I have been on a mission to eliminate the dark spots or “age” spots on my skin. I have two spots that have been especially difficult. They show through makeup and happen to be under my eye and on my cheekbone, front and center. When I look at myself in the mirror, my spots are the first thing I notice. I have tried expensive bleaching products, chemical peels, retinol, DNA products, and at-home laser treatments. I even tried a fibroblast treatment–which I will share in an upcoming post. Not only do I want to get rid of those two offending spots, but I want to prevent more from developing.
What causes brown spots?
Call them sun spots, liver spots, or age spots, it doesn’t matter! Age spots are caused by the production of melanin and are the result of sun exposure. We can also develop dark spots from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, better known as acne scars. It has been my experience that brown spots caused by acne disappear over time–though I have had chemical peels and used tretinoin for my acne and oily skin when I was younger. Skin discolorations can also be caused by hormonal changes at various points in our lives, most notably post pregnancy and during menopause–this is known as melasma. It was my experience that melasma did fade over time–and responded well to treatment–but it is pesky and you have to keep on top of it with topical creams and sunscreen. By contrast, age spots seem to be much more difficult to treat, especially for those with dark skin pigmentation and those with sensitive skin. While those of us with fair skin tend to get more visible damage from UV rays, we have a greater number of treatment options.
Treating Brown Spots:
The first step to treating sun spots and dark spots is to rule out skin cancer, which should be done by a dermatologist–I’ve known several people whose primary care physician wrongly rule out skin cancer–it’s best to go to a doctor that specializes in skin, and skin care treatments. Once you have ruled out cancer, and other skin conditions, you can move on to treatment options. There is a wide range of options for removing dark marks from the skin, both in-office treatments and those that can be done at home using topical treatments. Depending on the severity of the spots, skin color, and type a dermatologist or master esthetician can make recommendations for the best results. Laser treatment, liquid nitrogen, and chemical exfoliants administered by a professional can eliminate the appearance of dark spots, and be a very effective treatment. There are a variety of over-the-counter treatments and at-home devices that can also help, though it has been my experience that they don’t work as well as in-office treatments. You and your dermatologist or esthetician can work out the best strategies for your skin type and concerns.
The preliminary strategy:
I’ve tried a lot of strategies and treatments on my dark spot journey, and I have found that having the right skincare products, and consistent use, are the best way to keep your skin spot free and healthy. I know that for me, the simpler the routine the more likely I am to follow it. In addition, when working on a skin concern such as dark spots patience is key. Many of the products require weeks of use before results are seen. Another important thing is that your new skin care regimen is a lifestyle change–meaning that to keep your skin looking good, you have to continue your skincare routine on an ongoing basis. Occasionally, you will have to make changes, but in general, maintaining an effective skincare routine will not only reduce your existing issues but also the future appearance of age spots.
Starting at home, we can help reduce melanin production by employing a few active ingredients in our skincare routines. Products that help increase the turnover of dead skin cells, like alpha hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin e, tranexamic acid, and lactic acid are key ingredients to look for in the best dark spot correctors. A good vitamin C serum or ensuring that vitamin c is included in the ingredient deck is key in dark spot treatments. Working with a dermatologist or a good esthetician, you can avoid skin irritation and the side effects of too strong or the wrong treatment for your skincare.
A good broad-spectrum sunscreen is an important part of skincare, and I figured that if I could find one I’d actually wear, one that didn’t cause skin problems, and that worked well with my makeup–then I could reevaluate and work on my age spots again. I was concerned that without a sunscreen strategy, I’d be constantly undoing the brightening and repair work I was trying to do. Plus sunscreen can prevent a new spot from forming.
Some sunscreens interfere with the wear of my foundation but Photozyme does not. In addition, it is gentle and keeps my skin looking healthy. I’ve written and spoken about this product before, and it really works in hot, humid conditions-and it’s excellent for mature skin.
Now that I have my sunscreen situation working, it’s time to revisit my skincare routine and hone in on repairing sun damage and hopefully get rid of my age spots. Here my plan is to use a small number of super effective spot-reducing treatments that will also improve the surface of the skin.
Products That Can Work On Sun Damage and Brown Spots:
DNA Youth Recovery Facial Serum is a product that is formulated with photozyme and promises to help with photoaging, fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, and uneven skin tone. The serum contains a photolyase enzyme found in our cells and helps repair DNA damage from UV rays.
The idea behind the product is that as we age, our cells don’t produce as much photolyase, so we are more susceptible to sun damage. This product is designed to help supplement the photolyase in our cells and help repair the damage that has been done. I find this encouraging, as photoaging is something that I am concerned about.
In addition to the photolyase enzyme, the serum contains a number of other ingredients that are designed to help with photoaging, including:
-Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that helps to brighten skin and even out skin tone.
-Matrixyl 3000: A peptide that helps to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
-Hyaluronic Acid: A molecule that holds 1000x its weight in water, so it is very hydrating and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
GFS Plus Night Serum is another product that is formulated with photozyme and is designed to help with photoaging, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. The serum contains a photolyase enzyme found in our cells and helps repair DNA damage from UV rays.
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There is no question that these products are a bit pricy–but they have created a Travel Trio which includes the above products for $115. I used my own money to purchase the products I am featuring today. I love them so much that I reached out to the company and obtained a discount of 20% so you could try or purchase anything from the website–use the code 20NINA at the checkout for 20% off. I normally don’t reach out to brands–but this one is exceptional, in my opinion, and this is worth the money.
Have you tried any of these products? Do you have a product or treatment that worked well for you? Which treatments are you most curious about?