Archives for category: Belavi

Celebrities everywhere seem to have the flawless, gorgeous skin we are all looking for. How is this possible? There are many reasons but first and foremost it is important to remember that celebrities are not immune to the same skin concerns that frustrate the rest of us. In fact, they may be more irritating since celebrities are under scrutiny 24/7 and the slightest flaw is brought to everyone’s attention.

So what is the magic potion they use to look so great? A large team of estheticians, dermatologists, personal trainers and a healthy amount of technology are all that’s needed. Anyone can look flawless when they have that kind of support.

But what about regular, every day people who don’t have the time and money to invest in a “beauty squad”? Is all hope lost?

Not at all. In fact, with a little determination and dedication, you can keep your skin looking more youthful and vibrant all the time.

How we treat our skin when we are young plays a major role in our appearance later on. Sad but true. Hours spent tanning or forgetting to moisturize daily when you are 20 can directly impact how your skin looks at 40. Although this impacts your whole body, facial skin is perhaps the most delicate because it is much thinner than the skin on your back, hands, legs or chest. Remember- just because you can’t see the damage right away doesn’t mean it’s not there.

If you have begun to notice small lines around your eyes or mouth, it is time to get serious about taking better care of your skin. Develop a daily skin care routine designed for mature skin and make sure to follow it every day.

Here are a few basic tips:

1)     Cleanse daily. Every morning, every night. If you do nothing else, do this. Your skin collects dirt, debris and bacteria. It is build up that clogs pores, leaves skin looking tired and creates other skin issues later on.

2)     Protect your skin: when you garden, drive, swim, whatever. Always wear a sunblock of at least SPF 30 and re-apply often. All too often we apply once and assume we are covered for an entire day. This is not so. Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours.

3)     Moisturize: Just as it is important to remove the bad from your skin, you should always maintain the good. Hydrated skin looks and feels better. Use a cosmeceutical grade moisturizer to penetrate the surface layer and really help your skin cells to build collagen and elastin.

There are simple tricks to looking your best like eating healthy, exercise and keeping a happy and stress free life. Believe it or not the health of your skin can be affected by everything you encounter! But just because you may have celebrated (or scorned) your last birthday because you turned 50, it doesn’t mean you have to act or look like your 50.

Learn more about anti-aging skin care at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

Why use a toner?

Out of all the skin care products on the market today, toners are a mystery to most people.  I think I hear, “why do I need to use a toner”, more than any other question.

Aside from giving your skin an opportunity to be relieved of further makeup and cellular debris, toners give our skin a pH balance.  Our skin should stay between 5 and 6 pH.  After cleansing, the pH balance gets disturbed and when this happens it has to work harder to regain its’ balance, which can also mean it will produce more oil.  Using a toner helps to restore the balance quickly.

Another side benefit of using a toner is to get the hard water residue off of the skin.  That white streak that you see on the side of a freshly washed glass that has just been rinsed is chlorine and hard minerals.  These hard minerals are left on your skin after you rinse off the cleanser products.  These minerals can dry your skin.

Removing oil with toner gives the skin an appearance of smaller pores and smaller pores makes skin look smoother and more youthful.  Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing.  This reduces the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. 

Some toners have humectant qualities, which mean that they help to bind moisture to the skin.  We recommend that if you don’t want to wash your face in the morning, use a toner to get the oil or dirt off of your skin.  Your skin will feel fresh, softened and revitalized.

Some toners include exfoliants, such as Bellanina’s Glycolic Toner 10% to aid in removing dead skin cells.  A glycolic toner will also work very well for men who have ingrown hairs and must deal with ‘bumpy’ skin.

