Friday, October 31, 2014

Lighten dark areas and minimize stretch marks

Can you recommend any beauty product that can help lighten dark spots and armpits and remove stretch marks?
The darkening of underarms, elbows and knees is most likely due to hyperpigmentation, a skin condition that affects more people than you think. It is mainly a result of excess melanin, which can be hereditary, or triggered by sun exposure or pregnancy.
In the case of underarms, the area can turn dark as a reaction to your deodorant, plucking or shaving, dead skin build-up or rubbing against tight clothing. Areas like your elbows and knees can also become dark and rough when you forget to exfoliate and moisturize.
The good news is, there are many ways to lighten these areas, and you can even use ingredients you can find in your kitchen. Foods with whitening properties include lemon or calamansi, as well as papaya and milk. You may try using these to lighten dark areas, but keep in mind these will take time (a few weeks) before you see a significant change.
Another way to do it is to find a whitening system to suit your needs and budget. Find a soap, lotion/moisturizer or cream that have active ingredients like vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and licorice extract, which are known to help brighten skin. Some even double as an exfoliant or deep moisturizer, which are also needed to speed up the whitening process.
But if you’re looking for a more drastic plan of action, a visit to your dermatologist is a good idea. She may be able to recommend a more potent whitening or bleaching cream to even out those dark spots. She may have a separate concoction for your underarms, since this area can be quite sensitive.

More complicated
Now, when it comes to stretch marks, well, this can be a little more complicated. We get stretch marks when we grow or gain weight too quickly, which causes our skin to break in some areas. It isn’t a serious thing, but, of course, we all want our skin to look smooth and bump-free.
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One of the most effective ways to prevent stretch marks is by moisturizing daily, which helps skin become more elastic and pliant. This is one of those times when that old adage, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” applies. Moisturizing daily will help stave off stretch marks.
However, if you have them already, try to assess the stage they’re in. The earlier you catch these stretch marks, the easier it will be to minimize them. Their appearance will depend on your skin color: They start out pink, reddish brown, brown or dark brown and eventually fade into a more silvery color. They’re easily treatable when still red or purple, than when they’ve turned silver or white with deep indentations.
Luckily, there are quite a few products out there that help minimize stretch marks. Read the label and look for the following active ingredients: retinoids (proven to increase collagen and elastic production, but not to be used when nursing); glycolic acid (also known as AHA, this boosts collagen production); and vitamin C (works well with glycolic acid).
These may also be available in their potent form from your dermatologist. And if you are looking for a faster way to zap those marks, ask your doctor about laser treatments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rid Yourself of Dark Spots Once and For All

Dark spots: at some point or another, just about everybody gets them. And while diffusing their appearance takes a little patience and a devoted skin care regimen, your spots can fade over time. Get the science behind hyperpigmentation, along with some product solutions, when you continue reading.
How did they happen? Right now your skin is producing melanin through a process called melanogenesis. But when you suffer a trauma (like picking at acne or being exposed to too much sun), the skin can produce extra melanin in that area as a protective mechanism. Hello, hyperpigmentation.
How to treat it: Cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson prescribes a spot treatment with hydroquinone to fade dark spots. "Hydroquinone blocks melanin production, and eventually the block becomes permanent. So it's really the most effective," she says. Wilson also recommends adding alpha hydroxy acids to your regular skin care regimen to increase cellular turnover and get rid of the darkened skin layers more quickly. After about a month, you should begin to see results.

What you're probably doing wrong: Wilson admits the biggest mistake people make is forgetting to wear sunscreen on top of the brightening treatment. "UV rays are much stronger than the ingredients you're putting on, so the melanogenesis process just continues to speed up," she explains. "It's like putting up a [small] cone to block a [huge] Mack truck." But sunscreen is like a wall and will work to keep the bad stuff out and your treatment's active ingredients in.