Before we talk about the products pictured above, I want to remind you that there is no quick fix. Your skin tone is uneven for various reasons......hormone changes, sun damage, normal aging, rosacea or spots from old blemishes. Your skin didn't get like this overnight and it won't be fixed overnight. Even if you got laser skin resurfacing, there is a healing time sometimes up to 6 months or more. Since there is more than one reason for the unevenness, there is more than one product to treat it. If you want to keep an even tone then you have to correct, maintain and prevent!
Our first product, pictured at left, is the Obagi C-clarifying night cream that contains 4% hydroquinone. We have several products with 4% hydroquinone in them; this just happens to be the one I've used for years. Hydroquinone works by shutting down the production of tyrosinase which is the enzyme in melanocytes responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is responsible for freckles, brown spots from sun damage and hormone related melasma. You can't get rid of freckles because these melanocytes are genetically programmed to produce melanin, but you can lighten them. I personally think freckles are beautiful, but not everyone likes theirs. Melasma and sun damage can definitely be erased, though.
The next product, pictured on the upper right, is tretinoin. It is available in .025%, .05%, and 0.1% strengths. Tretinoin is known by various brand names such as Refissa, Retin-A, and Renova. We carry the exact percentages in our Obagi line, often cheaper than you can buy it from the pharmacy. Tretinoin is a good treatment for acne and fine lines. It works by causing new skin cells that are forming to act normally, not as they do as they as we normally age. Tretinoin will also treat dark spots/red spots, but of a different kind and in a different way. Have you ever picked at a pimple? Yes, we all have. After it's gone there is a red or brown spot left that just won't seem to go away. This is what tretinoin is for. Former and current acne patients can benefit greatly from this treatment. I like to combine a pea sized amount of tretinoin with a pea sized amount of my Obagi C-Clarifying night cream (above). You will use less of each product and it will spread both products more evenly. This also reduces the amount of flaking you may see as your skin starts to repair itself. Tretinoin should only be used at night because applied during the day it can cause sun sensitivity and will breakdown and be useless if exposed to a lot of sunlight.
The final product I recommend is our new PrioriMD Clinical Recovery Serum with DNA repair complex. These DNA repair enzymes work by undoing the damage to DNA strands caused by toxic free radicals. You can put it on once or twice a day. I personally like to use a squirt morning and night with my usual skin care regimen. This is an add-on product to any routine you have; PrioriMD is not a skincare system; the physician who created PrioriMD has a few prescription grade products for targeted use. Clinical Recovery serum is not greasy nor drying in anyway. It absorbs almost instantly. I can't tell I've even added it to my regimen, except that my skin feels smoother and softer and is looking much more even toned. (this of course is very important if you're not wearing makeup on the weekend and you choose to go out in public with your teenage children!)
The nice thing about all three of these products is they work well together and can be used for correction and maintenance. Prevention of further damage is dependent on wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, staying OUT of the tanning bed, drinking plenty of water, etc. That's a topic for another post, though.
In addition to the above products, we offer IPL and facial peels as adjunct treatments, and these procedures will speed up the correction process. Ask us about IPL and facial peels and we'll tell you which ones will help and what results you can expect for your individual skin. In the meantime, make yourself a New Year's resolution to get your skin in better shape!