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It is sunspot season and if you are tempted to take care of it yourself at home, please think twice. Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent that is cytotoxic and mutagenic and can give you the opposite result you are looking for!

Here is my beautiful friend and colleague Kimberly Running of Ranch & Coast Plastic Surgery of Del Mar and she explains how to undo the sunspots that darken when not using proper sun protection.


 What does a typical sun repair program look like? 

It depends on the skin type. With a lighter skinned person I start with a chemical peel. For people with minimal sun damage this it the most cost effective treatment and can take care of all the sun damage. Typically I will do three chemical peels and three IPL’s. 

What is a chemical peel?

A skin resurfacing technique in which a chemical solution is applied to the face to remove the outer surface layers of skin. There are different strength peels and they each do a different thing depending on how deep you are going. These treat sun damage, brown spots, uneven skin tone and acne. 

Can everyone do chemical peels?

Definitely not! A darker skinned person has more melanin in the skin then a lighter person and the peel will bring the melanin to the surface and create a darker appearance of the skin.

Are chemical peels dangerous? 

It is of the utmost importance that the peel does not pass the dermis and enter the papillary dermis because that will increase pigmentation or cause post inflammatory pigmentation. 

What does post inflammatory pigmentation look like?

Right after the treatment, the face looks bright and healthy but about a month later, the production of melanin increases and a person’s face becomes 10 times darker than before the treatment.

What is IPL?

It stands for Intense Pulsed Light and it is a laser treatment. I use it most commonly for lightening sunspots, decreasing red capillaries and to increase collagen production.    

Do you have a set protocol for amount of peels and laser treatments? Every client is different and the determining factors are skin type, money and social downtime. These things need to be discussed before any treatments begin. If you have a big event and your face is peeling off because the treatment went deeper then you expected, no one is happy. I highly recommend having a plan set up with your esthetician to understand the severity of these treatments. 

What are the best ways to maintain these treatments and continue the improvement of the skin from sun damage?

Two ways. The first is home care. Veridatta's Enlighten Serum inhibits melanin production and helps to keep sunspots from reappearing immediately after the chemical peel and IPL treatment. 

The second Veridatta's Vital Sun SPF because it is a physical blocker for both UVB and UVA rays. The only way to sit in the sun and not darker your sunspots is if you use a zinc oxide sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens absorb the heat and are the actual cause of the pigmentation production. 

Well fancy that. Thanks Kimberly and Ranch & Coast Plastic Surgery for having us.  

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