Treating, repairing and
protecting the skin against darkening of the
pigment cells has become our main research focus here the past 19 years. The
increase of new clients requesting help with hyper pigmentation discoloration
dramatically, overtaking those with Rosacea and Acne, so the demand for
effective new products has as
well. Most adults we meet are not using sun screens or protective
clothing as needed. Men unfortunately lead the USA statistics of deadly skin
cancer diagnosis. In 2007, Oregon and Washington were #'s 1 and 2
nationwide for men and women skin cancers reported by doctors. This,
I believe, is because in the Pacific NW there is an incorrect attitude that
"it rains all the time". If you live in a cloudy region
and you have this misconception, please read on!
a record number of American women are in various stages of menopause,
doctors and health departments reveal higher interests expressed in
learning about natural remedies for the symptoms such as hot flashes and
pigmentation changes. With a
cultural history of tanning fads in their lifetime, as well as widespread use
of hormone replacement therapies, cortesteriod drugs, recreational drug
use, anti-biotics, birth control hormones,
anti-anxiety or depression medications, experts see a
tremendous number of female patients with pigment disorder symptoms. In turn,
their daughters are following in their footsteps, using these drugs and
tanning beds more frequently and at an
even earlier age, hence showing symptoms earlier than we have observed
before the mid-1990's. Known as hyper pigmentation, melasma,
chloasma, age spots, liver spots, mask of
pregnancy, solar lentigines, freckles, brown patches and xeroderma,
photo-damage, actinic or solar keratosis...these
individual conditions are quite different and so are the recovery treatments.
Its 2011 and no fast cure, safe or not, has been found. Patience and
perseverance are needed as well as strict avoidance of tanning.
Attention to nutrition, stress, prescription and "recreational"
drugs, allergies, environmental toxin exposure is important.
group of pigment issues is referred to as Post
Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation, described in another article - click to go
compiled a list of "triggers" for hyper-pigmenting as well as
Rosacea and other health concerns that are symptomatic in the skin.
Click here to read the current updates on the list...
number one pigment disorder affecting women of child bearing years, world
wide, is called Melasma.
The primary function of
melanin, the skin cells that form "tan" colors, is to
protect the other types of skin cells from UV light. When the skin is
exposed to UV radiation, melanin synthesis is stimulated to form the
"tan". Then melanosomes actually cluster, forming a protective
cap over the nucleus of the cell. This is why hyper pigmentation is
uneven and grows. The individual melanocytes in melanin form
tendrils or branch like shapes that stretch upwards toward the surface of
the skin. When you are constantly getting unprotected sun exposure
(or tanning beds), this is why the intensity and distribution of
"tan" changes. Also, when you are being treated for hyper pigmentation
and especially melasma, there is a period of time when
you actually look darker "all of a sudden" and then, if you
stick to your program, you get your real color back all at once.
Let me clarify this: we have seen this with home care products and with
the natural peels and microdermabrasion we do in-office. Since we do
not use chemical peels here any longer, I cannot say that the results are
There is no quick fix for melasma. A lifetime of precautionary care will
be advised because the skin cells retain the memory. Unless one uses
prevention products the discolorations will come back at the first sun
or tanning bed exposure. So, with tyrosinase inhibitors (like our 100% natural
Bright Serum, UV
Repair Cream, Glymed's Skin Brightener and
Cell Clarifier) and broad spectrum sun blocks (all of our sun protection
lotions are UVA and UVB specific, you can be preventative. You can view the
sunscreens on our info page). If you
have PIH, you must practice the same
diligence. Regular sessions of microdermabrasion
and depigmenting solutions with your aesthetician will speed up the process
of normal skin color.
Once you feel you have completed your pigment
correction program, practice Tyrosinase inhibitors like GABA
, L-Arbutin and Kojic Acid based
skin creams or serums every night for a few more weeks to prevent rebound discoloring.
