When people find out I work at a medical spa, one of the questions I get asked the most is, “What can I do about these,” as they point to dark spots on their face.
There are so many options! I’ll take you through them from no downtime to more intense laser treatments.
Easiest options for beginning to treat that pigment? Products. We have several options: Skin Better’s Even Tone, Skin Ceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector (more of a spot treatment if you don’t have much sun damage), Discoloration Defense, and a Phloretin, an antioxidant that also helps clear discoloration. We can also prescribe Hydroquinone, especially for melasma patients. Hydroquinone works by (1) decreasing the production of melanosomes (melanin pigment granules), and (2) increasing the breakdown of these melanosomes in the skin's pigment cells (melanocytes). It does this by inhibiting the enzymes needed to make melanin (the brown pigment we see).
You also need to make sure you are wearing sunscreen alllll the time or else there’s really no reason to spend money correcting your existing sun damage. We have face and body sunscreens from Elta MD with the appropriate amount of zinc oxide to keep you protected. Tinted and non-tinted options, great price points, and you won't smell like sunscreen!
A series of chemical peels can help lighten skin. Mild to moderate strength chemical peels generally have only 1-3 days of downtime, and typically that will be just flaky skin. If you’re targeting pigment, know that you WILL need more than one peel. A series of 3-5 would likely be needed for you to see optimal results.
HydraFacial with Britenol Booster is a no downtime treatment that, when done in a series of 3-4, will help clear pigmentation. HydraFacial is a non-laser resurfacing treatment that cleanses, exfoliates, extracts, hydrates and incorporates treatment serum boosters, and red or blue light therapy. We offer multiple booster serums for different issues. Britenol contains Alpha-Arbutin and Vitamin C which brighten the skin and clear dark spots. Again, when your goal is to correct a particular issue like texture or pigment, rather than just get an immediate healthy glow, your treatments will need to be done is a series, rather than one single treatment. Treatments can be done about 4 weeks apart.
Photofacial with Broadband Light (BBL) is the most effective treatment for pigmentation, and you will see dramatic results with just one treatment. BBL is a light-based treatment that targets both red and brown pigment, bringing it to the surface and allowing it to slough off. You will see results in clarity and pigment and after one treatment, and you will see dramatic results with 2-3 treatments. Our Forever Young BBL not only treats pigmentation but also penetrates deep into the tissue to stimulate collagen regeneration and actually changes the genetic expression of skin aging. What that means is, with maintenance BBLs over time, your skin looks younger even though you are aging. Read the study on BBL and how it alters skin aging at a genetic level.
Laser treatments like Halo and Nano Laser also target pigmentation, but they have more downtime and also target texture issues. These are great treatment option if you want to go after more than just pigment issues.