How to lighten dark pigmentation spots on the skin with Obagi
Age spots, sun spots, liver spots, pigmentation damage… There are many ways to refer to it, but they all mean basically the same thing – darkening of the skin most likely caused by either UV exposure, hormones, medications, inflammation, or any combination of these. When the skin is exposed to UV rays it automatically responds by producing melanin to darken or tan the skin (it’s the skin’s way of protecting itself since melanin absorbs UV radiation). When the skin becomes inflamed (acne, for example) melanin production is also triggered in these areas. Some hormones also trigger the production of melanin (think of melasma or mask of pregnancy). By the time we reach 60 years of age, 90% of us will have UV-induced pigmentation spots.
Preventing pigmentation in the skin is much easier than correcting it. The best way to prevent it is to use a broad spectrum SPF every single day of the year. UVA rays are always there even if you don’t feel them like UVB rays (which are responsible for sunburn). UVA rays penetrate much deeper into the skin and they will pass right through glass windows to cause skin damage (including aging). Pure mineral powders are a great option since they act as your makeup, concealer, SPF, and anti-inflammatory all in one. Best of all, in the form of a powder your body doesn’t absorb the SPF and therefore re-application every couple of hours (like creams or sprays) is not necessary.
Correction of pigmentation is much more complex. The first step is to begin using an SPF every day as I mentioned above. If you attempt to lighten pigmentation without protecting your skin from UV radiation your pigmentation can worsen. The most effective and well-known skin-lightening ingredient is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone (4%) is the main ingredient found in Obagi’s Nu-Derm System and is also found in the Obagi C System.
Which systme is right for you? It depends on the condition of your skin as well as your skin care goal. Let’s take a look at the difference:
The Obagi Nu-Derm System is best for skin with mild to stubborn pigmentation as well as texture issues and fine lines/wrinkles/loss of elasticity. The Nu-Derm System is also great for the treatment of pigmentation on skin affected by adult acne. This system works by combining exfoliation to allow for optimal penetration of active ingredients, with lightening (hydroquinone) and protection(SPF).
The Obagi C System is best for skin with mild to moderate pigmentation with minimal fine lines/wrinkles/loss of elasticity and mild texture issues. The C System is a great preventative treatment for future damage. This system uses glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin in preparation for ingredient penetration. Hydroquinone is the active skin lightener, but Vitamin C is also known to brighten the skin (and is an excellent antioxidant). And of course there is an SPF product included with the system to protect your skin.
Before you begin any type of intensive skin treatment program it is essential to talk to your dermatologist or skin therapist first. For more information our estheticians are always available to answer your skin or product questions.
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