Do These Skin Lighteners Work?

Do These Skin Lighteners Work?

Many people try to find the perfect skin lightener to help fade unsightly scars, but are faced with a dilemma as they try to determine which products on the market actually work. Additionally, you have to be careful about using some of the products out there that are slightly effective, yet dangerous. Before you choose a scar treatment to reduce the look of your scars or dark spots, you should know more about the different ingredients. Some of the most common treatments for skin lightening, include lemon juice, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and vitamin C.

Lemon Juice on Acne Scars

Lemons are truly a versatile citrus fruit, with a variety of health, beauty and home cleaning uses. Lemons contain vitamin C, limonene, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), hesperidin, quercetin, naringenin, and other phytonutrients that are beneficial to skin health. Many studies have found beneficial uses of lemons, if consumed, such as aiding to reduce acne. However, lemon juice directly on your skin can cause photosensitivity, and since UV rays can darken your scar, it is not advisable to do so.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone has become a popular skin lightening cream, and is a popular ingredient in scar treatment products. Hydroquinone inhibits melatonin, which is the protein that provides your skin color, so it does lighten the skin. However, it can be toxic in high concentrations, including having carcinogenic properties and contains mercury. It has also been associated with ochronosis, a disfiguring skin condition that darkens the skin. It can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can increase your risk of sunburn. It is common to have allergic reactions to the chemical and due to this, some countries have banned hydroquinone. It is best to not use hydroquinone and rely upon other treatments to help heal your skin.

Read: The Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid comes from Japanese mushrooms and is also a byproduct of the fermentation process that produces sake. It can lighten skin, but it does not help diminish other aspects of scars. It can be dangerous to use because it can cause heightened skin sensitivity, cause hormone disruption, and lead to allergic reactions. It also can increase the risk of sun damage because it weakens the natural defenses against UV rays. Therefore, it is best to avoid kojic acid.

Read: Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and important vitamin that promotes the body’s natural healing processes. Many people know to take vitamin C when fighting a cold or the flu, but it can also help your skin heal from injury and trauma, including reducing scars. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C fight the free radicals that cause cellular damage to the skin, which includes to the melatonin that affects your skin color. Therefore, it can help to lighten the skin and fade scars, especially when using a scar treatment that has a stable form of Vitamin C. It goes beyond just lightening the skin; it also promotes healthy collagen production, which can reduce the size and appearance of scars and keep your skin healthy.

When choosing a scar or skin lightening treatment, you should avoid the harsh skin lighteners such as kojic acid and hydroquinone, and stick with products that have licorice root and especially vitamin C.

Do you have a question about your scars or dark spots? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Does Self Tanner Darken Scars?

Does Self Tanner Darken Scars?

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes a host of new concerns regarding the health and beauty of our skin. Self-tanner is an incredible option for those who want a beautiful, sun-kissed glow without actually having to bake in the sun and absorb its harmful rays . However, both experienced and new users of self-tanner are likely to have a host of questions regarding this type of product, especially when it comes to the effects that it will (or won’t) have on their scars.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer when it comes to whether or not self-tanner can darken your scars. On the whole, scars tend to be unpredictable when it comes to self-tanning products, as scar tissue is different from normal tissue. In some cases, scars may darken along with the rest of your skin. In other cases, the darkening effect will be less than that of surrounding skin. And, in some cases, self-tanner may have no effect on scars whatsoever.

There are two ways to predict how self-tanner will react with your scars. The type of scars that you have will play a big role in whether or not self-tanners will darken them, as well as the level of DHA in the self-tanner.  Acne scars, especially in cases of scars with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, is one example in which self-tanning treatments can make the scars more noticeable. It’s therefore advised that if you choose to use self-tanner, you may want to keep it away from the face, where acne scarring and hyperpigmentation may be more prominent.

Small surface scars will usually darken along with the rest of your skin, though they may still be noticeable afterwards. Self-tanner may have virtually no effect on keloid scars. Their effect on stretch marks and other similar types of scars is often negligible. However, with any types of scarring it is important to point out that self-tanner is likely to have the most effect on older scars.

