What are all these brown spots?

Freckles can be really cute when you are young, then as we get older we start to wonder what are all these brown spot that appear. They start to change by growing in numbers, looking like patches, and some even have a rough texture to them. This is nothing other than the lovely process of aging! Luckily there are plenty of options to reducing the appearance of these brown spots, we just have to know what kind they are exactly in order to remove them. Read below to figure out what may lie beneath the surface of your skin.

Decoding Your Spots

Freckles:

These are the cute little spots that you have most likely had since you were a kid. Sometimes when you are in the sun they can show up more prominently, and other times in the winter months they can vanish. Freckles are harmless, and sometimes pretty and just add a little character when kept under control. If you don’t like your freckles you can use skin lightening products (including the ingredients hydroquinone or kojic acid), have them removed with IPL (intense pulsed light therapy), get chemical peels, and avoid the sun at all costs. If you like your freckles, then embrace them!

                   *Photo shows real results before and after BBL treatment to remove freckles and sun damage.

Age Spots:

Age spots (aka solar lentigo) are nasty little things, yet they are inevitable for all of us. They are harmless small/medium patches of dark skin cells (melanin) that have been triggered by UV rays from the sun. This is also known as sun damage. Sometimes these brown spots can have irregular borders, and are usually flat surfaced. These kind of brown spots are most common for people in their 40’s and up, but can definitely start to show on younger people who have had a lot previous of sun exposure. To get rid of them will take a little more work, and a little more patience. Keep in mind how long it has taken to create them, so you need to be realistic when trying to make them disappear. This best treatment for age spots are going to be lasers (including IPL, BBL, and Hybrid Pro-fractionated lasers aka Halo), chemical peels, and the tried and true skin care line Obagi Nu-Derm System.

Melasma:

Have you noticed large tan patches of skin on your face that resemble a mask? Sometimes the patches even take on the appearance of a tan mustache, or large brown circular shapes on the cheeks and forehead. If this is you, I have bad news…this will be a tough, long road to get rid of it. Melasma is a pigment disorder that is triggered by hormonal fluctuations and exacerbated by sun, heat, and UV light. Once you have melasma, you will always have it. The proper steps can be taken to reduce the appearance and keep it under control. These steps include calming the production of melanin (the color) in your skin with inhibitors such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, and kojic acid. Your dermatologist can prescribe these to you catered to your skin type. On a side note, there are certain treatments that will be off-limits to you, including lasers, waxing, and any heat producing therapies. Daily use of a broad spectrum SPF of 50 or higher is critical, and should be appropriately re-applied throughout the day. Pregnancy and birth control pills are also triggers, and are usually the culprit as to why it got there in the first place.

                                       *Photo shows results from Obagi for improving the appearance of melasma.

Seborrheic keratosis:

Also known as SK’s, these can appear very similar to moles or warts. They are raised, round skin growths that show up as we age. They are most common in people over 40, but some can get them even in their 30’s. SK’s often scare people into thinking that they have a cancerous mole, but are really just impersonators and are harmless and ugly. The sun may play a factor as to why they appear, and they can also be hereditary. They are easy to remove usually by a biopsy or can be frozen or burned off by your dermatologist. You should have all of your moles checked yearly by a dermatologist to be sure that you aren’t self-diagnosing and SK as something more serious.

What do all of these have in common?

One main factor: the sun. Please remember to wear a daily SPF 30 or higher and reapply as needed! Also, they should be diagnosed by a dermatologist and checked yearly. Better safe than sorry!

 

Why the pH of Your Cosmetics Matter

If you have ever heard any commercial on TV for a skin care product, then you have heard of “pH” before. So many advertisements claim “restore pH”, or “pH balanced” on their brands. What does that really mean, though? Im going to take you back to high school science class on this blog post…but you may want to LISTEN UP if you love your skin at all!

