Archive for the ‘Skin’ Category
Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial treatments utilize refined Hyperbaric Oxygen to promote the delivery of treatment specific solutions to the skin. The serum applicator creates a hyperbaric pressure bubble to initiate osmotic hydration and ingredient delivery.
Intraceuticals revolutionized the use of multi-weight Hyaluronics as both exceptional hydrator as well as an effective delivery system. The patented 3-step hyaluronic layering combines 3 specific combinations of hyaluronics, which work together to provide perfect hydrodynamics.
1) Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid – small, fast and easily absorbed to deeply hydrate skin.
2) High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid – draws moisture from the air and binds moisture to skin.
3) Hyaluronic Polymer – a longer lasting form that works on the surface to seal in hydration and maintain infusion results
Oxygen Facials Options
There are a variety of Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial treatment that may be used to fit individual needs. Treatments may be “boosted” with collagen, vitamins and antioxidants or upgraded to include an Atoxelene targeted treatment for lines. In a clinical setting treatments are often customized by adding an enzyme treatment, mild peel, derma planing or microdermabrasion for exfoliation. Oxygen facial treatments are also excellent in conjunction with skin tightening treatments such as Forma or ReFirm .
Ultimate in hydration, the rejuvenate serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid, vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants to lift tone and hydrate skin. Appropriate for all skin types, and excellent as part of a skin recovery program after chemical peels, non-ablative laser resurfacing and IPL.
Combines botanical brighteners and super concentrated vitamin C to brighten and balance uneven skin tone. Leaving skin more luminous, toned and radiant.
Refine the appearance of problem prone skin. Formulated with salicylic acid, vitamin C and chamomile extract to reduce irritation and clarifying pores. Ginger root extract reduces redness and calms irritation.
Amino acids instantly firm, lift and plump, reducing the appearance of fine lines. This targeted treatment may be added to Rejuvenate, Opulence or Clarity Sensitive Treatments. This treatment does require additional time,and is and additional cost.
Rejuvenate +Booster Treatment
Enhance your Rejuvenate treatment results with your personally prescribed Rejuvenate Booster+ Treatment. There is typically an additional charge for boosted treatments and additional time may be needed.
Collagen – collagen building peptides to promote skin renewal and rejuvenation
Vitamin C+3 – Three forms of Vitamin C work together to smooth, strengthen and promote healthy glow
Vitamin A - Helps promote skin elasticity while clarifying and refining skin appearance
Antioxidant – Revitalize and balance dull and stressed skin with natural super fruits from Australian Rainforest.
Add A Mask!
Super hydrators Hyaluronic Acid and brown algae provide a burst of hydration, to hydrate and soften the lips and skin surrounding mouth, defining the lip line. The Intraceuticals Lip masks may be added to an oxygen facial or purchased for at home use.
Hydrolysed plant proteins helps to soothe and hydrate and tighten tired, puffy and overworked eyes.The Intraceuticals eye masks may be added to an oxygen facial or purchased for at home use.
Fractora is skin treatment, that delivers RF (RadioFrequency) energy to the dermal tissue of the skin through an array of tiny pins similar to micro needles. Fractora delivers improvements in the broadest range of symptoms of aging skin including sagging skin, improve definition, fine lines, deep lines, texture, even visible blood vessels in the face. It is also effective for addressing acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.
How Does Fractora Work
Fractora uses tiny needle like pins to precisely deliver RF energy to various selectable depths in the skin. While laser resurfacing procedures work from the top down, Fractora works from the bottom up, allowing for safe treatment to deeper layers of the dermis. Similar to fractional laser treatment, fractora treats a “fraction” of the total surface area, so the untreated skin between the pins helps to promote faster healing of the treated tissue. As with all fractional treatments, more than one treatment is recommended. Typically 3 treatments are scheduled about 3-6 weeks apart.
Anti-Aging, Lines, Texture and Lax Skin
Fractora provides optimal collagen remodeling and skin tightening in the deep layers of the skin, causing lifting, tightening, smoothing skin texture and an overall improved appearance.
Acne and Acne Scars
Sometimes, a treatment that is originally designed to address one issue, can has the surprising benefit of addressing another. In this case Fractora, is effective at reducing acne lesions. Research suggests that this may be due to a temporary shrinking of the sebaceous (oil) gland. This is exciting news, because in the past we would want to have acne well-controlled before treating acne scars, and now there is potential to address both at the same time.