It’s a good idea to use a small amount of self-tanner to test an area of skin with scars in order to determine the effect that it will have before you put it on all over. Self-tanner lotions are generally preferred on scarred skin because it gives you a greater amount of control over where the tanner goes.

So long as you’ve prepared you’ve test patched a small area of your scar(s) in advance and taken steps to ensure you know what the end result of using self-tanner on your scars will be, you can have a healthy and beautiful summer glow. Just remember that even with a “fake” tan from self-tanner, you should always use broad spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage, whether you’re spending the day at the beach or the afternoon in your garden. Self-tanner will not protect you from sun damage, a sunburn or further permanently darkening your scar. And just remember, regular tanning is not an option when it comes to scars.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Kojic acid is a substance produced by certain Japanese mushrooms. It is also a by-product of the fermentation process utilized in making sake (Japanese rice wine.) It is often found in scar therapies thanks to its ability to lighten skin, including dark scars and other dark spots. However, kojic acid is a potentially dangerous ingredient and individuals considering a scar therapy cream containing kojic acid should learn more about its dangers before deciding to use it.

The short answer to the question, “Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?” is yes – but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Like hydroquinone, kojic acid can lighten dark scars and spots and even improve melasma (a skin discoloration associated with pregnancy and oral contraceptive use), but its effectiveness is limited to the dark pigment of scars and it does not address other scar needs such as flattening, softening, or reducing in any way other than lightening. In addition, studies suggest some potentially serious health effects.

Heightened Skin Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions: Skin Deep, a database of thousands of cosmetics and their safety profiles, cites kojic acid as moderately to highly hazardous as a cosmetic ingredient, pointing to concerns such as allergies, increased skin sensitivity, and possible hormone disruption. Skin sensitization is a problem because it can result in allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis can cause bumps or a rash, pain, itching, blisters, and dry patches of skin. Its symptoms may mimic those of contact with poison ivy.

Increased Risk of Sun Damage: Kojic acid may also make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage. That’s because it can weaken your skin’s natural defense against harmful UV rays by reducing the amount of melanin present.

Lack of Research: Another problem with kojic acid is the lack of substantial research done to confirm its safety. Some studies suggest a possible link to cell mutation and tumor formation in mammals. Animal studies show kidney, liver, cardiovascular, respiratory, and other side effects, and extensive enough research has not been done to prove its safety for humans.

Because of these concerns, kojic acid is best avoided in scar therapies and other cosmetics. Fortunately, there is no need to trade value for safety. Look for a scar therapy that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, such as:

Dimethicone Silicone: Promotes hydration and improves the appearance of the scar, including color and size.

Vitamin C: Normalizes collagen and lightens the scar.

ProBiosyn-4: Restores the lipid biolayer, improving hydration and skin elasticity and reducing scar visibility.

Besides kojic acid, other ingredients you should avoid in your scar therapy because they are unsafe or ineffective include hydroquinone, vitamin E, preservatives (including parabens), and fragrances. Also beware of ingredients that, while not necessarily unsafe, may have no scar healing benefits at all, such as petroleum jelly and onion extract.

Along with your scar therapy, be sure to avoid smoking, get plenty of exercise, and consume fruits, vegetables, protein, and other healthy foods for optimal scar healing.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is one option may people explore when they want to improve the appearance of wrinkles, lines, blotches, or scars caused by acne, too much sun exposure, aging, or other skin damage. Laser skin resurfacing works by removing layers of skin, thereby encouraging the growth of new skin cells and resulting in younger-looking, tighter, and smoother skin. This may be the only procedure done, or it may be done at the same time as other cosmetic procedures.

Specific areas of the skin can be targeted with laser skin resurfacing, such as laugh lines, smoker’s lines, crow’s feet, acne scars, or frown furrows, or the entire face may be treated for the most dramatic results. The procedure is also used in some cases to remove warts, pre-cancerous lesions, benign tumors, and certain skin cancers.

It’s important to understand that this procedure works by first creating a wound, and the skin’s natural healing processes work to form new, fresher-looking skin. During healing, this wound must be cared for like any other wound to ensure the best results.

ReadWhat Affects Wound Healing?

If you think laser skin resurfacing may be right for you, the first step is to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options. If it is determined that you are a good candidate, there are several things you can do right off the bat to ensure that you get the results you want.