We are happy to announce that our new BELLANINA BOTANICAL TONER with Ginseng & Aloe is now available to ship.  Our new toner is formulated with all natural plant extracts with no parabens. Unlike off the shelf skin care, our Bellanina ‘kit’ products use the freshest ingredients and are made in small batches insuring their freshness.  Some of the featured ingredients of the NEW Bellanina Botanical Toner are:

Panax Ginseng –         Tonic action; revitalizing

Roman Chamomile – Calming

German Chamomile – Soothing for problematic Skin; anti-inflammatory

Witch Hazel – Natural extract from leaves and bark with potent anti-oxidant and anti-irritant properties

Hyaluronic Acid – Superior hydrator

Panthenol – Pro-vitamin B5 is a panthenol is a humectant, emollient and moisturizer.

Organic Geranium essential oil – Antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-tumorial, anti-inflammatory & anti- fungal.  The aroma of geranium helps to lift the spirits.

Bellanina continues to strive to bring Bellanina Practitioners and loyal skin care customers new and innovative products that keep the skin healthy and vibrant.  We hope you try our new toner soon!

Visit us online at http://www.bellaninainstitute.com!

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and believe us when we say there is no more critical judge of your face than your set of eyes. Lines, wrinkles and puffiness can all contribute to signs of aging but perhaps the most frustrating problem to face is dark under eye circles. Sometimes referred to as “bags” because they can be accompanied by puffiness, this is something that affects men and women equally. Luckily there are steps you can take to banish the darkness and greet the day with eyes that look as great as you feel.

Before you can treat a problem you have to know the source. Late nights are often blamed for this occurrence but if that were the case a good night’s sleep should provide a simple cure. Anyone who has developed dark eyes knows that sometimes no matter how great your sleep was those bags still taunt you in the morning.

So what could be causing those dark shadows to develop?

Common sources of under eye circles include:

• Allergies
• Heredity
• Pigmentation Irregularities
• Nasal Congestion (there is a reason you don’t look so great when your sick)
• Thinning Skin (result of intrinsic or natural aging)
• Loss of Collagen and Elasticity (result of intrinsic or natural aging)
• Sun Exposure (result of extrinsic aging or aging influenced by the environment)
• Lifestyle Factors like smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine

Self Treatment versus Professional Care

Seeing a specialist such as a dermatologist can be an expensive choice when dealing with a problem like under eye circles. If you are worried there might be other factors contributing to your dark eyes consult with a physician but there are several at home treatments that you can try as well.

• Cold Compress – try placing a cold or cool compress against your eyes. This can reduce dilation and puffiness temporarily.
• Pillows – an extra pillow under your head at night can prevent fluid from pooling in the lower lids.
• Get More Rest – while it is true that a lack of sleep is not a direct cause of your dark eyes, less sleep can make your eyes appear more hallow and impact the overall look and feel of your skin. Catch some extra “z’s” to keep your skin looking fresh.
• Protect Your Skin – the environment and especially the sun can wreak havoc on your skin in the long run. Overexposure can lead to a myriad of health problems to cover up when possible (sunglasses are an inexpensive way to protect the fragile skin around your eyes) and use sun block, even in the Winter.
• Make Up – Although not all make up will cover those dark circles, try an oil free concealer to help minimize the appearance. This should be paired with a cold compress to reduce puffiness at the same time.
• Serums – There are several great serums available that utilize natural ingredients to minimize the appearance of dark circles. Try using one twice daily to see incredible results!

Don’t let dark circles ruin your day! Fight back against this premature sign of aging by taking control. Home remedies may take time to show full results (allow up to 12 weeks) but are worth the investment on the road to healthier, happier skin care.

Microdermabrasion may sound like a scary procedure to undergo but in actuality it may be a wonderful alternative for those seeking a facial rejuvenation without going under the knife. More commonly referred to as microderm, this procedure is a non invasive way to remove the uppermost layer of dead skin cells from the face, neck, back, shoulders or anywhere else on the body. Techniques may vary but most practitioners will utilize a mechanical mechanism (such as crystals or bristle tips) and a small vacuum to clean up the removed skin cells.
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Exfoliation is a natural process undergone by the skin and although it occurs throughout our entire life span, the rate slows down considerably once we reach our thirties. Dead skin cells need to be shed by the body in order for new, healthy cells to reach the surface. As this process slows sometimes dead skin cells will cling to the surface and prevent those new skin cells from taking their place. Over time this will begin to form fine lines and wrinkles as dead cells accumulate on the surface. Microdermabrasion removes this outermost layer of the epidermis to get rid of this build up, allowing new cells to surface and improving circulation at the same time.

