Sunday, February 23, 2014

What makes the skin produce more melanin and why

We often get this question: "How long does it take to get rid of my brown spots?" And we always have to answer that it depends on  case to case basis. We all have skin but we all take care of it differently and sun exposure affects us differently. Some have just a honey color freckles and some deep brown spots and larger areas that have been there for many years. It will take a different time and sometimes different efforts for both individuals to achieve success in pursuit of beautiful even skin again. So why are we affected differently and what are the causes of hyperpigmentation?

There are several causes tor hyperpigmentation:

* Sun damage from excessive and cumulative sun exposure

* Hormonal imbalances and pregnancy

* Genetic skin coloring and race

* Injuries and inflammation

* Certain types of disease

* Side effects of some medications

Probably the biggest factor in hyperpigmentation is chronic and cumulative sun exposure. Hyperpigmentation is a definite symptom of sun damage or dermatoheliosis, the dermatological term for skin that has suffered damage from cumulative and excessive sun exposure.

Various stages of hyperpigmentation

One of the most frequent signs of sun damage to appear is uneven skin coloring, primarily seen on the face, neck, chest and shoulders. Sun-related, dark, splotchy hyperpigmentation can affect not only the face but also the body. It can be present in any areas of the skin that have been repeatedly exposed to the sun over the years. On the body, it usually shows up first on the hands and arms.

Uneven pigment or solar mottling is often the first symptom of cumulative sun damage to appear. This can occur as early as the late teens or early 20s, but it usually appears in the late 20s or early 30s. In older skin, the skin can become mottled and almost leather-colored. This looks even worse when it is accompanied by sun induced wrinkles and rough skin texture.

Hormonal imbalances
Many pigmentation problems are related to hormone fluctuations and disorders, and because of that females are much more likely to have problems with hyperpigmentation. Males can certainly also have problems with hyperpigmentation, but these are primarily related to sun exposure and sun damage.

The second most frequent reason for hyperpigmentation is an imbalance of hormones that signal the melanocytes to produce more pigment. This is a common problem for women using birth control pills or other forms of hormonal therapies, and some pregnant women. Hyperpigmentation associated with hormonal influence is known as melasma. Sun exposure may make the symptoms of melasma worse, and it may be worse in women who already have significant sun damage before having hormonal imbalances. Pregnancy mask is another term for melasma, but specifically melasma that occurs in the pattern of a mask affecting the forehead, cheeks, chin, and upper lip. This pattern can be strong and distinctive or occur in only certain of these facial areas. It has been estimated that about 70% of all pregnant women have some form of melasma during pregnancy, but hormonal imbalances can cause pregnancy mask or melasma in women who are not pregnant. Rarely, it also occurs in men.

Genetic skin coloring and race
Hyperpigmentation can be hereditary. Just as skin color is genetic, tendencies for hyperpigmentation can also have a genetic connection. Dark skin types (Fitzpatrick types IV-VI) are much more likely to have problems with hyperpigmentation. This includes black skin, Asian skin, dark Hispanic skin and Middle Eastern skin tones.

Injuries and inflammation
Many skin types tend to have hyperpigmentation after a pimple, a scrape, or minor injury. This is known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, also known as PIH. The inflammation that has occurred in the area of the pimple or injury has triggered melanin production as an immune response. In many cases, PIH fades over time as the epidermal cells are replaced. Unfortunately, acne often tends to be chronic and may produce chronic PIH in the area of breakouts. PIH in acne-prone skin occurs frequently in skin of color.

Certain types of disease
Lack of pigment in the skin is called hypopigmentation. There are several causes for hypopigmentation:

Sun damage or dermatoheliosis can cause absence of pigment from damage to the melanocytes. This is usually mixed in with splotchy hyperpigmentation, so it appears as a small area of light skin within a speckled area of various shades of hyperpigmentation. This occurs primarily in persons who have had excessive and frequent exposure to the sun.

Tinea versicolor is a fungus that causes white spots on usually tanned skin. These light splotches are frequently seen on the backs and chests (and sometimes faces) of surfers and frequents beach-goers. The fungus inhibits the production of melanin in the areas that it is present.

Vitiligo is a chronic condition, believed by some medical scientists to be an autoimmune disease, in which the skin loses the ability to make pigment. Vitiligo may also be genetic. The disease varies in effects. Some people have small areas of pigment loss, and others have widespread loss, to the point of an entire area of the body being a lighter color due to complete pigment loss.

It can be obvious in persons of color, and sometimes depigmentation— destroying pigment in the surrounding areas with the use of depigmenting drugs may be used to even out the color.

How to deal with Hyperpigmentation? See next post.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Snail facials" use slime for anti-aging skin care. New discovery or desperate pursuit of youth?

The latest beauty craze may feel slimier than your typical facial at a spa.
A Tokyo spa has launched a "snail facial" clinic, in which a therapist places the mollusks on clients' faces, leaving trails of mucus slime.

Snails crawls on the face of a woman for the demonstration of a new beauty treatment at the beauty salon 'Ci:z.Labo' in Tokyo.
 The slime reportedly contain "proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, which help skin retain moisture, reduce inflammation and remove dead skin," according to the paper.
For about $245, a visitor to the Ci:z.Labo Clinical Salon in the Ebisu district of Tokyo can get the treatment.
One brave Telegraph reporter even tried the facial herself.
"I am relieved to feel Manami san skillfully monitoring their positions, instantly lifting them off my skin with a little tug to defy the suction whenever they go anywhere near my mouth, nostrils or eyes," she described.

The snails at the spa are fed an all-organic diet of carrots, Japanese mustard spinach, and Swiss chard, according to a Wall Street Journal reporter who also tried the treatment.

Could snails actually have an effect on your skin?
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, told the National Post that "there are no respected scientific studies to prove that it actually works."
There are safer beauty options out there than snails, added Dr. Jennifer L. Walden, a Texas-based plastic surgeon who specializes in skin care and anti-aging, to

"Snails have had medicinal uses historically in the past, but I would be wary to use live snails directly on the face for treatment since they carry the risk of harboring parasites that can cause organ damage, meningitis, and other problems," she told in an email.

Specifically, snails can carry parasitic worms that cause the disease schistosomiasis, Walden points out. The disease can cause health problems like abdominal pains or bloody stools that can persist for years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If snails are not your thing for $245 a pop, there are safer, more purified skin treatments as alternatives on the market today that contain hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and other well documented and respected anti aging substances.

 May we suggest
LaNouvel Cellular Hyaluronic acid Nutri Serum with Collagen / Elastin, Peptides, Dragon's Blood & Resveratrol
Hyaluronic Acid makes up fifty percent of this high quality formulation. Holding up to 1000 times its weight in water and drawing moisture out of the environment and onto the surface of your skin, there is not a more effective moisturizing agent on the world market today. Non-comedogenic, penetrates deeply, and activates collagen production for a fresher, younger, firmer, brighter complexion. Loaded with potent antioxidants, peptides, amino acids and free radical defenders, this miracle serum will give you the boost, lift and smoother, happier and truly vibrant skin. And let's let snails roam free in their natural habitat.