Resolution 2018: Get Rid Of Dark Spots
Even though most people refer to patches of excess pigmentation as age spots, they have nothing to do with age. Instead, they are the evidence of damage caused to the cells by UV exposure. When your body reacts to UV radiation, it sends melanin (pigment) to the site to protect the skin. (Hello, tan.) Over time, the damage accumulates and lentigines, or what are commonly referred to as age spots, occur. The face, back of the hands, and forearms are common sites as these areas receive the most exposure.
The pigment resides in the base of the top layer of skin, so the removal process requires cell renewal and breaking down excess pigment. Since UV exposure is the main culprit and exacerbator of unwanted pigmentation, winter provides a chance to focus on the problem with less of the aggravating factor of the sun, so now is a great time to take on these trouble spots.
Here are the most effective ways to achieve a more consistent, radiant tone.
Vitamin A accelerates cell turnover, which helps to bring fresh new skin to the surface. It also helps to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Derm-A-Gel corrective serum combines the resurfacing effect of vitamin A with brightening alpha-hydroxy acids lactic acid and kojic acid with niacinamide, an effective melanin inhibitor that also enhances the effects of AHAs.
Acids including glycolic, kojic, lactic, and mandelic help fade dark spots by removing dead skin and bringing new skin to the surface. Some acids, like mandelic and kojic, also help to interrupt the synthesis of melanocytes to keep new pigment from forming.
Hydroquinone, the most widely used skin lightener, inhibits melanin synthesis, but also breaks down melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) to more rapidly decrease existing pigmentation.
For stubborn pigmentation issues, Vivant’s Bleaching Cream is the top of the food chain. This targeted serum combines transformative vitamin A with the most potent of the brighteners, hydroquinone (2%) and kojic acid. It gets an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory boost from grape seed oil, oat proteins, and aloe leaf.
For skin too sensitive for glycolic acid or hydroquinone, 8% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Serum provides a more gentle brightening and exfoliating experience. The larger molecular structure of naturally derived mandelic acid means it penetrates more slowly and causes less irritation. Here, it’s paired with lactic acid and niacinamide in a triple-targeted formula (acne, aging, and irregular pigmentation) that’s safe for all skin tones.
Since pigmentation is the result of oxidation in the skin, antioxidants are key, both topically and as part of your diet. In skin care, beneficial antioxidant ingredients include vitamins A, C, and E, and green tea extract. In your diet, leafy greens, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado and salmon are good sources.
For a daily protective shield, try Vivant’s Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum. Antioxidant superheroes, vitamins C & E, plus melanin-blocking niacinamide, help repair and protect from further UV damage.
Physical exfoliation a couple of times a week will help speed the process of fading dark spots by removing dead skin cells and stimulating new cell growth. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, which can irritate and weaken the skin barrier. Avoid harsh products and overly coarse pads or brushes.
Try Vivant’s Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser with antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and naturally brightening mandelic acid, plus polyphenol-rich green tea extract and grape seed for the ultimate cleanse and repair.
To take on more stubborn spots, laser treatment may be recommended. Melanin in the skin absorbs the energy of the laser causing the excess pigment to disintegrate. This is often not the best option for darker skin tones as the heat from the laser can trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
This is a process in which liquid nitrogen is applied directly onto the dark spot to destroy the cluster of melanin cells. As the area heals, the upper layers of skin peel away and new skin is formed. The process is quick and there’s little more than a stinging sensation at the site during the procedure. However, there is the possibility of the mark being replaced by a much lighter spot.
A medium-depth chemical peel removes the top two to three layers of skin to encourage cellular regeneration and reduce discoloration. The process provides rapid and dramatic results in texture and tone. Because a peel doesn’t involve the use of heat like laser procedures, it’s less likely to stimulate an unwanted melanin response. Ask your esthetician about a Vivant ProPeel.
The best way to avoid dark spots is to avoid the damage in the first place. That means limiting sun exposure, wearing a hat, and applying sunscreen religiously.
Vivant’s lightweight Day Treatment Lotions SPF 15 with zinc peptide provides broad-spectrum protection that won’t clog pores or make your face look greasy.
Free radicals from environmental pollutants including smoke can also stimulate the melanocyte response so if you needed another reason to quit smoking, there it is.