Broken Blood Vessels and Rosacea
Fractora has been shown to reduce visible vessels around the nose and on the face. Although, it has been shown to treat broken blood vessels I would not consider RF Needling as a rosacea specific treatment per se. However, Fractora is certainly an option to be considered for rosacea sufferes looking to also address acne that may be assosiated or signs of aging like fine lines.
Neck and Body
Fractora is commonly used on the face and neck, but body areas may be treated as well, including chest, arms, abdomen and thighs. It may be used to improve skin texture on non-facial skin or improve stretch marks or scars on the body.
Dermalinfusion goes beyond a typical facial, microdermabrasion or even a hydrafacial, it is a comprehensive and fully customizable treatment designed to address a wide variety of skin concerns.
Dermalinfusion uses medical grade diamond-tips with pneumatic pressure to gently lift and evenly exfoliate dry, dull layers of skin while simultaneously infusing condition specific serums directly into the epidermis to plump up fine lines and minimize pigmentation, while it is also extracting impurities to clarify pores. The serums are infused into the tissue using pneumatic pressure in a closed vacuum loop. The diamond tip is recessed in the hand-piece, and the vaccume pressure brings the skin up into the hand-pieces, where it is exfoliated, while simultaneously the pores are opened, so that the serums may be infused at the base of the pores and into the surrounding epidermal tissue. This deeply hydrating treatment volumizes the epidermis up to 70% and can also be performed over lips, around eyes and on non-facial skin.
Dermalinfusion Silk Peel treatments may be further enhanced by adding dermaplaning, enzyme or glycolic peel and treatment specific facial masks.
A patented technology provides superior exfoliation with a wet-vacuum process that is more gentle than dry microdermabrasion. This controlled depth, technique is designed to give a uniform, even and precise exfoliation to smooth skin texture and brighten skin.
Vacuum pressure flushes skin surface and pores to deep clean, removing dirt, debris and bacteria to clean and clarify pores.
Specialized Pro-infusion serums are delivered deep into the skin and address specific skin conditions, such as acne, hyper pigmentation, sun damage and aging. This infusion also provides deep hydration and plumps skin by increasing epidermal volume for up to 72 hour.
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Chlorophyll is a pigment found in green plants, which is vital for photosynthesis allowing plants to absorb energy from light. Chlorophyll, or more specifically the natural derivative, Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin offers many promising skin benefits.
Sodium Chlorophyllin Copper Complex can be found in topical enzymatic medications used for healing-debriding wounds. Chlorophyllin Copper Complex Sodium, expedites the healing of wounds by slowing the growth of certain bacteria on the skin, controls local inflammation and aids in the promotion of healthy granulations. It works to inhibit the inflammatory properties of protein degradation products in the wound, including the products of enzymatic digestion.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the human body. It has the ability to bind to and hold about a thousand times it’s weight in water. In the dermal layers of the skin it provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to the skin. With age, the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin declines progressively. Hyaluronic acid is degraded by the natural occuring enzyme, hyaluronidase. Sodium copper chlorophyllin has been shown to inhibit hyaluronidase and thus inhibit the breakdown of hyaluronic acid.
Phytochromatic MD® is a unique Sodium copper chlorophyllin in a liposomal complex, that has been shown to effectively penetrate skin. Skin care products containing Phytochromatic MD™ Complex have been shown to have anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, reduce redness, inhibit the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in the skin, and aid in improved wound healing. Phytochromatic MD® is currently found exclusively in MD Rejuvena skin care products.
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The RS2 Facial is designed specifically for any dry skin with micro-circulation or vascular skin conditions, not just Rosacea. It is also ideal for anyone suffering from severe sensitivity, broken capillaries even hot flashes.
The RS2 Rosacea Facial features an alleviating Pevonia French Rose thermal clay mask, which provides soothing relief and visible results to dilated capillaries, congestion, blotchiness, and irritability. Comforting and healing ingredients such as: Rose, Green Tea, Chamomile and Liquorice, combine to properly decongest and calm your skin for an even, healthy appearance. These powerful natural ingredients known to help rosacea, Green Tea which is healing and anti-bacterial, Chamomile which has a calming and distressing effect on the skin and French Rose essential oil, which calms redness and reduces stress with its light, natural fragrance.
This treatment can be customized to include dermaplaning for gentle exfoliation, extractions and blue light therapy to kill bacteria for those who suffer with acne rosacea.
