Have you noticed more dark spots on your face and body as you get older? Those cute freckles have seemed to multiply over the years, haven’t they? This condition is referred to as hyperpigmentation and is actually a result of UV exposure. The majority of the effects you now see are due to sun exposure before the age of 20! For example, you accumulate UV damage by driving in your car, watching your kids sporting events, walking the dog, or sitting by a window. Actually it’s very difficult not to get UV exposure; you don’t have to be lying at the beach to receive UV rays. Luckily, we have several vehicles to reverse hyperpigmentation.
There are treatment and product options to choose from. Some of these are: IPL (intense pulse light), chemical peels, hydroquinone, Vitamin C (topical) and retinoids. IPL is a light based treatment that gently heats the upper layer of the skin. The heat is absorbed by the targeted areas and over about 2-3 weeks the pigment works to the surface and sloughs off naturally. IPL also eliminates fine vessels, treats rosacea and stimulates collagen production. Any area of the body can be treated; the most popular are face, chest and hands. Chemical Peels are acids applied topically that rejuvenate the skin. They improve acne, hyperpigmentation, skin tone and texture. The type of peel and the strength is selected for your particular condition. Hydroquinone is a topical formulation that lightens the skin by decreasing the production of pigment. It can be used as a spot treatment or all over an area. Over the counter concentrations are 2% or less; higher concentrations are available in physician’s offices. Vitamin C in the L-Ascorbic form works by suppressing the production of melanin. In many countries this is considered the primary ingredient for bleaching creams. The added benefits of Vitamin C are collagen production, added UV protection, and as an anti-inflammatory. Retinoids is a family of Vitamin A products that can range from mild retinols or retinyl palmitates to stronger tretinoins. These work by increasing cell production, and increasing cell turnover, thus normalizing the skin. Additionally these increase collagen/elastin production and are FDA approved for anti-aging and acne. To maximize your efforts, a combination of products and treatment procedures are most effective. A protocol can be designed to produce great results! We work closely with our board certified physicians and our patients to determine the best avenue to achieve these goals!
- Laser Specialist Judy Paredes, L.M.E.