There are many benefits to microdermabrasion that can make it an ideal alternative to more drastic cosmetic procedures. By removing dead skin cells your skin will appear smoother, more even in tone and feel healthier. Microdermabrasion can help minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars. After undergoing treatment, skin care products will be able to penetrate the surface much better and be more effective to help maintain healthy, glowing skin.

Although it is best to get your initial treatment done by a trained professional, you can keep the fresh feeling going with an at home skin care treatment plan. Consult with your esthetician for their recommendations for your skin type if you are unsure or have any other skin conditions you would like to address. The use of proper skin care products and a regular routine at home will help your skin feel smoother, more even in tone and looking younger for years to come. Try a microdermabrasion cream at home following your initial treatment to prevent future build up. Remember to follow all instructions carefully and discontinue use of any product you have a negative reaction to such as rash, swelling, itching or redness.

Microdermabrasion is one way to keep your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Your friends will be amazed at how fabulous you look after only one treatment and there is no need to go through a painful recovery period following your appointment. Look into your alternatives for skin care treatments and research local spa’s and estheticians in your area. You may be surprised at how easy it can be to beat the hands of time!

The eyes see everything but themselves unless you are looking in a mirror. Your eyes are the window to your emotions and communicate a magnitude of information to the world around you. Over the years the delicate skin surrounding your eyes can develop fine lines and wrinkles through the natural aging process. Keeping your eyes youthful is the key to making sure that when someone looks deep into your eyes they see wisdom, not age.

Not all eye formulations are the same and knowing how different products can benefit your skin will save you time and frustration during this process. We use the term process because a dedication to allowing your skin the time it needs to repair and rejuvenate will provide you with the results you are longing to see. Proper skin care is a lifelong commitment to yourself and the person you want to be.

Botanical eye and throat crèmes are a basic step that will tighten and tone the skin surrounding the eyes with no irritation. Thinner skin needs lighter lotions and moisturizers to avoid build up and most eye crèmes are designed to absorb easily into the tissue. This type of crème will hydrate the skin (dry skin leads to fine lines) and provide a smoother texture.

Alpha lipoic eye crèmes are a slightly more intensive treatment for fine lines and wrinkles that occur in the eye tissue. Alpha lipoic based crèmes will reduce puffiness, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help to diminish dark circles. Alpha lipoic acids are especially beneficial for mature skin care because they are an antioxidant and rejuvenate healthy cell production.

Bellanina Cosmeceutical Stem cell repair serum is made from a rare Swiss apple, Uttwiler Spatlauber, which is extremely rich in phytonutrients, proteins, and long-living stem cells. These qualities give the apple excellent storability, and therefore, great longevity potential. This serum is a liposomal preparation developed from these unique plant-based cells. Problem Epidermal stem cells replenish and maintain the balance of cells within the skin tissue and regenerate tissue damages during injury. But with age, the number of skin stem cells decreases and their ability to repair the skin becomes less efficient. This serum provides an anti-wrinkle effect on Crow’s feet. In studies, 100% of the test subjects showed a significant and visible decrease in wrinkle depth

Natural and organic eye treatments provide paraben-free alternatives. These products use all natural ingredients that can offer many health benefits such as reduction of puffiness, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, increasing circulation and dark eye reduction. Plant extracts offer a variety of very beneficial treatment options for people looking for dramatic, all natural skin care solutions.

