This is a reprint of a newsletter we sent out in October 2009.  We are moving all our newsletters to our blog starting with older ones first.

How to Achieve Clear, Even-Toned Skin
Is your complexion not as radiant as it used to be? Do you find yourself using makeup to try and cover sun spots, acne scarring and general skin discoloration? Most people think that “concealing” this skin concern is their only option. At ASerenity Skincare we have professional andat-home treatments that can actually correct skin discoloration!

Why do we get hyperpigmentation? Skin discoloration, also known as hyperpigmentation, occurs for many reasons. Hyperpgimentation can appear as pink, purple, red or brown spots varying in shapes and sizes. Some of these reasons include excessive sun exposure, pregnancy or hormonal fluctuations (i.e birth control, menopause), and post acne scarring. In the skin we have special cells called Melanocytes which when “triggered” create deeper pigment in the skin. Melanocytes are technically our bodies natural defense against the sun. The more sun exposure we get the more active our melanocytes become and the darker our skin gets. This is also the reason why people across the world vary in skin tone. People whose ancestors originated from closer to the equator where the sun is at its strongest (Africa, Brazil, India) have more active melanocytes than those who originated farther north or south from the equator where the sun is less frequent (i.e. Europe, Canada).

How do you treat hyperpigmentation?

To treat hyperpigmentation you must do three things:

1) Wear sunscreen!

Sunscreen is the most important part of achieving an even skin tone. Since the sun is what triggers our melanocytes, it is important the we limit sun exposure and wear SPF on a regular basis. If you choose not to wear sunscreen, but follow steps 2 and 3, more than likely you will never achieve the results you are looking for and in some cases the hyperpigmentation will worsen.

ASerenity recommends trying Image Skincare’s Solar Defense Oil-Free SPF 30 ($34.90). This oil-free UVA/UVB broad spectrum daily moisturizer uses 18.6%, provides ultimate protection against the aging effects of the sun and other environmental exposures. Enriched with essential vitamins and anti-oxidants that prevent free radical damage, this sunscreen will also keep the skin hydrated for the entire day.

2) Use a skin lightening serum or treatment.

Skin lightening treatments simply make the results you want happen more quickly. Ingredients to look for include Hydroquinone (2% available OTC and 4% available with a RX) and retinol (available OTC, with stronger formulas requiring a RX). ASerenity recommends Image Skincare’s Ageless Total Bleaching Serum ($27.00). This blend of  hydroquinone, glycolic and azelaic acid lighten even the darkest spots that develop from pregnancy, acne, over-exposure to the sun and the pigmentation change associated with menopause. Excellent for all who want “spot-free skin.” Want to try a retinol formulation? Using retinol has its perks. Not only will it even out skin tone, but it will also help firm the skin and smooth lines and wrinkles! Try Ageless Total Retinol-A Creme ($52.50). This highly concentrated blend of retinol and polypeptides to resurface, rejuvenate and repair aging and acne prone skin. Both of these treatments should only be worn in the evening as they can make the skin more sensitive to burning and prone to sun damage. Wearing an SPF 30 everyday is crucial!

Looking for a botanical alternative? Plant extracts like mulberry, bearberry, vitamin c, kojic acid and licorice help to naturally slow down the production of melanin in the skin. Try Image Skincare’s Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum ($27.00). This oil-free serum contains a natural blend of bearberry, kojic acid and licorice to lighten freckles, melasma and age spots. High doses of Vitamin C rapidly reduce the redness associated with rosacea. Ideal for all skin types.

3) Exfoliate the skin.

Exfoliation is key when treating hyperpigmentation. In order for treatments to penetrate more deeply, the old dry layers of skin must be removed. ASerenity recommends using at-home exfoliating methods. For those serious about fading pigmentation fast, professional treatments like microdermabrasion or chemical peels are highly recommended as well. For at-home exfoliation use a cleanser containing glycolic acid at least once a day. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and it helps to loosen up the top layer of dead skin that has built up on the skins surface. This will not only help to fade hyperpigmentation with time, but it will also improve the texture of the skin, increasing smoothness and treating fines lines and wrinkles. Try Image Skincare’s Ageless Total Facial Cleanser ($26.50). This universal foaming cleanser rinses away makeup and oil. It balances the PH of the skin and eliminates the need for a toner. A gentle glycolic acid blend begins the exfoliating process to reveal smoother skin. Eucalyptus adds a refreshing feel. Ideal for all skin types except for ultra sensitive. Have sensitive skin, but still want the deep cleansing benefits? Opt for Image Skincare’s Vital C Hydrating Cleanser ($26.50) instead and use with the Clarisonic Skin Care Brush ($195). This creamy, hydrating cleanser removes all makeup and impurities. Treats environmentally damaged skin, giving it a renewed, nourished and silky smooth feel. Ideal for rosacea-prone skin, smokers, travelers and all skin types needing more moisture. Cleansing with the Clarisonic Skin Care Brush is twice as effective as cleansing with your hands. Clarisonic’s deep cleaning action allows for deeper penetration of skin care products because it leaves your pores free of debris that may inhibit product absorption.

At ASerenity we are available to answer your questions regarding your skin concerns. Feel free to call us at the spa and speak to one of our highly trained estheticians.

Healthy Food of the Month!
At ASerenity we believe in beauty from the inside out. Since October is Breast Cancer Awarness Month we’d like to re-introduce you to a nutrional superstar…the egg!

Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Though many of us have shunned whole eggs because of their link to heart disease risk, there’s actually substantial evidence that for most of us, eggs are not harmful but healthy.

People with heart disease should limit egg yolks to two a week, but the rest of us can have one whole egg daily; research shows it won’t raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make omelets with one whole egg and two whites, and watch cholesterol at other meals. (Information provided by Prevention Magazine)

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