Tiffany Newman, Clinical Aesthetician

With Summer over now is the perfect time to “peel away” those pesky “sun spots” aka hyperpigmentation! There are many different in office peels we offer, from a light Skinceuticals Lactic Peel to a medium depth TC A based VI Peel. Depending on the severity of your hyperpigmentation and other concerns such as fine lines, dryness, etc. we can tailor each peel to your specific needs!

While in office peels will reveal instant results, it is always crucial to support your skin with quality home care. If addressing hyperpigmentation is your main concern it is important to include products such as tretinoin and a skin “brightener” or “lightener” into your nightly regime.

What is the difference between “natural brighteners” vs Hydroquinone?

Many patients have come into the office with questions on the differences, risks, etc. with skin brighteners. Hydroquinone is the strongest FDA approved skin “lightener” on the market. In different concentrations hydroquinone inhibits or prevents skin from making the enzyme responsible for triggering melanin, the chief pigment that gives skin its color. Hydroquinone still remains the only ingredient recognized as a “lightening agent” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and its use falls under the regulations on skin lightening, which designates hydroquinone as the sole acceptable lightening agent. This means that the use of other ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation cannot be called skin-lighteners or whiteners, so the industry has coined the term “brightener” for these nonhydroquinone alternatives.

A patient favorite in our office is our private labeled “HQRA” cream; a combination of .05% tretinoin (retin a) and a 7% Hydroquinone In a creamy moisturizing base which allows for gentle, supreme acclimation to the skin.

Tyrosinase inhibitors aka Brighteners

Tyrosinase is an enzyme of plant and animal (and human) tissue responsible for the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation, as in the blackening of a peeled or sliced potato exposed to air…or in our case – skin hyperpigmenting. For example: if the tyrosine in a banana is responsible for the green and yellow color of the peel, tyrosinase is responsible for causing that peel to oxidize and turn brown. If tyrosine is responsible for skin pigmentation, tyrosinase is responsible for hyperpigmentation. A tyrosinase inhibitor will help prevent the overproduction of this enzyme, and help prevent hyperpigmentation of your skin.

What ingredients should you look for in a skin brightener?

Kojic Acid
Arbutin (Bearberry Extract)
Licorice Extract
Mulberry Extract
Burner (Burdock) Root Extract
Ellagic Acid

These ingredients will take longer to show results however, due to some patients sensitivity to Hydroquinone, these are a great, effective alternative option. Skinceuticals offers a non Hydroquinone alternative, the Advanced Pigment Corrector utilizing acids to fade stubborn discoloration and improve overall luminosity. As with any skin care product, consistency is key if you want to reap the benefits of these active ingredients. This wonderful new product utilizing some of these active brightening ingredients was named In Allure Magazine’s “Best of 2013 List”!