Eye gels are typically used for intensive treatment around the eyes to repair damaged and aged skin. This includes fine lines, wrinkles, dryness and puffiness. Specialized treatments may focus on boosting elasticity or reducing the appearance of darkness or bags beneath the eyes. These products are available in both natural and botanical product lines.

Take a positive step forward in your skin care routine and search for specialized treatments for your eyes. Remember that your skin and its needs vary depending on which part of your body you are focusing on and not all moisturizers are the same. Seek out a consultation with an esthetician for more specialized information or skin care options.

Walking through an average cosmetic or health care aisle can be a wild adventure as well as an educational experience. The shelves are lined with mysterious concoctions, all claiming to be the miracle cure for your skin. These special brews come complete with fancy containers, shiny labels and seven syllable words to boggle your mind. Venture closer to these magic elixirs and notice the fine print:

Normal skin
Dry Skin
Oily Skin
Sensitive Skin
Combination

You feel your fingers moving up to your cheek as you wonder; what skin type am I? What if I have sensitive skin and just don’t know it? Does one dry patch mean I need dry skin care? Will products meant for oily skin completely ruin my face?

The list of questions can go on and on with no end in sight until you realize that you can come to this mysterious world armed with knowledge and ready to go to battle. Choose wisely and you will benefit greatly from your decision. Choose poorly and you will need to return and choose again.

Normal Skin

First of all remove “normal” and insert “average”. People with other skin types are not “abnormal” and should not feel as such. Millions of people have each skin type listed and there are products specially targeted for each type.

A product labeled “normal skin” is intended for use on healthy, hydrated, even toned skin with small pores and no history of irritation from skin care products. The skin retains good elasticity, good complexion and there are no blemishes.

Most “normal skin” targeted products can be used on all skin types but may not produced treatment effects for certain skin issues.

Oily Skin

Perhaps one of the more dreaded skin types to have because of the negative connotations associated with it and potential self consciousness it can create. The result of overactive sebaceous (oil-producing) glands, this skin type can appear quite shiny, feel slightly greasy to the touch and is prone to acne and enlarged pores.

Products targeted for this skin type typically contain ingredients meant to cleanse the pores, exfoliate the skin and remove the excess oil and grime build up. These products would not be very beneficial for people with dry skin.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can be the result of genetics, the environment, exposure to chemicals and a variety of other causes. Dry skin is trademarked by tiny pores, flaky or ashy texture, fine lines and wrinkles and/or cracked skin.

Products for dry skin focus on re-hydrating the skin cells and stimulating healthy skin cells to develop. Many products will contain fat-soluble ingredients that penetrate the skin’s outer layer to reach the interior layers to replenish moisture from within. Exfoliants are used to shed away dead skin cells build up and reduce flaky texture.

Combination

As the name suggests, this skin type is a combination of the three above. Meaning it is possible (and frequent) to have normal skin with an oily “t-zone” which is the bridge of the nose and forehead. Perhaps dry lips with normal skin or dry forehead but the rest of your face is normal.

This skin type generally uses spot specific treatments to correct problem areas and “normal skin” care products for the rest of the face. This could include blemish control for oily areas if needed, masques for application on the t-zone, special creams for the eyes or lips, etc. Consult with an esthetician or dermatologist if you need more help creating an effective skin care routine.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is very typically dry and very reactive to heat, cold and any substances used on it. That can include all skin products, hair products and chemicals. Irritation may include rash, hives, itching, redness and swelling.

These skin care products are specially designed to omit using chemicals known to irritate sensitive skin but cannot be guaranteed. People with especially reactive skin should always consult with a doctor before beginning any new skin care treatment. Discontinue use of products at the first sign of negative reaction and take precaution by always wearing sun block to protect the sensitive tissue.

Final Thoughts

Have you figured out where you’re at yet and what to buy? Don’t be ashamed if you don’t have “normal skin” because the truth of the matter is, most people don’t. Focus on what problem areas you would like to focus on and choose a skin care routine that will be easy to maintain long term. The most important issue in skin care is persistence and maintenance. You must follow your individual plan every day and stick with it for your entire life. That is not meant to sound like a prison sentence, merely a reminder that skin care is not something you can do occasionally and expect to see real results.