Typically, an initial program of skin color recovery (that is, back to your
natural color) may take 4-6 months of application of these products and
careful defense from triggers like UV light. Clinical studies have shown that a
significant number of research patients who kept up their skin care products
for up to a year did not see reoccurrence of the same pigmentation coming
back to the areas treated. Don't ever get caught outdoors without
your sun block! Keep gloves, hats and jacket in your car all year for
quick protection. Monthly skin cancer and mole self exams are critical to adults to
perform on themselves, especially if you have
spent your life in the sun. Go here to see more
information on exams. Those who enter a pigment normalizing
program with us receive extensive information expanding on what we have
offered here as well as an esthetician to monitor progress by email,
answering questions or advising you along the way to recovery.
Take extra precautions with your children because over 80% of lifetime sun damage is caused during
our youth (up to 18 years of age). The effects may take up to 20 years
from the first sun burn, to
start showing up as skin cancer, skin tags, melasma, age spots, wrinkles and
lining, broken blood vessels in the skin, loss of skin firmness, poor healing abilities and more.
Children are easily taught how to practice safe sun so begin
early. Remember: freckles are the body's warning signs of sun damage
already taking place in children.
Alas, even in 2011, I find that most people do not apply sun protection
practices to their daily life - even those who have had skin cancer. I hear confessions from many adults who only bother with sun
screen when on vacation! And then they don't re-apply it during a day at the
beach, golf course, hiking or on the water! I'm asked constantly if there is a cure for melasma or for
rosacea or for sun damage. The first line of defense is sun protection
and that is not being practiced effectively. So, all the prescription drugs, all the
cosmetic skin care products, all the facial peels and cosmetic surgery is
literally wasted because one simple step is not taken every day.
When applying sun screen products, DO NOT rub the lotion into the skin like
a moisturizer: it must leave a noticeable film on the surface of the
skin to deflect UV light as a means of protecting you! Our
mineral powders and lip balm do have instant sunscreen protection, so be
sure to order if you haven't bought them already. 503-310-4649.
Some have heard
that sun protection is causing Vitamin D defeciencies in
Americans. Here's the bottom line on that: your skin only
needs 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun, before 10:00 am and
just a small area of skin, like your elbow, to get what the whole body
requires in Vitamin D a day. Your face and neck are not the places
you want unprotected! Gel or Liquid Vitamin D drops in 1000mg dose
per drop is superior anyway and pretty inexpensive. Ask a
professional how many drops you need for your weight, age and health issues.
Do not risk
deadly skin cancer when the alternatives are easy and cheap. April
5, 2011 - jmp
2011: I just heard that the "torso" is the most effective
skin exposure for Vitamin D! More to follow once I've checked this
rumor out! jmp
products are not the place to save money in your cosmetic budget - this is
health care. Just be sure to read labels and not purchase any with
hazardous ingredients like the parabens group, fragrance/parfum, and
others listed at the Environmental Working Group online.
warning is that mosquito repellant with DEET must not be applied to skin
that also has sun screen containing Avobenzone, Oxybenzone or Octinoxate
as there is a toxic and deep penetrating chemical response to the mixture.
Especially of concern for children and pregnant women.
proactive with your medical professional: ask for complete mole and
sun damage check ups, from scalp to toes. Once a year after 30 and
more frequently after 50 or if you have a history of skin cancers.
If you simply ask for "a mole check up" the chances are you are
being booked for a few minutes to look at 1 mole! Be clear!
recently attended a "Free Skin Cancer Screening" event at the
local medical university. I was happy to see so many folks lined up
for their check up (this event was for "head, neck and
shoulders")! Apparently the media really got the word
out! However, my session was disappointing: they never asked about
history of sun burns or use of sun screens and just told to get checked
again in 6-12 months. No mention to use sunscreen or practice other
"safe sun" measures! America's doctors need to get on the
ball - educate the public about this dangerous and so easily preventable
- For those
of you used to my 25 years of lectures on sun damage, I'm "pleased" to
announce that today's news has finally offered this: "Study indicates that time
spent driving may increase risk of skin cancer from the sun... Feb.
no mention made of the benefits of using sunscreens as prevention...