Lasers fight sun damage; injectables reduce under eye circles
September 13, 2011
If your quest for the perfect blemish concealer has taken you from CVS to Bergdorf’s makeup counter, read on. Concealers that are heavy enough to mask brown spots, acne blemishes and under eye circles will also make you look like “Dawn of the Dead.”
Brown splotches, also known as liver spots, are unappetizing clusters of melanin produced by too much sun exposure. You can counteract these with retinoids, but you will not see results for at least six weeks. Ladies Home Journal, September 2011, advises, “If you’re ready to get out the big guns, try lasers.”
The number of treatments, starting at $450 each, depends on the darkness of your spots. Expect a light scab that will peel in about seven days. For sun damage that is spread over a large area, try Intense Pulsed Light, which emits multiple wavelengths that target many shades of red and brown. Sunscreen containing zinc oxide, used year round indoors and out, is your best protection.
Melasma patches, which are much larger than liver spots, result from sun exposure along with hormonal changes. Prescription strength hydroquinone is your most potent weapon. A newer option is the Lumixyl Brightening System – a four-part, doctor-dispensed topical regimen used twice daily that claims to fade melasma in as little as eight weeks. Remember, melasma can return with sun exposure, so slather on sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF.
Acne pimples can leave scars, but squeezing will make matters worse, resulting in post pimple hyperpigmentation, also known as spots. While blemishes are healing, avoid the sun; it will trigger pigment production. It can take up to two years for these spots to fade. To nudge healing along, try the same over the counter lighteners that are used to treat melasma, but limit application to the spots themselves or you may lighten surrounding skin areas. Again, the big guns are lasers. The same lasers used to treat sunspots can help fade discoloration from blemishes.
Starting in your 30s the skin under your eyes thins, making blood vessels visible. But if your circles are more brown than blue, blame excess under eye pigment on your genes. Allergies can also be a factor. Eye cream can temporarily plump skin, obscuring vessels; try one containing vessel-constricting vitamin K or caffeine.
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