Well, ACL has now passed, the Red River showdown is over (or as I’ve known it my whole adult life: TX OU Weekend) halloween decorations are out, a cool front came through this morning and there are only 10 weeks until Christmas! Med spa translation: it’s officially laser season. All those brown patches and freckles that showed up when you are on the lake, at the beach or just out in the sun as a weekend warrior can now come off. Cooler weather and shorter days make for a perfect environment to heal from heat and light based treatments. Rarely is there anyone who doesn’t have some form of hyperpigmentation, melasma or sun damage. So I’ve put together a few ways you can help your skin revive and turn back the clock just a little.
Hyperpigmentation is common and shows itself as patches of skin that become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin (the brown pigment that produces normal skin color) forms deposits in the skin. It can also look like small spots, often called age or liver spots.
Hyperpigmentation can also come in the form of melasma which looks similar to sun damage but is generally due to hormonal changes. You might have heard it called the pregnancy mask. (If you do have melasma, hydroquinone, which we have at the spa, will help suppress the signs, and it is also mandatory to be on this product for 6-8 weeks prior to doing a laser or light-based treatment).
Here are a few treatment and product options for evening and brightening skin tone:
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL is light-based energy pulsed onto the skin while simultaneously targeting blood vessels. The light seeks out the discoloration in the skin to lift it up and out. Expect for the treated areas to turn dark and flake off in a few days. If you have quite a bit of sun damage you will probably need a series of treatments to reach your goal result.
Whisper Laser Resurfacing
This is a more intense option, and it will also help with skin texture. The laser creates controlled microinjuries in the skin to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process. As a result, discoloration is diminished as new, fresh skin comes to the surface.
This also creates microinjuries to the skin to stimulate healing and skin cell turnover, but the mechanism is tiny needles, rather than lasers. It is not as aggressive as Whisper, but has it’s own benefits: less downtime, it can treat close to the eye area, and it’s wonderful for treating acne scarring.
Skin Ceuticals has two great products for hyperpigmentation: Phloretin CF and Advanced Pigment Corrector.
Phloretin CF combines phloretin, vitamin C, and ferulic acid to not only diminish pigmentation but also protect against continued atmospheric damage.
Advanced Pigment Corrector targets skin discoloration often caused by accumulated sun exposure, hormonal shifts, and the natural aging process. Use this if you have melasma, or use it in conjunction with Phloretin if your sun damage is fairly severe. This product also helps exfoliate and improve skin radiance.
You can do all these treatments, or just try one and then move to the next to see what works best for you. But get started now before all the holiday madness. You'll need about a week to let your skin heal from IPL and Whisper. And if you need a series, you'll need about 4 weeks between each treatment. The holiday planning has begun!