This is a continuation of a previous post.
Sun protection is another key to preventing and treating hyperpigmentation. Use a mineral sunscreen with an spf 30. The mineral sunscreen should contain both zinc oxide (protects against UVAs) and titanium dioxide (protects against UVBs) to provide broad spectrum protection. When using mineral sunscreens and not exposed to water or the elements, one application will last you all day.
Chemical sunscreens have a number of issues. They are inflammatory and carcinogenenic, which increases hyperpigmentation. They are also unstable. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin or evaporate, which is why they need to be reapplied every 2 hours. This also why you can get burned even with a very high spf. To make sure your sunscreen is chemical-free check the “active ingredients.” It should only say zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
There are a variety of procedures that treat hyperpigmentation. These can be done in a series or alternated.
- Cosmetic Acupuncture – This includes face and body acupuncture along with moxa, gua sha, and internal and topical herbs in some cases. Cosmetic acupuncture focuses on resolving the internal cause of hyperpigmentation. For faster results it is often paired with one of the following topical treatments.
- Ultrasound – Ultrasonic waves break up melanin clusters deep in the epidermal and dermal layers and facilitate their excretion by the lymphatic system. This is a non-abrasive treatment, there is no discomfort or down-time, and there are added benefits of plumping and firming of the skin.
- Endermolift – A mechanized lymphatic drainage treatment that facilitates the excretion of excess melanin by the lymphatic system. It also increases the microcirculation. Endermolift is a relaxing treatment, is non-abrasive, there is no down-time, and there are added benefits of plumping and firming of the skin.
- Microdermabrasion – A classic treatment to exfoliate dead skin cells and promote faster cell turnover. Microderm utilizes crystals and is like gently sandblasting the skin. At Cinnabar, we use sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) crystals which are non-toxic and can be safely used around the mouth, eyes, and nose. Microderm feels scratchy, like a cat is licking your face. There is no down-time, however treatments should be spaced 2-8 weeks apart depending on your skin type and spf 30 should be worn at all times. Exfoliation is best used sparingly, like a detox.
- Peels – There are many types of peels (salicylic, lactic, retinol, Vit C, etc.) that come in various concentrations. Light peels can be added to other treatments and have no down-time. Heavier peels that go deep into the epidermis will have some down-time (2-7 days). Peels that go down to the dermis must be performed under supervision by a physician and require significant down-time (up to a month). There is greater risk of scarring and pre-aging the skin with frequent peels or peels that go to deeply. Lighter peels can be spaced similarly to microderm, every 2-8 weeks depending on your skin type.