Winter is coming and that means falling snow, holidays, sled rides and…..dry skin. Every winter thousands of people dread the appearance or worsening of their dry skin symptoms and seek new ways to beat this powerful foe. This year, take control of your skin and don’t let itchy and flaky skin put a damper on your winter wonderland.

Dry or itchy skin is a common condition that can occur all year round but peaks during the colder months when there is a drop in the humidity. Normally healthy and hydrated skin becomes dry, cracked and flaky. Mature skin may show increased fine lines and wrinkles due to the lack of moisture. For the most part, dry skin effects the arms, hands, legs and feet but can also occur on the trunk of the body or even the face (chapped lips anyone?).

The most common complaint when suffering from “winter skin” is a persistent itchiness that can be made worse when in contact with fabrics or liquids. Over time excessive cracking can and will lead to thick and rough patches of skin (called lichenification). This thicker skin not only develops lines and wrinkles but is prone to developing painful cracks (fissures) that may result in bleeding and irritated skin. Severe skin conditions can result from bacterial infections that can develop because of these and other conditions such as nummular eczema (red, scaly patches of skin) or dermatitis (inflamed skin).

The potential outcomes of winter skin are enough to take notice and take action before things get out of hand. Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that is especially true in health care. Developing a proper skin care routine and faithfully maintaining a schedule will reduce your chances of developing winter skin this season.

Why does winter skin develop in the first place? The cells in the outermost layer of your skin are designed to protect the body and hold in the water to hydrate the interior layers. Loss of this water prevents the outer layer from doing its job and soon the moisture your skin so desperately needs to stay healthy slips away and you are left with dry and unhealthy skin. This can occur from over washing the hands (a frequent problem in the nursing field), exposure to harsh chemicals, changes in humidity and the natural aging process are all frequent culprits. Although some people naturally have “dry skin” and suffer this problem all the time.

Treatment options are available and can be quite effective in preventing or relieving the symptoms of winter skin. Water is not the solution and can frequently worsen the problem, not solve it so step away from the sink! A good moisturizer however is a great way to penetrate the skin and trap moisture in so the skin becomes smooth and supple. Choose a moisturizer specifically designed to target dry skin and use it regularly. If you have more severe symptoms, consult with a doctor and discuss potential treatment options – dry skin can sometimes require pharmaceutical grade products that are not available over the counter. Not all over the counter products to treat itchiness are safe to use on irritated skin so consult with a doctor or pharmacist before use.

Increase the humidity in your home or office if possible. There is no way to change the environment outside but by making strides to limit your exposure to the dry air, the better your skin will feel. Humidifiers are readily available in most local stores and online.

Remember to use sun block, even in the winter. Some sun blocks include a moisturizer along with SPF protection so you would receive double benefits! If you are outside, cover up your skin and limit sun exposure when possible. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your skin is not suffering from UV radiation.

Cover up your hands when you go outside and remove wet articles of clothing as soon as possible. The skin on your hands is some of the thinnest skin on your body and cannot bear being constantly exposed during the winter months! Stay warm and protect your skin!

Avoid skin treatments that will exfoliate or strip the skin of essential oils if possible. Remember it is the loss of moisture and natural oils that dried your skin out to begin with, don’t cause further aggravation with harsh chemicals! This can include masques, exfoliants and peels.

Protect your lips when going outside. Use a lip balm to keep the moisture in and banish those unsightly cracks – you will thank yourself. Remember that irritated skin reacts poorly when exposed to different materials and spicy food on sensitive lips can cause more than just a little discomfort.

Learning to control your winter skin is a battle well worth fighting. Just think of all the discomfort you have endured in the past seasons and make a commitment for this year to be different (a great New Year’s resolution!). If you are prone to dry skin, try keeping your regimen going all year round to see maximum benefits. Some treatments may require a few days to work to their full extent so be patient with your skin and allow it the time it needs to heal.