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April has been designated as “Rosacea Awareness Month” by the National Rosacea Society (NRS). Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder commonly characterized by flushing and persistent redness on the central portion of the face and visible blood vessels. It has been estimated more than 16 million Americans are affected by Rosacea. The effects of Rosacea can go beyond this visible symptoms, often causing discomforts such as stinging and burning. For the majority of rosacea suffers it effects self esteem, going as far as to effect professional interactions.
What is Rosacea
Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder with symptoms including flushing, redness, visible blood vessels, burning, and stinging. Rosacea can also cause acne like symptoms, such as little bumps called papuals, often refereed to as Acne Rosacea. In more severe cases, there is a thickening of the skin and the nose can present as bulbous with irregular nodularities and enlargement, known as Rhinophyma. There is also a subtype of Roscacea, known as Ocular Rosacea, where eyes are red or bloodshot with burning and stinging. Rosacea is a progressive disorder and, left untreated, will worsen in severity with time. Those with Rosacea often experience flare-ups, which can last for months. Only a doctor can diagnose Rosacea. If you suspect you have Rosacea, see a dermatologist.
What causes Rosacea
The exact cause of Rosacea is not completely understood. Suggested possibilities include auto-immune disease or defects in the nervous system which effects blood vessels or Demodex mites. It may be something there is a genetic predisposition to. What we do know is that there is a strong vascular component to Rosacea. We also know that there are “triggers” such as heat or spicy foods that can trigger flare-ups.
It is important to understand that there is not a cure for Rosacea, but it is something that can be treated to reduce severity and symptoms. First, those with Rosacea should work to understand what their specific triggers are. Avoiding triggers can reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Finding skin care products that do not aggravate rosacea can be tricky. Consult with a Dermatologist and Esthetician for skin care recommendations appropriate for Rosacea skin.
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) remains the most effective treatment for addressing the redness and visible dilated blood vessels seen with Rosacea. Vascular lasers, such as a KTP or Yag, can be used to treat facial veins that are well visible and can be traced. Typically, 3-6 treatments are needed, scheduled about 3 weeks apart. Because there is no cure for Rosacea, a series of treatments may need to be repeated annually, depending on severity.
Botox injections have been shown to be effective when injected superficially in very dilute concentration to reduce the redness and flushing of Rosacea. Redness may be reduced for 3-6 months after injections. This treatment is currently considered “off-label”.
Facials will not correct any vascular component of Rosacea, but the appropriate facial can calm and sooth skin. Consult with your Esthetician Facialist for recommendations.
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There are countless skin care products available to treat skin discolorations known as “hyperpigmentation”, such as brown spots and melasma. There is also just as much confusion and misinformation, surrounding topical Hydroquinone and Non- Hydroquinone products. The fact is they are both necessary, as each have a place in correcting and maintaing pigment irregularities.
I am a proponent for Hydroquinone and for good reason, when used correctly it is arguably the most effective topical for treating hyperpigmentation. I am also a proponent for Non-Hydroquinone skin brighteners, because I do not support using Hydroquinone indefinitely without pulsing on and off.
If you understand how hyper pigmentation occurs, you are better able to understand how to treat it. The process of producing pigment (melanogenesis) is complex, with many process, so I am giving the short version. When the skin has hyperpigmentation, it means that, there are melanocytes that are over producing melanin (pigment) AND that those pigment cells are not being evenly distributed to the skin cells called keratinocytes.
Something must first, trigger the increase of tyrosinase activity, this can be sun exposure, hormones or inflammation. Tyrosinase is an enzyme in the skin that controls the production of melanin. One of the main goals in treating hyperpigmentation is to inhibit the tyrosinase, so that it will not trigger the overproduction of melanin (pigment). Products that aim to do this use ingredients that we call “tyrosinase inhibitors”. Hydroquinone is a strong tyrosinase inhibitor, however there are also non-hydroqinone tyrosinase inhibitors that are effective.
Hydroquinone is a strong tyrosinase inhibitors and very effective at treating hyper pigmentation. There is concern, however that with extended use the skin may become resistant to the effects. This is why it is important to use hydroquinone under professional guidance. The general idea is to maximize correction, before you build resistance. Many dermatologists and skincare professionals are now recommending pulsing on and off hydroquinone. If you are using or plan on using hydroquionone products, I recommend you read “Hydroquinone: What you need to know, to maximize it’s benefits and prevent resistance”.
