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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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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Does Licorice Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Does Licorice Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Grown mainly in southern Europe and China, “licorice” means “sweet root.” This perennial plant grows up to five feet tall with a vertical root. Licorice is not difficult to grow, but it takes several years before the roots can be collected. The main ingredient in licorice is actually a sweetener which is many times sweeter than sugar.

Licorice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about scar treatment, but in fact, licorice is excellent for lightening hyperpigmentation, melasma, and dark scars and evening out skin tone. Licorice has natural properties that allow it to reduce dark spots and diminish the appearance of scars, and it has the added benefit of being a natural ingredient that carries none of the health risks of chemicals such as hydroquinone.

Licorice is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to harmonize ingredients in herbal formulas. Scars, uneven skin tone, and dark spots caused by acne or sun exposure can all be greatly improved by using a product that contains licorice extract. Licorice extract is a highly effective, safe, and natural ingredient which may prevent the need to resort to more drastic measures such as laser skin resurfacing.

Licorice contains several components which have positive skin effects. Due to its makeup, licorice is effective at skin brightening and lightening, improving acne, and oil production regulation, as well as having antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This versatile extract is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent.

Licorice extract works to fade hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin activity, thereby producing whitening of the skin. However, skin whitening is just one of licorice’s beneficial properties. It has also been found to have sunscreen-type properties that help protect against harmful UV rays and reduce skin sensitivity. This keeps skin looking younger and helps minimize or prevent hyperpigmentation or scar worsening. Licorice is also safe for sensitive areas because it is a natural, gentle ingredient.

Another condition for which licorice extract can be used is melasma, which causes patches of dark pigmentation on the face. This discoloration is typically seen in pregnant women or in women who have recently given birth; it can also be caused by certain drugs such as hormonal contraception, some antibiotics, or even anti-malarial drugs. Melasma may be transient or it may persist for years – but licorice is an effective remedy.

It is important to understand that most scars cannot be erased completely by any means – most scars are permanent. However, certain products have been shown to have dramatic lightening and minimizing effects on scars, and licorice is one of those ingredients. When applied topically, is has proven skin brightening effects, lightens dark pigmentation, and can reduce the visibility of scars dramatically. When used in combination with other proven ingredients, such as dimethicone silicone, licorice can make a huge difference in how your scar looks and how you feel about your appearance. And given the fact that it is completely natural and safe, this is one remedy you’ll definitely want to try.

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

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What is Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

What is Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is a type of condition that happens when the melanocytes, which produce pigment, create an abundance of melanin. Dark spots that are black or brown in color will begin to develop where lesions from acne once were. Anyone who has this condition will likely be very disturbed and frustrated.

The condition of Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is not just something that only people with acne can contract. It can also result from certain medications, allergies, certain types of skin infections, burns, and some diseases of the skin. People who have acne can contract this condition through reactions from some medications to treat acne.

Read: Does Lemon Juice Fade Acne Scars?

One of the most common acne treatments is known as benzoyl peroxide. It can cause skin irritations that can move to pigmented areas of the skin. Statistics show that one in 20 people experience sensitivity to benzoyl peroxide. This sensitivity can result in further skin irritations developing and leading to Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. This is especially true in those that are dark skinned.

Today many doctors prescribe retinoids for the treatment of acne in patients. Some people will experience moderate to severe skin irritation with this product use. This can predispose those patients to Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Because people with high pigment in their skin are at such a risk, many doctors will not even consider prescribing retinoids for those patients. In some cases, retinoids can be used to treat pigmentation inflammatory cases, but not very often.

When retinoids are the cause of pigmentation issues, they may go away when they are stopped. In cases of hyperpigmentation that is a result of acne treatments, this is not necessarily the case. In any case, the first step is to immediately stop whatever type of treatment is causing said irritation. Secondly, begin wearing a high SPF sunscreen to protect the skin from further damage from the harsh rays of the sun. Hyperpigmented skin has two enemies: ultraviolet light and irritation.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Some physicians may recommend a treatment with hydroquinone, which is a topical cream that can lighten the pigmentation by a reduction in pigment production. However, hydroquinone does not come without additional problems or issues. In some animal studies it has been known to increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Some patients have reported that after long-term use they have experienced darkening of the skin instead of lightening. The preservatives in hydroquinone cause some people to have allergic reactions. It is advised that if you are a user of hydroquinone, it is best to apply a very small amount to the area that is pigmented only.

To hide pigmented areas until they can lighten, it is recommended that a good concealer be used.  The lightening could take up to a year. Some other treatments for Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation would be glycolic acid and chemical peels. Before any treatments are implemented it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist. This way you can be advised on the appropriate treatment for any condition.

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