We know, it sounds strange, but the benefits of Retinol for the skin are pretty amazing! You may be wondering what the heck Retinol is and how beneficial could it be if you haven’t already heard of it but trust us, you have! Retinol is the fancy name for Vitamin A and we know you’ve heard of that!

Vitamin A is actually one of the most beneficial vitamins that can be used in skin care because its small molecular structure allows it to penetrate the outer layer of skin and reach those deeper layers where problems can develop. Anti-aging skin care products utilize vitamin A for this very reason because it can help restore collagen production, increase skin elasticity and provide a healthy, glowing complexion.

The retinol is actually assisting in revitalizing normal cell renewal. As the body ages, cells can become misshapen and altered, making your skin develop fine lines, wrinkles and early sagging tissue around the eyes, cheeks and throat. This is where Retinol becomes so valuable because it can reverse damage while helping new and healthy skin cell development to prevent further damage. Pretty great, right?

Vitamin A is not only important in healthy skin care – it is important for growth, development and good health for your entire body. In fact, a deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to serious health risks so be sure to watch your vitamin A intake carefully (note: vitamin A in extreme quantities can lead to severe health problems – consult with a nutritionist or dietician if you need further information).

Many products containing Retinol are serums or creams that are formulated to be rubbed directly onto the skin. Continuing use of products containing Retinol should result in the diminishment of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the overall texture of your skin. You skin may be more sensitive to the sun when using products containing Retinol – be sure to protect your skin by using a SPF 30 sun block. It is important to pay attention to potential interactions with other skin care products; you should avoid using multiple skin treatments containing Retinol.

How many times in life do we go into a store looking for skin care solutions and end up leaving dazed and confused by which product works best? Walk down the beauty aisle at your local pharmacy and you will literally be bombarded with hundreds of products all promising you fast and effective results. With all this information being thrown your way, it is easy to get a little lost and certainly not be sure which product is really the one you need.

Before you run away and hide under the covers, try to re-evaluate your needs and shop smarter. Do your homework before choosing any new skin care products, research the key ingredients and learn about the efficacy (effectiveness) of the key ingredients from an independent source rather than from manufacturer claims. By utilizing the web to your advantage you can research product reviews from actual consumers and get the real “dirt” on popular name brand items before making an investment of your time, money and skin care health.

Once you have taken the steps towards better skin care knowledge its time to buckle down and make a choice. Skin care products can range from generic brands costing only a few dollars for massive quantities to high end merchandise costing hundreds of dollars for only an ounce. While the generic brand tub of lotion may seem like a great deal at first glance take a moment to consider the alternatives. If you are looking for potent skin care, you’re not going to find the results you want in the massive gallon of lotion on discount for $1.99 next to the candy bars. Step away from the sale and move on in your search.

The best plan of attack when it comes time to update your skin care routine is search for products available in small sample sized containers. This can come in the form of travel sized options (usually 2 ounces or less) or small foils packets (sometimes just referred to as foils). Many companies offer sample sets of products that are designed to be used together – these cost significantly less than their full sized counterparts and give you the opportunity to try a product without being commitment to an entire bottle. In these somewhat difficult financial times nothing hurts worse than buying something that turns out to be a dud.

When to invest…

Once you have tested a product and feel it is a good match for your needs, make the investment (even if it means spending a little more) and buy a 4 to 8 ounce container. Several skin care products are specially formulated to provide drastic results over time (sometimes upwards of six months) so don’t give up on a product that doesn’t transform your entire face overnight. Whether you are performing preventative skin care (always a good strategy) or trying to reverse damage (like fine line and wrinkles), the skin needs time to adapt and change. By trying to rush the process you could actually risk hurting your skin instead of helping it.

