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During our New York City beauty editor event where we introduced our new collection, Plant Profusion, the topic turned to necks. The neck seems to be on everyone’s mind, which is why Dr. G created Lifting Neck Cream for the new collection launching this Fall. This beautiful area of a woman’s body is often misunderstood and definitely neglected. Dr. G shares a few tips and ingredients to look for.

bd7193b0da51586e9b30592297d7c71bPhoto via The Transatlantic 

The décolletage which consists of the neck and chest has always been seen as provocative. From the 11th century up until the Victorian period, women did not show their necks let alone the chest area. Today the décolletage is flaunted and proud and can be the most sun damaged area of a woman’s body. Many women make the common mistake of only taking care of and treating their face, so we asked Dr. Goldfaden to shed some light on the topic. “The main complaints related to the neck and décolletage area are sagging skin, crepiness, discoloration, horizontal bands and wrinkles.” The sagging and crepiness is due to loss of collagen as well as aging. Discoloration may be present due to sun damage or hormones and can range from speckled darkness to redness and uneven tone.

Tips:

  • Do not use anti-aging face creams on the neck. The neck is more delicate than the face, has no pores and cannot absorb many of these ingredients.
  • When protecting or restoring the neck remember there are no pores, hair follicles or sweat glands on the neck. Therefore look for a neck cream with ingredients that target discoloration, tightness and cell turnover such as peptides, amino acids, lightening agents and certain acids.
  • Always apply the cream in an upward motion
  • Never pull, tug or rub the neck skin
  • Always wear an SPF or cover the neck area when outdoors
  • No one is too young to start protecting the neck area

Powerhouse ingredients to look for

Birds of paradise- brightening + reduces discoloration/ pigmentation

Glycolic acid- cellular turnover + exfoliation

Hexapeptide 10- amino acids that stimulate collagen rebuilding

Pink Grapefruit Oil- binds moisture on skin, plumps + increases volume to collagen layers

 

With the heated Summer sun now here, we wanted to understand the most common harmful effects from UVA/UVB rays, hyperpigmentation, so we sat down with Dr. Goldfaden to better understand hyperpigmentation, what causes it and how to treat it.

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Photo via Rodan & Fields 

Q: What is the cause of increased pigmentation and darkening of the skin, and what can I do for its prevention and management?

A: Dr. Goldfaden, MD: There are many possible causes of pigmentation disorders, which are marked by changes in melanin, the pigment in skin.

First, you should consult with your primary care physician or dermatologist to rule out the possibility of a systemic health disorder or a cancerous lesion that requires medical treatment. Your health care provider will conduct a physical examination, examining the location, distribution, color, and ap-pearance of the areas of increased pigmentation. Additionally, the practitioner will assess the history of the condition, which will help determine whether the disorder may be due to a developmentally programmed, congenital, or acquired cause.

Your practitioner will also evaluate whether external factors, such as medications, chemical exposure, or other environmental influences, could have contributed to the increased deposition of pigment in the skin. Furthermore, the practitioner will make note of any prior history of pigmentation disorder and its treatment.

The most common localized pigmentation disorder affecting the skin are ephelides, more commonly known as freckles. Ephelides appear as flat brown pigmentation in sun-exposed areas, usually on the face. They are much more common in fair-skinned individuals, and a propensity to have freckles is an inheritable condition. The degree of pigmentation in the skin changes according to the amount of ultraviolet light exposure, so that freckles usually darken in the summer and lighten in the winter.

Q: What are the causes? 

A: Dr. Goldfaden, MD

Pigmentation disorders such as melasma or chloasma arise from increased melanin in the lower layers of the skin and increased free melanin in the skin. The pigmentation is usually brown with a non-distinct border, and is usually found on the central facial areas such as the cheeks, moustache, and forehead areas. Melasma affects both men and women, though it is more frequent in women (up to 30% may be affected). Its incidence is much higher in Asian and darker-skinned individuals than in fair-skinned people. The causes are unknown, but probably include genetic predisposition, hormonal factors, pregnancy, and exposure to ultraviolet light.

Another very common skin disorder is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The underlying mechanism is unclear, but may involve inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. While the causes and clinical presentation of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can vary, they are usually secondary to a traumatic incident to the affected area of the skin. Sun exposure can worsen this condition.

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Q: What is the treatment protocol?

A: Dr. Goldfaden, MD

There is no true curative therapy for melasma. Affected individuals should avoid ultraviolet light exposure and drugs containing hormones, such as oral contraceptives and conventional hormone replacement therapy agents. Skin-bleaching agents are extremely helpful in lightening melasma and maintaining skin-lightening improvements.

