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Summer Skincare: How to Beat the Brown Spots

By now everyone is well aware of the sun’s damaging effects and you’ve likely had the “importance of sun protection” talk with your clients more times than they care to remember. Despite your client’s best efforts to avoid the sun, however, UV-related damage is nearly unavoidable.

While diagnosing and repairing sun-damaged skin is not a one-size-fits-all, there are a number of tools at our disposal to help clients achieve healthy, radiant, youthful skin. In this four part series, I’ll cover how to reduce the appearance of brown spots and brighten skin tone, heal sunburns, address UV-related aging, and treat summer acne.

Sun-Induced Discoloration

Excessive production of melanin can be brought on by a number of internal and external factors, but the primary extrinsic cause is the sun. During the warm summer months, excess heat can also over stimulate the skin. Keeping the skin protected and cool will help prevent discoloration during the summer months. If the damage is done, however, melanin suppressants, peels and certain home-care correctives will work to brighten skin tone.

Treatment results vary greatly depending on discoloration level (cellular or superficial), but through a combination of home care and professional treatments, there can be significant change and correction. Ingredients that help correct discoloration include bellis perennis flower (daisy flower), arbutin (L), kojic acid, lactic acid (L), and azelaic acid. These will work to inhibit melanin synthesis, brighten, and reduce hyperpigmentation.

In the Treatment Room

In the treatment room you’ll want to combine both brightening and skin-building ingredients, as the goal is to correct the issue and reset the skin on the right path. There are a number of enzymes, acids and modalities that may be used to address hyperpigmented skin. Some brightening formulas that work well include:

  • AHA/TCA blends – when TCAs are blended with AHAs, it boosts the effectiveness of the AHA. TCA further helps breakdown dead surface cells and stimulate regeneration.
  • Vitamin A+ Peptide Peel – this formula blends peeling activity with peptide support to correct the skin, repair and rebuild the skin.
  • Melanin suppressant formulas – as I noted, formulas containing daisy flower, arbutin (L), kojic acid, lactic acid (L) and azelaic acids work in tandem to brighten, provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, and improve texture overall. Some formulas we use in brightening treatments include, Skin Brightening Enzyme, Melanin Suppressant Solution and Kojic Clay.

As an example of a treatment, you might prepare the skin with a brightening cleanser followed by a scrub. Then apply a TCA/AHA blend followed by the melanin suppressant formula to breakdown dead surface cells, increase regeneration, soften fine lines, reduce hyperpigmentation, and improve skin tone. Finish the treatment with an application of the Vitamin A+ Peptide Peel formula to improve uneven pigmentation and produce radiant skin. The peptide action in the formula helps rebuild the skin.

Creating a Home Care System

Send clients home with a system designed to keep the skin cool, hydrated, protected and radiant. This may include:

  • Cooling – chilled masks or spritz formulas are a refreshing summer companion and will help keep the skin cool. Using a formula that contains D2O (deuterium oxide), which has a heavy molecular weight, will deliver moisture deep into skin, prevent trans-epidermal water loss and resist free radical transportation. A few client favorites this season include the Cucumber Spritz and Brightening Pigment Lotion.
  • Brightening – for potent pigment control, turn to ingredients like daisy flower, thermos thermophilus ferment, retinol, and GABA, to name a few. Client favorites include the Skin Brightening Cleanser, Brightening Scrub, and Naturale Mega Brightening Serum.
  • Hydration – in addition to the heavy water formulas, you might also send clients home with a hydrating brightening complex with lighteners and moisture support. A client favorite is the Brightening Cream Enhanced.
  • Protectionprotection is the most important component. Mineral-based blockers like zinc will block damaging UV rays, while reducing the risk of skin irritation following a corrective treatment.

A formula with hydroquinone, such as Skin Brightening Gel, will also be effective in lightening brown spots and pigmented skin, but it must be used in moderation and the client’s skin should be monitored for irritation. Remember with any brightening program you will want to incorporate a growth factor and daily sunscreen.

This summer, help clients beat the brown spots by focusing on a program designed to correct existing pigmentation issues, while keeping skin cool and protected to prevent future spots from appearing.

Question: What’s your favorite summertime treatment for brightening client’s skin?