Depending on the recommended usage and quantity needed, 4 to 8 ounces is a relatively safe choice for your initial purchase and should last long enough for you to begin seeing results before needing to reorder. Buying in bulk may not be the wisest decision because skin care products, once opened, do have a shelf life. Depending on the product this can range from 3 months to a year (on average). Check with the manufacturer for details if you need more information on a particular product.

Time to Review!

So what do you need to remember next time you hit the drug store to find a new skin care cream to take care of those pesky crow’s feet?

Start Small and Do Your Research!

Skin care isn’t rocket science but it is an art to be mastered. Mistakes will happen but you can avoid wasting serious time and money by shopping smarter!

The development of uneven skin tones during middle age leads many consumers to seek out skin lighteners or brighteners as a solution. Commonly seen as a sign of aging, the formation of brown age spots has been associated with poor health in addition to being considered unsightly. Clear and even skin tones are seen as the epitome of youth and health so trying to recapture that look is considered to be a reasonable approach to this problem.

Uneven skin coloration is not a problem that is strictly associated with old age however and many people combat hyperpigmentation throughout their entire lives. By learning more about your skin and proper skin care treatments, you can make informed decisions as a consumer. Beginning with the most basic information: your skin color is determined by the amount of melanin present in your skin. There are two main determinants of your skin coloring and they are constitutive and facultative.

Constitutive skin color is determined by genetics and heredity. Facultative skin color is the result of sunlight, the environment and hormones – factors beyond genetics that impact the appearance of our skin color and can change over time. By developing a clear understanding of why your skin’s appearance is changing, you can develop a plan to reverse the damage and prevent further occurrences.

Hyperpigmentation is a factor of facultative skin color issues – this could be exposure to UV radiation, prescription drug use, pregnancy, etc. Outside influences that alter our skin’s appearance and cause discolored “spots” to form. Age or liver spots (lentigines) are flat discolorations on the skin and they are usually harmless. These are different from freckles (ephilides) which are typically flat and appear as a result of sun exposure – these will typically fade during the winter (although this is not always the case for extremely pale skinned people).

Treatment options for hyperpigmentation have sparked a variety of debates or the past few decades. The most effective treatments are skin lighteners containing the active ingredient hydroquinone (in concentrations up to 2%). There are concerns however about possible safety risks because as much as one third of the population may be allergic to hydroquinone. There is also studies that suggest it is an extreme sensitizer and cause more skin conditions (including hyperpigmentation) to develop after use. Although the FDA has considered banning the use of hydroquinone because of these possible complications, they have not done so yet and it is available in many over the counter products.

Because of these issues there are some steps you can take when using a product containing hydroquinone including always wearing sun block when going outside. Your skin will be especially sensitive to environmental influences and proper precautions should always be taken. Follow all instructions with any product and contact your physician immediately if you notice any type of adverse reaction.

Alternative skin lighteners are available that do not contain hydroquinone. This is a great choice for mature or sensitive skin because there is a lower risk of negative reactions to treatment. These skin lighteners may take longer to show results but can have longer term results than their more potent counter parts containing hydroquinone. Just a thought for those who may be seeking long term solutions and don’t mind waiting a little longer.

Many people consider hyperpigmentation to be an unattractive development on their skin and will take many extreme measures to reverse this problem. Keep in mind that most skin discolorations are generally harmless and treatments should be used as directed and not overused. Research any skin lightener or brightener carefully before use and test it on a small area of your skin before applying to a larger area such as your face. Remember that skin irritations are a common side effect when using any new skin care product and it is better to err on the side of caution by testing new products first.

Final thought: although there are many skin lighteners available on the market today the best option is prevention, not intervention. Try to always use sun block when going outside and cover your skin appropriately. It is much simpler (and more cost effective) to stop the problem before it starts. If you have lighter skin naturally, freckles and spots may continue to be a problem even after treatment because of the skins natural reaction against the environment to protect itself. Keep your skin healthy and happy by taking care of it and if possible, don’t sweat the small spots.

🙂