In Miami, the land of the "Beautiful People" - where sun and sand mean that skin is always exposed, Dr. Andrea Trowers, Board Certified Dermatologist based in North Miami Beach, helps enhance all of her client's beauty.
Dr. Trowers exclusively addresses many of your biggest skin care questions in our ongoing series of columns. Her latest column is another one that you or someone in your life may find extremely helpful, (especially if you are a woman of color). She is sharing with all of us exactly what the very common skin condition called Hyperpigmentation is, how to treat it and prevent it's return. - RLB
Nobody wants dark spots on their face. A few freckles are cute, but when you develop large brown splotches on your cheeks, a dark stain above your lips or dark marks on your face that are the tell tale signs of a recent breakout…your cover up methods with makeup eventually leave you fed up and frustrated.
All of those dark marks are due to over activity of your melanocytes (the cells in your skin that produce color). As the result of long term sun damage, inflammation in the skin such as a pimple or the result of hormonal changes while pregnant your melanocytes produce more color than usual which results in hyperpigmentation.
I tell my patients that it’s easy for me to cure their hyperpigmentation but it is their responsibility to prevent its’ return. I cure it with high prescription strength bleaching creams (the active ingredient is hydroquinone). Bleaching creams in low strengths, such as 2%, are available over the counter but I usually start all my patients at an 8 to 10% strength that is only available through specialty compounding pharmacies. I stress to my patients that as long as they use it correctly they will not turn into Michael Jackson! The use of topical retinoids such as Retin A and Tazorac speed the effect of the bleaching cream, but only if used correctly.
Bleaching creams only work if the correct type of sunscreen is also being used. Remember sunscreens only last for two hours and damaging rays come through windows. Many patients tell me “I don’t need sunscreen. I’m never outside.” Well take a look under your bra….because no matter how light or dark your skin is I promise you that the skin under your bra is always lighter than the skin on your face because it is always protected from the sun. So a daily sunscreen with at least 9% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (which are physical blockers) is required. Potent vitamin c serums, such as Skinceuticals, have the study proven effect of increasing your sunscreens protective abilities.
After the hyperpigmentation has resolved, continued use of sunscreen, Vitamin C and retinoids are required to prevent the return of those dreaded dark spots. The benefit of these preventative creams and serums is that they also improve the appearance of your skin and prevent fine lines and wrinkles. So you have to thank those dark spots for that! - Dr. Andrea Trowers
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For more information, please visit Dr. Andrea Trowers' New Beauty Magazine feature.
Office contact info: 10800 Biscayne Boulevard Suite #650 Miami, FL 33161