Skin Care Products for Hyperpigmentation

As a Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon who also specializes in skin care, I get a lot of patients who inquire about reversing hyperpigmentation. They may call them sun spots, “liver spots”, or “age spots”, and essentially what they are referring to is the darkening of their skin that appears over time and can look like freckles, patches, abnormal pigment clumps, or “stains” on the skin. Most hyperpigmentation is the result of sun damage (or photodamage) which is repeated and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

There are different ways to address sun damage and pigmentation issues, but I will devote this blog post to the products that I have seen to be the most effective at reducing unwanted pigmentation. While many mass market skin care products that are available from drug stores to high end department stores make claims to reverse or fade spots, their effectiveness is not as great (if they are effective at all) as medical-grade skin care products. Mass market products contain lower active ingredients so they can be used by a large audience without many unwanted problems. Pharmaceutical grade skin care products, on the other hand, have higher active ingredients which renders them more powerful – and more apt to get the job done!

My recommendation for the skin care products listed below stems from their excellent reputation, their high therapeutic value, and our clients’ satisfaction. Also, at some point, these products have all been used by me and my staff at Evolutions Medical & Day Spa in Santa Barbara and we have personally witnessed positive changes in the skin from them.

The entire line of NIA24 products are designed specifically to address photodamaged skin and to help prevent future damage. They contain a patented molecule called Pro-Niacin, derived from Niacin (Vitamin B3), that utilizes a MicroNutrient Delivery system which allows it to cross the epidermal barrier and penetrate the epidermis in a continuous release fashion for up to 24 hours. This is what makes these products different from any other Niacin containing products. NIA24 truly creates healing from within and will lessen pigmentation, brighten and firm the skin. 

Obagi is one of the most recognized skin care names globally. They are known for their prescription-strength product lines that truly transform the skin. Obagi is offered in many physicians’ offices worldwide. Obagi has an array of products for different skin concerns. Hyperpigmentation would be best addressed by Obagi’s Nu-Derm System. This system contains several products that help normalize the skin as it increases cell turnover, lightens or erases dark pigment spots and other photodamage, improves skin elasticity, lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brightens the overall complexion.  

This scientifically advanced skin care line provides the most technically researched, results-driven formulations available today. PCA products are only available through licensed skin health professionals that have been trained and certified by PCA Skin. PCA has a Pigment Gel with Hydroquinone (HQ) or a Pigment Gel HQ Free (no hyrdoquinone but other ingredients such as kojic acid, azelaic and lactic acids to encourage an even skin tone) that are less aggressive than Obagi’s Nu-Derm system but give an alternative way to decrease the formulation of melanin (the brown pigment) over time.

Tretinoin is the chemical name for retin-A (retinoic acid) and is a vitamin A derivative that has been shown to have many beneficial effects on the skin such as 1) increasing cell turnover, 2) decreasing pore plugging (which means fewer pimples, white and blackheads), 3) decreasing abnormal cell differentiation (which means less likelihood of skin cancer) and 4) anti-aging effects. Retinol is a “cousin” of retin-A that is converted to retinoic acid in the skin but at a much lower concentration. Retin-A is best used on a regular basis at night for the long term and is known for gradually fading hyperpigmentation spots over time.

There are faster ways to fade pigmentation (such as non-invasive aesthetic treatments) but if you choose to use any of the above products and give them some time and patience, I think you will be pleased with the result.

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I am a Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation cosmetic surgeries and skin care. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, call my office at 805-563-0000.

Santa Barbara Skin Care Home Regimen by Dr. Perkins

Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon Dr. Terry Perkins believes that an effective at-home skin care regimen is an essential part of maintaining younger-looking, beautiful skin. We hope that this home care skin regimen by Dr. Perkins will inspire you to renew (or start) your dedication to healthy skin.

If you are a person who routinely has facials and does a chemical peel every few months, you are not exempt from participating in good skin care practices! Did you know that how you care for your skin at home can account for 50% of the end result? An effective at-home skin care strategy can both enhance the power of your facial / chemical peel / laser facial treatment and can prolong the results. Truly a “win-win” situation.

The home care regimen that I recommend is not something I learned in medical school or from a beauty magazine. The idea came to me one piece at a time as I reflected upon what products the skin benefits from on an ongoing basis. As the founder of Evolutions Medical Spa, and being an active Medical Director there, I have had the benefit of being introduced to and studying many different medical-grade skin care products that have higher active ingredient levels and, thus, have a greater effect on the skin than products purchased at a department store. This is why I recommend using physician grade products for a notable result.

