use, and sun exposure.
7. Address the cause of the skin problem, and the factors that can worsen it. Only then can pigmentation problems be improved or overcome.
If you have acne, razor bumps, “rashy” skin, tamper with or pick your skin, fail to follow instructions, have underlying medical problems, take sun-sensitizing medications, or are overweight, these issues must be factored into your plan of action.
Professional Products & Treatments
Most hyperpigmentation can be improved dramatically with light skin peels, topical alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids (vit A) in formulations that contain melanin-suppressing skin brighteners. Equally important: Sun avoidance and diligent use of non-clogging, full-spectrum sunblock suited to skin type.
Active Skin Brightening Cocktails
These can contain AHAs like mandelic, glycolic, lactic acid (fruit acid exfoliators that act as “vehicles” to deeper tissues), dimethyl isosorbide(gentle, penetrating vehicle), retinoids (deep-penetrating active vitamin A derivatives), hydroquinone (FDA-approved skin lightening ingredient), vitamin C (stable, absorbable forms), and the following melanin-suppressing brighteners: kojic acid dipalmitate, alpha arbutin, azelaic acid, vitamin K, mulberry extract, bearberry (beta arbutin), licorice extract, niacinamide (vitamin B3), emblica extract, Chromobright®, Cosmo C250, Gigawhite™, mandelic acid, and some citrus juice extracts. Patch-tested and used sparingly exactly as directed and in the right formulation, there is a low incidence of irritation or allergic reaction.
Discuss past skin brightener and fade cream usage (especially hydroquinone) and any reactions, average daily sun exposure, sunblock usage (or lack of it), and the need for sun avoidance. Passive sun exposure, like riding in a car, waiting for the bus, working in the sun, gardening and outdoor sports poses the greatest risk. Many people mistakenly feel that they don’t need sun protection for brief intermittent sun exposure, or because they have a darker skin tone.
Tips for Success
Clear your acne: Use active products and make lifestyle changes to clear acne and prevent new pimples, blackheads, dark spots, scars, and blemishes.
Lose weight! Dark pigmentation is easier to address when you lose weight. Fat cells alter the body’s hormone levels and can increase darkening and sun sensitivity.
Address the reason for the discoloration (outline above) and make the necessary lifestyle changes.
Protect your skin by practicing “safe sun“. Use a micronized zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide sunscreen, apply a generous amount, and massage gently until it disappears. Apply extra to problem areas. Don’t forget your neck, chest, arms, feet and hands. Avoid the sun whenever humanly possible. Stay in the shade when possible and cover up. Purchase a “booney hat” from Costco.
Reapply sunscreen hourly, and after swimming, sweating, and when driving, walking, golfing, running, swimming, skiing, gardening, doing outdoor work and football practice.
Get your car windows tinted to the legal limit. Keep that sunroof closed too.
Protect your eye area. Wear 100% UV protective sunglasses that cover the entire eye area. Prescription eyeglasses that “transition” (darken) when you go outside may not darken enough in cars and buses.And, they are usually too small to cover the orbital eye area. Don’t be fooled by overcast skies because the glare-producing, skin-darkening UVA rays penetrate clouds and windshields.
Don’t try to rush things! If your skin gets irritated, you may be overusing your active skin brighteners by applying them too thick or too often.
Get professional treatments every two to four weeks in the absence of irritation or sunburn. Exfoliation and brightening procedures boost your home care efforts.
Follow-up evaluations allow us to monitor your progress, product use, sun practices, health and lifestyle. We often adjust your treatment plan and product potency to boost the results.
***Stock up on products before you run out*** or you may have to start over. Check if there is a more effective product or new treatment to jump-start your efforts. If you call in we will set your products aside for you!
Don’t use scented products on any sun-exposed body parts, even with sunscreen.
Don’t scrub your skin if you start to peel or flake. Don’t use sonic brushes, washcloths, buffing pads or abrasive scrubs. Ask for help if constant flaking is an ongoing issue.
Follow directions. Aways apply your active brightening products (a) exactly as directed, (b) in small amounts, massaged all the way into the skin, and (c) in the total absence of irritation. Avoid the entire mouth area and smile lines every other day if you’re dry, sensitive, or if you are directed to do so. Avoid sensitive areas for a few days if they become darkened, too dry or irritated.
Never attempt to ‘dot’ lighteners onto the dark spots only.
Never apply a thicker coat of your skin lightener to dark spots. This will cause light “halos” around the dark spots and patches, and cause irritation and rebound darkening of those areas.
Note: Individual results may vary and require compliance to corrective home care products, diligent sun protection, professional treatments, and important lifestyle changes, all of which must be monitored and maintained on a longterm basis.
Come experience our highly effective skin brightening and skin re-texturing chemical and enzyme peels that help with acne, hydration, anti-aging, and rejuvenation. Get help with all grades of acne, dark spots, red spots, blemishes, fine lines, sun damage, dehydration, problem skin, razor bumps, sensitive skin and ethnic skin care concerns.
The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Results vary from person to person and are not guaranteed. Professional treatments must be performed on a regular basis to obtain desired results and require specific home care, sun protection, and lifestyle changes to see lasting improvement.
Acne Clinic & Problem Skin Center ⋅ Specializing In All Grades of Acne For Men, Women, & Teens ⋅ All Skin Tones & Types Including Ethnic Skin ⋅ Specialties Include: Acne Facials ⋅ Acne Scars ⋅ Dark Spots ⋅ Anti-Aging ⋅ Sun Damage ⋅ Skin Brightening ⋅ Razor Bumps ⋅ In-growns & More
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