Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon Dr. Terry Perkins – and founder of Evolutions Medical Spa – never ceases to amaze us with the knowledge he holds about the skin and skin care. Last night he shared with a captive audience how to get on the path to clear, bright skin. Here is the recap from the “Brighten Up” educational event at Evolutions.
What stands in the way of luminous skin? For many of us, it is an issue of pigmentation. Pigmentation, also referred to as age spots, “liver” spots, freckles, is caused by melanin. Melanin is produced as a protection to the skin in response to sun exposure (a sun “tan” is actually a skin injury), trauma, or inflammation. Melanin can also be influenced by hormones, birth control pills, and pregnancy. Appearance problems occur when melanocytes are over stimulated such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (from pimples) or melasma, which is a broad patch of pigmentation that can occur in the epidermal or dermal layers of the skin.
How do we get rid of pigmentation? Below are the options that Dr. Perkins outlined for us:
While Evolutions offers a variety of services that are effective in the treatment of pigmentation problems, Dr. Perkins stressed that it is also important to practice diligent home care to prevent or lighten pigmentation. The #1 recommendation from Dr. Perkins is to wear your sunscreen daily! The fact is that more than half of UV exposure is “incidental” exposure such as sitting near a window, driving in your car, walking outside to chat with your neighbor, you get the picture! UVA actually goes through glass, so you aren’t protected in your car or at your window office.
Evolutions offers a variety of bleaching agents and hydroquinone (which stops the formation of pigment from being formed). Some product recommendations:
- Obagi Clear and C-Rx Night: a product with hydroquinone as an active ingredient that helps to fade unwanted pigment
- Revale Illuminating Serum: has the highest potency of antioxidants – good anti-oxidation helps skin repair
- Nia24: helps skin repair at the DNA level which normalizes pigmentation
- Retinoids (“Retin A”, “Tretinoin”): help normalize cell differentiation
- Combination Prescription Products (“Firm and Fade”): offered exclusively at Evolutions that combines Retin-A, hydroquinone, and a low potency steroid (used to calm down inflammation)
In addition to using a brightening/lightening product, you may want to add in a product that encourages cell turnover. Products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids, amino fruit acids, and retinoids are all good choices.
Vibraderm is done using abrasive aluminum paddles that provide a gentle abrasion. It is faster than microdermabrasion and does not have a vacuum component (which can cause broken capillaries). This physical exfoliation is used to treat superficial pigment problems with no downtime. It will improve the penetration of products / peels and is great as a stand alone service or in conjunction with a peel or facial.
LIGHT-BASED TREATMENTS : FOTOFACIAL RF
This “Gold Standard” treatment of pigmentation uses Intense Pulsed Light / Radiofrequency to target pigment and “red” areas. A FotoFacial works deeper than most chemical peels and can significantly improve your skin texture by reducing redness, age spots, sun damage, spider veins, fine lines (although not a treatment for wrinkles) and large pores. We offer the FotoFacial in a series or in combination with other treatments (FotoPeel, FotoPeel Plus, and FotoFacial Genesis Packages), depending on an individual’s needs.
Chemical peels are a “controlled” injury to the skin that causes a deep, even exfoliation. At Evolutions we offer different depths of peels (from light to medium to deep).
- AFA Peels: the alpha-hydroxy peel is a “light” peel for those who want the benefits of a peels without a large amount of actual peeling. This peel can be done alone or in a series of five (recommended).
- Alpha Beta Peel: this is the most popular peel at Evolutions. It is a medium-depth physical exfoliation and works well to get rid of superficial sun damage and is a great choice for clients who want to see results in 4-5 days.
- Obagi Blue Peel: this is the deepest peel offered. It will significantly improve your complexion. You will have firmer, clearer, smoother, healthier skin.
LIGHT-BASED TREATMENTS: Q-SWITCHED LASER
This newest laser is used for our newest service – tattoo removal. It delivers laser energy so rapidly that it breaks up pigment without excessive heating of the surrounding tissue. Currently we are testing how effectively it can treat stubborn brown pigmentation. Stay tuned at a later date for more information on the Q-Switched Laser!
This unique fractional resurfacing device uses radiofrequency energy instead of light to safely treat all skin types. Sublative Rejuvenation is used to treat wrinkles, pigment, acne scarring, skin laxity, tone and texture. There is less downtime and discomfort than older fractional laser devises (i.e. the Fraxel) and it can be combined with other light-based treatments (such as the FotoFacial RF or Total Tightening) for customizable treatment options.
This surgical procedure done by Dr. Perkins at Cosmetic Surgery Center in Santa Barbara (near Cottage Hospital) combines a deep peel with dermabrasion (not microdermabrasion). It treats wrinkles, sun damage, and pigment. You will be very impressed with the results. For more information, contact Cosmetic Surgery Center at 805.563.0000.
The best way to treat sun damage is to prevent it by using your sunscreen daily (on your face, neck, and decolletage). When pigment issues arise, there are a number of treatment options available at Evolutions and “at home”. Pigmentation can be treated on all areas of the body.
At Evolutions we always offer a complimentary consultation. If you are interested in one of our medical spa services, or simply looking for a new home care routine, call us at 805.687.0212 to make an appointment (or book online).