Some people are blessed with good genes. And if they’re careful – by avoiding sun exposure – they will avoid the signs of aging that most people see as they enter their forties and fifties. Unfortunately, that leaves most of the population checking themselves out in their magnifying mirrors every morning and not liking what they see.
According to experts, the two most visible signs of aging are wrinkles and brown spots. Wrinkles can be easily addressed by Botox®, but brown spots can prove much harder to get rid of.
Dermatologists Agree: Sunscreen is Key
It’s no secret that sun exposure causes aging. But the look of a nicely tanned face and body is sometimes too tempting, especially for the young. Dermatologists agree that an effective sunscreen, worn every day (even in the winter months), is key to maintaining a youthful appearance.
Most people are unaware that there are two different types of sunscreen. Topical sunscreens are available with varying levels of SPF defense. However, the most effective type is a barrier sunscreen consisting of zinc. Zinc sunscreen stays on the surface of the skin rather than being absorbed into it. Mineral sunscreens with zinc are effective right away on both UVA and UVB rays.
Brown Spots vs. Freckles
Freckles are cute, brown spots are not. Brown spots are one of the first and also the most stubborn signs of aging. No matter how much concealer and foundation are applied, it is extremely difficult to cover them and keep them covered throughout the day.
There are several options for the successful treatment of brown spots and improvement of skin tone. Dermatologists agree that an in-person consultation is the best way to develop a customized treatment program. Various factors are taken into consideration, including the patient’s age, location, and severity of the condition, expectations, downtime availability, and budget.
Chemical peels, when administered by a dermatologist or trained medical professional, are some of the best treatment options for brown spots and improving overall skin tone. The types of peels most recommended are salicylic acid, Jessner and TCA.
Salicylic acid peel. Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), is a powerful peeling agent, pore cleanser, and oil reducer. Ideal for all skin types, salicylic acid works well for oily or acne-prone skin and clogged pores. It can act as a peeling agent – dissolving the top layer of the skin, resulting in a smoother and healthier complexion. A salicylic acid peel is also beneficial for dehydrated/dry and sensitive skin, including sun-damaged, dull, and uneven skin tone. It helps reduce incidents of acne flareups, psoriasis, wrinkles, and fine lines while improving texture and brightness.
Here’s how it works. The medical provider will use a salicylic acid solution in a potency selected for the particular application, then gently apply it to the skin. The patient usually feels a slight stinging or itching for the first two to three minutes, but the process should not cause any pain or discomfort. Mild flaking can last from five to seven days. A salicylic acid peel is a cumulative treatment that will not provide final results after one peel. This type of peel can be performed every two to four weeks, depending on the condition of the skin.
Jessner peel. The Jessner peel (named for its inventor) is a safe, effective way of maintaining the skin. It is a widely used medium-depth peeling agent, which means the solution only affects the upper layer of the dermis. It’s a leave-on solution that takes a few days to complete the peeling process. It should be left undisturbed for a minimum of six to eight hours post-treatment.
The Jessner solution essentially deconstructs the top-most layer of the skin and, in turn, triggers an inflammatory response from the skin layers below. Ultimately, since the skin has a natural tendency to heal itself, this leads to the removal of brown spots and the improvement of minor hyper-pigmentation, scarring, wrinkles, and elasticity.
The process is simple. After skin hydration, a layer of the chemical peel solution is applied and spread around the skin using gauze. Typically, two to three layers of the peeling solution are applied, followed by a corrective agent on top, which can include things like retinol, vitamins, hyaluronic acid, or peptides.
After a Jessner peel, patients should avoid applying any products to the area for six to eight hours. Sweating should also be avoided for the first twenty-four hours. During this time, only washing, hydrating, and applying sunscreen are allowed. Around day three, the skin will tighten and start to peel, and patients will need to add hydration-promoting products into their regimen. Peeling is usually complete by the fifth day.
TCA peels. Trichloroacetic (TCA) peels are a type of chemical peel used to treat a wide range of skin concerns, including sun damage, signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. TCA peels offer significant improvements to the skin’s appearance and are most often performed at medium strengths, which require some downtime.
TCA breaks up keratin, a protein found in the skin. As the layers of damaged skin are removed, healthier, smoother skin is revealed beneath. TCA peels offer many noticeable improvements to the skin, including a reduction in the appearance of scars, signs of aging, and sun damage.
TCA peels are an effective treatment for acne scarring, and dermatologists agree that TCA peels are a great way to reduce sun damage. They remove brown spots and improve skin texture and tone. They have proven especially effective at increasing skin elasticity and hydration, two major signs of healthy, undamaged skin.
After a TCA peel, the skin will be red and swollen for several days. This will then transition into darkening, crusting, and peeling of the skin. The skin will take seven to fourteen days to heal, but redness can persist longer.
Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
With the wonders of modern medicine, chemistry, and technology, it’s now possible to address signs of aging before they even start. The look of smooth, hydrated skin does wonders to contribute to a youthful appearance. The top Sterling Heights dermatologists can evaluate each patient’s skin and recommend the best treatment plan to treat brown spots and uneven skin tone. Peel away the signs of aging. A brighter, younger-looking future awaits!