Maintaining an even skin tone becomes harder as we age, particularly when dark spots make their inevitable appearance.
Those spots are more than just an annoyance — they indicate real damage to the skin.
“It’s a two-part problem,” says Kenlee Livingston, owner of Kenlee’s Skin Shop in Mission. “You have the aesthetic side of it not looking attractive, but there’s also the health component, because those are cells that have been damaged by the sun, and those cells have the potential to turn into something far more dangerous at some point down the line.”
So how do you get rid of these pesky spots?
According to Livingston, chemical peels can be a great option for most people. She even does the procedure on herself.
Chemical peels come in many combinations of ingredients, depth levels and methods. Some treatments are immediately rinsed off with water, while others are left on the skin overnight.
Immediately after a chemical peel, skin will likely feel tight. Within about 48 hours, skin starts to flake. Chemical peels work to pull damaged cells to the surface, where they sloughs off, leaving healthier, smoother cells in their place.
Chemical peels are also recommended by Nancy White, lead esthetician at Bijin Salon & Spa in Prairie Village.
“For my clients struggling with uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation or melasma, I suggest a series of six chemical peels spaced two weeks apart,” White says. “After the series is completed, I suggest taking a break for eight weeks and then resuming another series of six peels.”
For stubborn cases that don’t respond to topical peels, White recommends laser treatments at a medical spa.
Enzyme treatments are a milder approach to treating dark spots. Livingston uses the treatments as a test to see if clients can tolerate a stronger chemical peel.
There are also options for those who want to target dark spots at home.
Livingston recommends Cosmedix Simply Brilliant 24/7 Brightening Serum. She says a pea-sized amount daily should be more than enough to spot-treat any areas of concern. The key here is “spot” treatment — only apply it to dark areas.
White recommends two SkinCeuticals products: Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid, a Vitamin C serum, and Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. She also likes organic products, such as Eminence Bright Skin Targeted Treatment and Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream.
“For best results in treating hyperpigmentation, it’s important to use products at home that work to suppress melanin production, exfoliate pigmented areas, and block the sun’s rays,” White says. “The best ingredients to look for would be lactic acid, kojic acid, and ellagic acid.”
Although products and peels can help fade dark spots, there’s no quick fix for hyperpigmentation.
“The two hardest ingredients when it comes to really getting your skin healthy and where you want it are time and patience,” Livingston says.