Topical therapies in combination with sunscreens can be quite beneficial.

Exfoliation: For enhanced results, these products should be used in conjunction with exfoliation. Regular exfoliation (chemical or physical) removes the dead surface skin cells and allows the treatment ingredients to penetrate deeper and more effectively into the skin, providing enhanced overall results.

Treatment: Many all-natural, topical skin-lightening agents have been found to be quite beneficial in lightening hyperpigmented areas of the skin. These include alpha arbutin, as well as kojic acid, which comes from berries. Topical applications of natural, fruit-derived alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, have been extremely beneficial in combination with the aforementioned naturally derived bleaching agents.

Sun Protection: Once your physician has ruled out conditions necessitating medical treatment, you may be able to minimize areas of hyperpigment-ation using a well-rounded approach that includes avoiding ultraviolet radiation from the sun, using an effective sunscreen throughout the day to stay protected and keep additional hyper pigmentation from forming.

Reverse Summer Skin Damage

Reverse Summer Skin Damage

Years of daily exposure to ultraviolet radiation and long Summer sun days at the beach take their toll on your skin. Sun-damaged skin becomes dry and rough, uneven patches and dark spots begin to appear, fine lines and wrinkles deepen, and your skin loses its firmness and elasticity. And, if you spent any part of your youth sunbathing you may find that your skin looks years older than you feel. Scientific research has led to the discovery of natural compounds that can help support the structure of skin as well as minimize signs of aging, such as crow’s feet, lines, sagging, and uneven tone. Many of these natural compounds come from the foods we eat. Dermatological research increasingly focuses on the value of exfoliation followed by a topical application of concentrated extracts of nutrient-rich foods to even out the skin tone, naturally!

Ever wonder why a baby’s skin is so soft? It’s because babies naturally replace their skin cells every few days. As you grow older, however, the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines, increase the appearance of discoloration and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of your natural skin renewal process, improving the tone and texture of your skin.

The process of exfoliation is a lot like peeling away the dry, outer skin of an onion to reveal the living layers beneath. Whether the exfoliation is done using mechanical abrasion or a controlled chemical reaction, removing dead and damaged skin cells on the surface allows the fresh new skin underneath to become visible. This newly exposed layer of skin feels much softer and smoother. Its surface reflects light better, making fine lines and other small imperfections harder to see. Age spots and other areas of unwanted pigmentation are less noticeable because the dead skin cells containing the pigment have been removed. Exfoliation unplugs clogged pores and allows for the release of natural skin oils. Regular exfoliation also helps to maintain open pores, decreases pore size, and minimizes many types of superficial scarring. In addition, removing the top layer of dead and damaged cells allows other health-promoting agents such as moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting ingredients to better penetrate the skin and work more effectively.

How to Pick a Good Exfoliating Scrub + Skin Lightening Product

In general, choosing the right exfoliating scrub from all the commercial products on the market today depends a great deal upon the thickness and sensitivity of your skin. It’s important to remember that all kinds of particles can be used for exfoliation, and mainstream products encompass a wide and varied selection. With that being said, it is extremely important to acknowledge particles that are perfectly round in shape. Some examples include, Amber Crystals and Conundrum/Ruby Crystals, found in Goldfaden MD’s Doctor’s Scrub, to name a few. This lessens the likelihood of tears happening in the skin. It’s also important to realize that certain ingredients, although natural, may not be appropriate for your skin type. Some natural products, such as crushed nutshells, sea shells, pumice, ground fruit pits and seeds, have uneven edges and irregular shapes that can damage sensitive skin. The best exfoliating scrub is the one that effectively removes your dead surface skin cells but, at the same time, is gentle to the rest of your skin.

The final group of compounds that can improve the health and appearance of aged skin are skin-lightening agents. These compounds help reduce unsightly, mottled areas of hyperpigmentation where melanin has pooled underneath the skin.   It is important to select and look for naturally-based skin lightening agents so that you avoid further skin damage. Many all-natural, topical skin-lightening agents have been found to be quite beneficial in lightening hyperpigmented areas of the skin. These include alpha arbutin, kojic acid, which comes from berries, Gooseberry Extract, and  Nicatinamide. Topical applications of natural, fruit-derived alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, have been extremely beneficial in combination with the aforementioned bleaching agents. It is important to select and look for naturally-based skin lightening agents so that you avoid further skin damage.

There’s no doubt in my mind that regular exfoliation, followed by a topical lightening treatment and daily sunscreen use is absolutely essential to maintaining smooth skin and keeping the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles at bay.