When you are pulsing off hydroquinone, you may want to use a non-hydroquinone skin brighter. Look for a brightener with tyrosinase inhibitors. Ideally, non-hydroquinone skin brighteners should be formulated with a combination of ingredients that will have an effect on the various stages of melanogensis (the formation of pigments). Antioxidants and exfoliants play a role in melanogensis and should be part of a skin care regimen, along with a tyrosinase inhibitor. I am including a short list of some commonly used ingredients in Non-hydroquinone brighteners.
Non-Hydroquinone Lighting/ Brighting Ingredients
Arbutin (Bearberry Extract)
Licorice Root Extract
Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid
For best results begin by preparing your skin to best absorb the topical products you are using, this is done by properly cleansing and toning skin. Topical antioxidants and a broad spectrum SPF, are a MUST, because they help block the effects of “triggers”. We also recommend some type of chemical exfoliant, such as glycolic or lactic acid. These help by exfoliating melanin filled skin cells from the surface, which accumulate and cause pigment to be more dense, making it look darker. Retinoids such as tretinoin (Retina-A) work by inhibiting the transfer of pigment to skin cells, this blends pigment for even skin tone. Retinoids also work as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Finally, if you are not seeing the results you want with topical products alone, consult with a skin care provider to discuss which treatment options are best for you. Typically, we recommend chemical peels or PhotoFacials (IPL or BBL), depending on skin type and conditions being treated.
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If you have not yet heard of Ultherapy it is a non-invasive procedure that is intended to lift and tighten the skin. It sounds almost to good to be true, right. So, the question is, does it really work?
The short answer is, yes it does work, but before you make any decisions, you need to know what kind of results can be expected. First, non-surgical treatments will always give a non-surgical result. If you are hoping for a cheeper alternative to a facelift, mini-facelift or even lifestyle lift, you will be disappointed with Ultherapy or ANY non-surgical treatment. During a traditional facelift the surgeon address lax facial muscle, fat and repositions the skin. Ultherapy is not a facelift and a facelift is not a skin treatment. One procedure does not replace the need for the other.
As we age collagen production progressively declines, which leads to wrinkles and thinning skin. Not to confuse facial volume (fat) loss, with skin (dermal/ epidermal) thinning, they are different concerns requiring different procedures. Like many of the treatments used in the world of medical aesthetic, Ultherapy is used to stimulate collagen. What makes Ulthera so unique is the way it stimulates collagen, where it stimulates collagen, the amount of increased collagen and the duration that collagen production is up regulated. Initially the targeted tissue will contract causing a tightening effect. As the renewal process continues collagen production is up regulated, improving skin density and giving a modest lift. The increased collagen is seen at multiple levels of the dermis, most prominent in the deeper dermal tissue. This up regulation of collagen continues, on average of a year.
An average of 69.5% improvement in dermal thickness is seen after Ultherapy
Although, Ultherapy is currently the only non-invasive treatment that can claim to lift skin, there are other treatments that can tighten the skin. Skin tightening is generally seen when aesthetic treatments target the dermal layer of the skin and stimulate collagen production. Ulthera works by targeting deep into the dermal tissue and also to the top of the facial muscle, leaving the surface intact. This is important because other non-surgical treatments, like RadioFrequency (RF) and laser do not treat at the same depth. Although, RF treatments can target fairly deep into the dermal area, the targeted area is only heated to a tempeture that will cause tissue contraction, this helps to tighten the skin. The difference is that RadioFrequency (RF) treatments do not heat the targeted area to the needed tempeture to achieve optimal collagen synthesis. Laser resurfacing and fractional resurfacing treatments, do heat the target area to optimal tempeture and will definitely generate significant collagen synthesis in the upper-mid dermis, which is ideal for treating lines, scars and skin texture. The difference is that we can not treat as deeply into the dermis with laser resurfacing as we do with Ultherapy. Most importantly, RadioFrequency (RF) and laser do not target the top of facial muscle, where Ultherapy does. Ultherapy does work, very well actually. Ultherapy is most appreciated when it is part of a comprehensive approach to anti-aging.
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I can not tell you how many times I have been in the mall or a beauty store and heard a sales person give a shopper horrible advice on skin care. To the defense of the sales person, they probably are unaware they are giving poor advice, they are likely not trained skin professionals. Often the product they recommend cost just as much, if not more than the more effective cosmeceutical products used by skin professionals.
