B A N I S H B R OW N S P O T S N OW Ready to kiss the spots on your face, chest, and hands good­bye? Emily Dud­ding un­cov­ers the best treat­ments.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty Bazaar -

Ididn’t mind the freck­les that dap­pled my cheeks as a kid. Even as the decades passed, I never gave them much thought. Un­til one day, my well-mean­ing der­ma­tol­o­gist cupped my face in his hands and diplo­mat­i­cally asked, “Do you want to do some­thing about your age spots?” The change in nomen­cla­ture changed, well, ev­ery­thing. “Yes!” I an­swered. “Get rid of them. Now!” I’m not alone. There’s a grow­ing aware­ness that a mot­tled com­plex­ion can be more age­ing than wrin­kles. Many of us who baked in the sun when we were younger are pay­ing the price. And, adds Josanna Gaither, di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion and aes­thet­ics at Natura Bissé, “The trend to­ward more nat­u­ral make-up and a flaw­less look means that ev­ery­one wants to even out their pig­men­ta­tion prob­lems.” Luck­ily, new break­through prod­ucts and of­fice pro­ce­dures can not only fade spots but ac­tu­ally help pre­vent them from form­ing.

Brown spots, which are caused by ex­cess melanin, can be the re­sult of sun ex­po­sure, age­ing, ge­net­ics, and even pol­lu­tion. “The sun stim­u­lates melanocyte cells to pro­duce more pig­ment, which then gets trans­ferred to skin cells,” says Robert Ano­lik, a New York der­ma­tol­o­gist. Un­til re­cently, hy­dro­quinone, a strong bleach­ing agent, was among the most fre­quently rec­om­mended treat­ments. “It’s ef­fec­tive be­cause it can phys­i­cally break apart the melanin,” says cos­metic chemist Ni’Kita Wil­son. Overuse of hy­dro­quinone, though, can kill melanocytes and cause per­ma­nently dis­coloured skin. While it’s avail­able in the US and greater parts of the world, it has been banned in Europe. “It’s crit­i­cal to use hy­dro­quinone only un­der a doc­tor’s su­per­vi­sion,” Wil­son warns.

Re­cent al­ter­na­tives are less po­ten­tially harm­ful and have mul­ti­task­ing prop­er­ties. “The new­est prod­ucts con­tain in­gre­di­ents that treat ex­ist­ing spots while also halt­ing ty­rosi­nase, an en­zyme that con­trols melanin pro­duc­tion,” says Wil­son. She sug­gests prod­ucts with vi­ta­min C for bright­en­ing, ar­butin and pep­tides to in­hibit ty­rosi­nase, and per­oxy acid to break up ex­ist­ing melanin.

Der­ma­log­ica’s Pow­erBright TRx sys­tem – C-12 Pure Bright serum, Pure Light SPF50 mois­turiser, and Pure Night treat­ment cream – con­tains pep­tides and vi­ta­min C. “The pep­tides are like cell whis­per­ers,” says An­net King, di­rec­tor of global ed­u­ca­tion for Der­ma­log­ica. “They tell melanocytes to slow the hell down.” Other good picks: La Prairie White Caviar Il­lu­mi­nat­ing Mois­tur­iz­ing Cream, L’Oréal Paris Re­vi­taLift Triple Power SPF 30 Day Lo­tion, Lancôme Ab­solue White Aura, Clar­ins White Plus Tri-In­ten­sive Bright­en­ing Serum, and Clin­ique Even Bet­ter Clin­i­cal Dark Spot Cor­rec­tor, which em­ploys a rare botan­i­cal from Korea, Daniella en­si­fo­lia, that in­hibits its ty­rosi­nase. “The re­sults are equiv­a­lent to 4 per­cent hy­dro­quinone with­out the ir­ri­ta­tion,” says Janet Pardo, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of prod­uct devel­op­ment world­wide for Clin­ique. “You’ll see im­proved clar­ity in one to two weeks and a real dif­fer­ence in a month.”

For more in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, con­sider a trip to the derm. “The best way to get rid of sun spots is with lasers,” says Ano­lik, who uses a rapid-pulse Q-switched ruby laser to treat in­di­vid­ual spots. The pro­ce­dure re­quires no anaes­the­sia, and typ­i­cally a scab will form on the treated area and fall off in about a week. For more stub­born splotches, Ano­lik uses the re­cently FDA-cleared Pi­coWay laser, which he of­ten com­bines with Fraxel Dual or Clear + Bril­liant lasers. “The ex­fo­li­a­tion can help re­lease much of the brown pig­ment and brighten over­all tone,” he says. Clear + Bril­liant is a lunchtime pro­ce­dure, but Pi­coWay and Fraxel have longer down­times, with red­ness and peel­ing last­ing for up to a week.

In Malaysia, The Sloane Clinic’s Dr. Wong Jinly is your best bet. Based on her di­ag­no­sis, clients can opt for the Divine Whiten­ing Pro­gram, which uses a pig­ment laser to get rid of blotches and un­even skin tones, or take on the Bright­en­ing Pro­gram that gets you glow­ing with IPL Photo­fa­cials, which are great for freck­les. For stub­born spots, the Bril­liant Skin Pro­gram uses Fraxel Light, an ad­vanced trans­for­ma­tive mi­cro­laser peel, to rid dead skin cells on the sur­faces and long-stand­ing pig­men­ta­tions.

For ul­ti­mate re­sults, New York der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr. Ger­vaise Ger­st­ner takes a 360-de­gree view, com­bin­ing in-of­fice lasers with at-home treat­ments such as Sk­inMed­ica Lytera Skin Bright­en­ing Com­plex, a lo­tion with vi­ta­min C, pep­tides, niaci­namide, and retinol, along with her cus­tom Bright­en­ing Pads at night to speed up the skin-light­en­ing process. But, she warns, “Melanocytes are smart! If you go back out in the sun, the spots will reemerge.” Sun­block, any­one?

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