An easy way to remember my universal skin care regimen is by the acronym CHEARS. CHEARS stands for:

  • Cleanser: use a cleanser that is suitable for your skin type; I recommend using the Clarisonic brush to give your skin a deep clean below the surface. Cleanse in the morning and evening.
  • Hydration: hydrate your skin daily using a moisturizer that works with your skin type (dry, oily, combination). Keeping your skin hydrated will keep your skin plump for a fresh complexion. Moisturize once per day.
  • Exfoliant: the use of an exfoliant helps to break down the dead cells on the outermost layer of the skin and promote cell turnover. Exfoliate your skin 2 times per week.
  • Antioxidant: a high quality antioxidant cream helps to combat the signs of aging. Use 3 times per week.
  • Retinoids: use of a topical retinoid cream (commonly known as the brand name, Retin-A) has been proven to be a great wrinkle fighter. Use 2 times per week.
  • Sun protection: use sun protection on your face, neck, decolletage, and hands to ward off fine lines, wrinkles, and excessive pigmentation (age and “liver” spots). Sun protection should be used daily, year round and I recommend products that provide a “physical block” such as those that contain zinc oxide. 

Embarking on my home care regimen will enable you to have more control of your skin’s natural aging process. I hope that the above information persuades you to start, or re-dedicate, yourself to renewing your skin health in the years to come. CHEARS to healthy, glowing skin!

Ask Santa Barbara Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Perkins: Vitamin B Skin Care

Dr. Terry Perkins answers questions from clients about cosmetic surgery procedures and skin care. If you have a question for Dr. Perkins, please email him with “Ask the Cosmetic Surgeon” in the subject line. 

Q: Hi Dr. Perkins, I keep seeing skin care products that have Vitamin B in them and have recently read a few articles in beauty magazines that boast about the benefits that Vitamin B can have on skin. Is Vitamin B really that great for the skin? And if so, what products do you recommend? Thanks! Theresa, Santa Barbara

A: Hi Theresa, you have posed a great question. I agree that there has been a lot of press about vitamin B products lately. Vitamin B in skin care products is often referred to as niacin and that specifically refers to B3. To answer your question, yes, niacin does have the potential to rejuvenate your skin but there is a caveat. Most of the products on the market, that are not medical grade, probably do not contain enough vitamin B to be effective in changing your skin.

In my opinion, the best niacin skin care products on the market today are NIA24. These products contain a patented molecule called Pro-Niacin that penetrates the skin to deliver niacin directly to the cells, energizing them and encouraging normal cell turnover. It also protects and repairs the DNA in the skin cells that became de-normalized due to aging and UV sun damage. Also, Pro-niacin stimulates the release of the hormone leptin, a natural repair hormone, that improves skin tensile strength.

What sets NIA24 apart from the other niacin containing products is that they have developed a MicroNutrient Delivery system that allows the beneficial ingredients to penetrate the epidermis in a slow, continuous release, allowing the molecule to bio-convert to its working form and providing your skin with its protective powers 24 hours a day.  I’ve added an image in from the NIA24 website to better illustrate this concept:

NIA24 is good for sun-damaged, rosacea, hyper-pigmented, and allergic skin. It is fragrance, color-free, dye-free, and non-comedogenic. While we carry select NIA24 products at Cosmetic Surgery CenterEvolutions Medical Spa Santa Barbara has a more robust selection. Call them at 805-687-0212 or visit them downtown to purchase your NIA24 products. 

Crazy Gorgeous Skin Event at Evolutions Medical Spa in Santa Barbara

Dr. Terry Perkins, owner of Evolutions Medical Spa, located in downtown Santa Barbara, is hosting an event that is for everyone this Wednesday (tomorrow)!
Learn about the latest in home skin care with Dr. Perkins and representatives from some of the top skin care lines such as:

  • Revaleskin: anti-aging products made with super antioxidant CoffeeBerry®!
  • Colorescience: correct, protect and color your skin to flawlessness!
  • Nia24: stimulate DNA repair just like some famous Hollywood stars!
  • Clarisonic Skin Care Brush: most effective cleansing tool!

    Event details:

Evolutions Medical Spa at 1309 State Street
Wednesday, June 17th. 6:30 – 8:30pm
The event is free and refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP to Evolutions Medical Spa at 687-0212.