I apologize for last week. But that which prevented my blog from being uploaded has been resolved. Now onto the good stuff…
So often I see two types of people, those who want to get rid of the brown blotches on their skin immediately and those who want to get rid of them yesterday. Slow down, people. It’s not as easy as it seems. There are ways to even out your skin colour. Some are very easy with no discomfort and very few side effects. They do require patience on your part. Some are much more aggressive with discomfort (OK – pain) and hiding from public eye for a while. But an more even skin tone is achieved very quickly. We’ll talk about everything to do with sun damage over the next three weeks. To get organized, we’ll start with the least aggressive and end with the most aggressive.
Under the least, is prevention in the first place and continued protection. Of course, I’m talking about Sunscreen; last week’s favorite word. Next, would be products that cause the skin to increase it’s rate of cell rejuvenation.
Think about sun damage like a giant, deep iceberg slowly rising from the water. The products you put on your skin would be akin to constantly skimming off top of the iceberg. You really can’t stop the ‘berg from rising, so your only choice is to keep skimming. That’s why it seems as if you are using these creams forever. And, also, why so many people think that they just don’t work. You need to remember that every minute in the sun (or tanning bed) adds to the bottom of the iceberg. So, if you suddenly decide to use sunscreen at 70 years old, every hour the iceberg is deepening. If you are an annual sun baker, preferring your skin to take on the colour of a toasted marshmellow just before it bursts into flames, the iceberg goes extremely deep. By the way, have you noticed how wrinkly that marshmellow is just before you eat it? I digress, that’s another topic…
Many of these products are over-the- counter, that is, sold without a prescription. This includes products with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Glycolic Acids (GA), Vitamin C, and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) Often they are formulating in combination with each other. Vitamin A Acids are also available but are generally prescribed by a Doctor.
These all need to be applied with a light hand. More is not better. They can be irritating and drying to your skin. Also, the higher percentage of acid is not necessarily better. Start by applying a thin layer to your skin for an hour, then rinse off, every night for one week. Or, you can apply every second night for a couple of weeks. Once you know your skin is happy, not super dry, red or peeling, you can apply every night. If you find your skin is not happy, let it heal for a couple of days. Use a gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin during this period. Restart slower, either apply for one half hour every night or apply every third night. You could, also, try cutting the potency a bit by mixing the acid preparation with a small amount of moisturizer in your palm before applying. It took years for your skin to get into this predicament, you will require patience to help it get healthy again.
There is a class of over-the-counter and prescribed products that contain an ingredient called Hydroquinone (HQ). Hydroquinone causes a chemical reaction in the brown skin cells causing them to lighten or “bleach”. Generally it is most effective with some type of acid. Over-the-counter preparations use AHA, while Doctors typically prescribe a Vitamin A acid. There is some controversy over whether Hydroquinone can cause skin cancer. In Canada, Europe and some parts of the US over-the-counter creams containing HQ have been pulled from the shelves. They are only available as prescription creams. HQ is very effective. But, if you are using this product, you do need to remember to give your skin a break and stop using the HQ cream every 6 months for at least 8 weeks. Unfortunately, overuse can cause the dark spots to rebound or come back darker than they were to begin with. Vitamin C products are excellent to use while your skin is taking a holiday from Hydroquinone.
I hope I didn’t lose anybody. Please feel free to comment if you need me to clarify something I’ve said. Let me remind you one more time that sunscreen will stop or at least slow down, the deepening of the iceberg called sun damage. Next week, We’ll talk about low level light therapies (LLT) This is an exciting new way of using light therapy and is a slight increase in aggression for treating sun damaged skin. Until, then…
|I rate products you apply to your skin as: Dark Chocolate
Just enjoy slowly