An in-depth consultation with an licensed Esthetician should be your first step to addressing aesthetic skin concerns such as aging. Even if you are just looking for professional advise on appropriate skin care to maintain your skin, a skin consultation is needed. Standing in the front office and talking to the office staff or even an Esthetician between appointments, does not cut it. Not everyone is qualified to give skin care advice, even the Esthetician can not give you the attention you need in 5 minutes. A full consultation is always the best way to go. We have put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of your skin consultation.
Select your Esthetician
An Esthetician is a skin care specialist, that has been educated and trained on skin health and beauty. They do not diagnose or treat medical skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, allergies or skin cancers. An Esthetician may work in a day spa, salon, med-spa or within a medical practice such as dermatology or plastic surgery. When selecting an Esthetician, be sure to ask about experience and training. Some Estheticians may have additional training or certifications to work in medical aesthetics. You should look for an Esthetician that fits your personal goals.
Be Prepared to Discuss Your Concerns
If you can help your Esthetician understand what you see, and what concerns you most, then they can better help you. We recommend you make a list of concerns and what you hope to improve. It may help to look in a mirror while creating your list. If you simply want to maintain your skin, we can help with that too. The more clear you are about your concerns, the more likely they will be addressed. You may have skin issues or signs of aging that do not bother you, your Esthetician does not want to offend you by suggesting that you improve something that you are content with. Estheticians understands that most people have a budget and we want to respect your money, so be sure to communicate the priority of your concerns.
What to consider:
Pigmentation Concerns Is your skin color even or do you notice irregular pigmentation such as Melasma, dark patches, freckles, age-spots, sun spots or pigmented scars.
Acne / clogged pores Do you have any cysts, pimples, black heads, white heads or clogged pores. Do breakouts correlate with menstral cyle or hair removal. How often do you break out.
Texture Is your skin smooth and even or does it feel rough or flakey. Does your skin look creapy, have fine lines or scars that are raised or depressed.
Vascular Issues Do you have Rosacea, broken capillaries, diffused redness or red spots. Do you flush easily?
Oil and Moisture Is your skin normal, oily, shiny, dry, tight and dry?
Aging concerns Do you have any lines, wrinkles, folds? Is your skin that lax or thinning. Is your facial volume plump and cohesive or do you see separation of the fat pads, hollowness of the face or under eyes, flat cheeks, or jowls? Do you have droopy or hooded brows?
Hair Even if you are only seeking skin treatments, let your Esthetician know if you experience unwanted hair, specifically facial hair and how you address it. Hair growth and hair removal methods may provide clues to skin issues. ( This applies to men and women) Some hair removal methods my be contraindicated to potential treatments or products. Estheticians specialize in hair removal methods, so they can provide you with or suggest the most appropriate hair removal methods.
Tell us what products you are using
Be prepared to talk to your Esthetician about the skin care products you have used in the past and are currently using. When filling out your consultation form, it is not enough to list a brand name or only including a couple products. We need a detailed list of the products you are using and it is even better if you bring the products in with you, so that we can read the ingredient list.
Not all skin care products or ingredients play well together, for example products with Benzoyl Peroxide can oxidize your topical antioxidants. Acne and anti-aging products usually active ingredients and if we mix too many, the skin may become very irritated. You may already be using something similar to what we would recommend and we do not want you to purchase something, if you already have it or something like it. Your Esthetician will try to work with your current products, when possible. Sometimes, however it may be necessary to start from scratch.
Tell us what you have done already
Think back to any cosmetic procedures or skin care treatments you may have had and make a list. Your Esthetician will need to know what procedures / treatments you have done. Some things should not be repeated too soon, while others my be contraindicated to each other. For example if you have had deep (full coverage) resurfacing procedures, your Esthetician will want to know because they can not be repeated too frequently. If you have recently had certain injectables, you may need to wait before having some procedures. If you have ever had any silicone injections or have you been on accutane, you need to alert your Esthetician.
Tell your Esthetician what you liked or did not like about the things that you have already done. If you had a good experience with something, that will provides a clue to how you respond to treatment. If you feel something did not work or you had a bad experience, we do not want to repeat that for you. Sometimes, your Esthetician may want to spend some time educating you on why you had that experience. Never assume anything is irrelevant.