First, make sure to follow your doctor’s pre-procedure instructions. He or she will probably counsel you to avoid taking things like ibuprofen and vitamin E, which can affect clotting. You should also avoid smoking, which delays the healing process and exacerbates scarring. In addition, your doctor will probably want you to take an antibiotic, which is important in preventing infection – another factor that affects scarring and final results.

Laser skin resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will not have an overnight hospital stay. You may receive local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the area being treated and your and your doctor’s preferences.

After the procedure some patients need light dressings, but most are just instructed to use topical hydrating ointments instead of true bandages. Generally, after the first day, you will be instructed to clean the treated areas several times a day and apply an ointment to prevent scabs, which worsen scarring. Moisture is an important part of the healing process.

To maximize your results, stay out of the sun or, at a minimum, use sunscreen every time you go outside. A scar treatment can also minimize your risk of developing lasting scars from the procedure and improve your overall result. Choose one that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, and avoid those that contain questionable ingredients such as hydroquinone.

The skin may take up to three weeks to heal. The skin will typically have a pink appearance that may last for several weeks. This can be easily covered with makeup, but be sure to apply your scar treatment before your makeup, as it does its best work when applied directly to your skin. Swelling is normal and using an extra pillow or two at night to sleep in a more upright position can help.

Laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective procedure and many people who choose it are thrilled with the results. Combine it with an effective scar therapy and impeccable adherence to your doctor’s instructions for younger, smoother, more beautiful skin.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Hydroquinone has made quite a name for itself around the world in skin lightening creams and scar treatment products. What many people may not realize is that hydroquinone is a harsh chemical that exposes you to many dangers.

Hydroquinone is a chemical that inhibits melanin, which is what gives your skin its color. Areas of the skin that have become darker than the surrounding skin – from sun exposure, freckles, acne, or melasma, for example – are often treated with products containing hydroquinone by well-intentioned and hopeful people. Unfortunately, hydroquinone is associated with many health risks, and many people end up disappointed with its results, or worse.

Toxicity
One major problem is that hydroquinone is known to be quite toxic in high concentrations. It is believed by experts to have carcinogenic properties, and it is known to contain mercury, which can cause liver damage as well as other health problems. Other side effects of hydroquinone can include nausea, ringing of the ears, cyanosis, and seizures.

Ochronosis
Ochronosis, a disfiguring skin condition characterized by thickening and discoloration, is believed to be caused by hydroquinone use in some cases, and the chemical has also been implicated in cases of increased pigmentation. That means that using hydroquinone could very well yield the opposite of the effect you are hoping for – darkening and worsening of your scar or dark spot rather than lightening and fading. The highest risk of ochronosis is found in people with darker skin tones.

Photosensitivity
Hydroquinone can also cause increased photosensitivity, meaning that it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Using hydroquinone on skin that is already sunburned or otherwise irritated can worsen the condition; also, prolonged sun exposure while using hydroquinone can result in severe sunburn. Besides the pain and health risks associated with sunburn, it can also worsen the appearance of scars, sometimes permanently.

Allergic Reactions
Many people who use hydroquinone also have allergic reactions to the chemical. Severe burning, stinging, tingling sensations, hives, trouble with breathing, and throat and mouth swelling have all been reported by hydroquinone users. The appearance of any of these symptoms when using hydroquinone should be considered a medical emergency and evaluated by a doctor at once.

Some countries have banned hydroquinone altogether, citing worries over its safety. Even in the United States, where it is currently legal at limited concentrations, the FDA admits that it cannot be ruled out as a carcinogen and is considering a ban on hydroquinone in over-the-counter preparations because of the safety concerns. Because of all of the health risks of using hydroquinone, in addition to the fact that it may actually worsen, rather than improve, your skin condition, hydroquinone is not recommended for use on scars or dark spots. Instead, choose products containing ingredients that are known to be both safe and effective, such as dimethicone silicone to improve the appearance of your scar, and licorice extract and Vitamin C to fade the dark coloring. Also incorporate healthy and natural lifestyle changes that help your skin heal and your scars fade, such as eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.

Do you have a question about your scars? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.

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