Back to the Basics:

The pH (potential hydrogen) of a substance is its degree of acidity or alkalinity, and is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Acids or substances that have a pH below 7.0, and Alkalis have a pH above 7.0. So, the higher the pH number, the greater the alkalinity. NEUTRAL on the scale is a 7.0 as well. Every number change on the scale represents a tenfold change, and is 10 times different than the number before or after. As a point of reference, your skin and hair are approximately a 5.0 on the pH scale. This happens in the acid mantle, which is where your sweat and oil are purposely produced to create a safe barrier for the skin, protecting it from outside elements.

pH-scale

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Beauty for the Bride

So, you’re engaged! Now what?

There are a few MAJOR beauty insider secrets to being a glowing beauty on your big day! Or hey, maybe you just want to look this good all the time? Either way, I have some suggestions to feeling your best when that day comes…

bridal beauty

 

WELLNESS

Lock down your health and fitness plan right away. If you don’t feel one hundred percent, then you certainly won’t look it either. What I’m saying is to start eating healthy, and figure out a whole foods diets within your caloric needs. The best foods for your skin are healthy fats, and those that contain lots of water and vitamins. See my other article on what foods are the best for you skin here. Also, have a good sweat session for at least 20 minutes a day! Sweating out toxins in your body is the best inner cleanse there is, forget about the fad diets! Tone it up with strength training to lose extra unwanted pounds. Find your comfortable weight and learn how to manage it throughout your engagement. Do NOT try radical diet and exercise programs, they are temporary solutions and will most likely make you look exhausted and HANGRY. (Not sure what hangry is? Look it up)

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My Favorite Organic Skin Care Line!

eminence photo

Have you ever heard that our skin absorbs 60 percent of what we put on it? It’s true! Our skin is our a largest permeable organ of the body, meaning that your body absorbs whatever you put on your skin, which is then flushed into the circulatory system. We assume that most skin care lines would be safe to use, but in fact many of them contain chemicals that are harmful to the body. We also assume that these chemicals have undergone testing, yet only 5 percent of 80,000 known chemicals have been tested for safety on the body. After all, the FDA does not regulate most cosmetics that are on the market, so be very careful when choosing your skin care brands!

You may be thinking now, “Well, what cosmetics are actually trustworthy?”. That’s a great question to ask, considering most beauty products market themselves in a way that is so believable. Even “All Natural” is misleading and usually not true. You have to be a “Certified Organic” line for that to be true! There are strict requirements to be a “certified organic” line, and they don’t mess around. The farming, the preserving, and the making of each product is kept under specific guidelines that the company has to follow. The details are really interesting, if you want to learn more about organic farming click here.

My favorite ORGANIC skin care line that I have ever used in my professional career in esthetics is Eminence Organics. It is a handmade organic line that farms all of their ingredients in Hungary. They are the most amazing GREEN company, I’m truly blown away how they create their products with sustainability near the top of their priorities.
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Classification of Skin Care Brands

Is your favorite skin care brand first class? You might be surprised to see where it lands on a scale from cheapest to highest quality. There are so many different brands and products out there, that sometimes it can be confusing to know if what you are buying is good or not. They all claim to do so many different wonderful things, but how can we separate the facts from fiction?

It all comes down to the percentage of active ingredients that are in the product, and the molecular structure. The molecules and the vehicle ingredients are the delivery system that carries the active ingredients into the skin. The smaller the molecular structure, the deeper the product can penetrate, therefore giving stronger and faster results. Also, the lower the pH of the product, the more change you will see in your skin. Example: chemical peels have very low pH, and they are strong and effective.

My suggestion to you is to find a reputable skin care line you have been instructed to use by a skin care expert. If you take the time to have a consultation with a dermatologist or an esthetician, your products will give you great results because they have been catered to your individual concerns. Your skin will thank you for it!

Battle of the Brands

A Visual to Show The Tiers of Skin Care Products

skin care brand classification

(Based off of a chart by Licensed Esthetics Instructor, Courtney Freeman at the Southeastern Esthetics Institute)

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