Tell us a little more about you
Your Esthetician will want to know a little about your medical background and medications. Some medications may increase chance of bruising or cause photosensitivity. Do not forget to list any supplements or herbal treatments you may use. Remember to list any allergies, including food allergies, as some skin care products contain natural ingredients like pumpkin, papaya and pineapple. Medical conditions can effect how your bodies wound healing ability and how your skin responds to treatment. When listing medical conditions be sure to include any hormone therapy.
Your lifestyle and habits are important too. How do you exercise, are you on a restrictive diet, do you smoke, drink or use any other substance. We are not here to judge you, we need to take into consideration the variables that may influence how you will respond to treatment. If you have any special scheduling concerns, be sure to discuss them during your consultation.
Be clear on expectations
As you are discussing treatment options, be sure to clarify what you should expect. Often clients do not understand that they should expect some reaction with treatment or even some skin care products. Be sure you have an idea of what is normal and when you should be concerned. If you are having a treatment that involves any “down time”, your Esthetician will give you an idea of how long it will take to recover. Keep in mind, that this is just an estimated time frame. There are far too many variables that effect healing, it is impossible to predict exactly. It is also relative to what you consider to be “down time” and when it comes to your appearance being acceptable to return to work or social activities, everyone has different standards.
Before scheduling treatments, be sure you understand what typical results are. Often clients hear what they want to believe, expecting too much. Its tempting to hope that even if your Esthetician recommends a series of treatments, that you will be the exception. Sometimes we convince ourself that a non-surgical treatment will deliver a surgical result. We want to believe that one treatment can replace the need for others or that what we do at home isn’t that important. Try to keep your expectations realistic.
Be sure to find out about your consultation fee, often the consultation fee may be credited toward your first treatment. As a courtesy, many Estheticians offer a free consultation. This likely means they are not getting paid, so if you can not make your appointment, call to cancel or reschedule as soon as possible. A minimum of 48 hours prior to scheduled appointment is standard, this allows time to fill the space.
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In the world of medical aesthetics, hydroquinone is often a necessary part of skin care. It is the gold standard for treating dark skin irregularities known as hyperpigmentation. As effective as it is, there is a rising concern regarding the number of people who are using hydroquinone incorrectly, without on going professional guidance. Many of those who are using hydroquinone do not understand the risk of hydroquinone resistance or how to properly use it, as to enhance efficacy. It is important to use hydroquinone in a way to maximize it’s benefit, before the skin builds a resistance and how to properly transition off, to reduce incidence of rebound hyper pigmentation. Always seek a professional guidance before starting or continuing hydroquinone use. It should be used only under the strict supervision of a professional.
Why do we need Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is the single most effective topical ingredient for treating skin discolorations. Skin discolorations can include sun spots, Melasma and Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), pigmented acne scars. When the skin is inflamed it can respond by over producing melanin, this inflammation can come from acne, injury, surgery or aesthetic procedures such as laser or chemical peels. UV exposure and hormones can also induce skin discolorations. In the world of medical aesthetics we are really dependent on the ability of hydroquinone to quickly correct hyper pigmentation. There are non-hydroquinone skin brighteners that are very good products, however they are not as effective as hydroquinone. That does not mean that botanical lighteners do not have a place, as you will learn, both hydroquinone and non-hydroquinone brighteners are important.
Resistance to Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone works by inhibiting tyrosinase, which is necessary for melanin production. It is believed that with extended hydroquinone use, the skin will compensate by increasing tyrosinase. This would causes the skin to become resistant to the effects of hydroquinone. When the skin becomes resistant to the effects of hydroquinone it will quit improving the hyper pigmentation. To prevent building resistance, it is not recommended to continue use for extended periods of time with out cycling off. It is usually recommended to cycle off hydroquinone after about 4-6 months. If needed, hydroquinone may be resumed after about 2 months. If you stop hydroquinone “cold turkey”, there is a risk of rebound pigmentation. To prevent rebound pigmentation, it is generally recommended to transition your skin off. While transitioning off and breaking from hydroquinone, continued stimulation with a retinoid is beneficial. When it is time to transition off your hydroquinone, you may begin to incorporate a non-hydroquinone skin brightener. There are several professional products that may be recommended. Exact regimens will vary individually, depending on skin condition and any skin treatments, such as laser treatments or chemical peels, that are planned. Do not attempt to cycle off hydroquinone without professional guidance!
Maximize Hydroquinone Effectiveness
When using hydroquinone to treat hyper pigmentation, the goal is to correct the condition before the skin builds resistance. In order to maximize effectiveness, we need to use a high quality hydroquinone product in the appropriate dosage, along with products that optimize penetration, assist in correction and protect from exacerbating factors.
We want to use enough of hydroquinone to reach correction, so a skin care professional needs to show you how to measure your hydroquinone and give you a time frame that you should expect to run out of product. Using hydroquinone every morning and night is a common protocol for treating facial skin.
We want the hydroquinone to have optimal ability to penetrate and work. Prepare the skin by cleansing with an appropriate cleanser. This would exclude anything that does not sufficiently clean the skin or leaves any occlusive film, this could inhibit product penetration. For this reason, I generally do not recommend cleansers like CeraVe or Cetaphil. Anything that is too harsh or active, should also be avoided, as we do not want to induce any unnecessary inflammation or irritation. After cleansing, an appropriate toner should be used, this will restore the skins PH balance after cleansing, preparing it for corrective skin care products. (astringent is not toner). Hydroquinone should be applied after toner, unless you have been instructed to use a Vitamin-C serum or other corrective serums. Always, confirm with your Esthetician or provider, the order your products should be applied.
When Hydroquinone is used with a mild exfoliant and Tretinoin (Retin-A), the pigment will be more evenly distributed. The goal is not just to suppress the production melanin (pigment), it is to have even distribution of the pigment. When the skin has hyper pigmentation, the melanocytes are not functioning properly. Not only is there an over production of melanin, but the pigment is not being evenly distributed to skin cells called keratinocytes. When Hydroquinone is used with Tretinoin, it works to evenly distribute the pigment. A mild chemical exfoliant will enhance the process by increasing the skin cell turnover. It is important that the exfoliant be appropriate to your skin type and personal skin care regimen, to reduce risk of any unnecessary inflammation. Here is the icing on the cake, tretinoin will also treat acne, increase collagen production in the dermis, as well as glycosaminoglycans such as Hyaluronic acid that bind to water and improve skin moisture. There is also evidence that tretinoin may positively effect gene expression in the skin. – Yes, please! I want all of that.
Sun protection is important for several reasons. 1) UV exposure stimulates the production of melanin, while hydroquinone is working to suppress it. It literally, defeats the purpose of using hydroquinone, if you do not have proper sun protection. 2) Hydroquinone, tretinoin and exfoliants can all cause photosensitivity of the skin. 3) Heat, including heat from the sun dilates capillaries in the skin and induces inflammation, which can exacerbated pigmentation problems. 4) UV exposure causes skin discolorations, free radical damage and breaks down collagen and elastin.5) UV rays damage DNA and causes skin cancer, and melanoma can be life threatening.
Your sunscreen should be an SPF 30 or higher and should have zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide can help by blocking some of the UV induced heat, that contributes to inflammation and exacerbates hyper pigmentation. Zinc also provides broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays without the irritation occasionally seen with chemical sunscreens. Professional zinc products are more elegant and will look better on the skin. Using a moisturizer, BB Cream or cosmetic with an added SPF, is not enough. It is important to have an actual sunscreen, with high broad spectrum coverage. Sunscreen should go on after any moisturizer, it is the last thing you put on, but before makeup. Sunscreen needs to be used EVERY day!
Topical antioxidants are useful for many reasons, but in regards to skin discolorations we especially like topical Vitamin-C. First, Vitamin-C reduces oxidized dopaquinone, which helps further brighten the skin. Perhaps, more importantly, Vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation in the skin that can cause or exacerbate hyper pigmentation. Some antioxidants, including Vitamin-C also have photo-protectant ability, enhancing the effectiveness of sunscreen. They works by neutralizing the UV rays, rather than reflecting or absorbing UV rays like a sunscreen, so use them together to maximize your protection. We recommend using an l-ascorbic acid form of vitamin c, in serum form. A quality l-ascorbic acid, needs to be packaged in a glass bottle with a glass dropper, the bottle should be dark to reduce oxidation of the product.
Not all skin care products play well together and there are some skin care products that may be contraindicated to your personal skin care regimen. For example, you should not use any product that contains benzoyal peroxide with products that can oxidize, such as Hydroquinone and Vitamin-C Serums. Always inform your Esthetician or skin care provider of the products you are using, and do not add anything new without having it approved first.
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