Tag Archives: sun spots


Healthy skin needs the basics like plenty of H20, key vitamins and minerals, and specific nutrients like essential fatty acids that keep skin supple.

Your body’s organs, including the skin, which is the largest organ, need these fatty acids to function optimally. Omega-3 is called an essential fatty acid because it is essential to your health.  Because the human body doesn’t produce it, it is also essential in your diet. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats, which are vital nutrients. Omega-3 is used to regulate blood clotting, build cell membranes and support cell health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of a healthy skin diet. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are mainly found in fish including salmon and tuna. Another vital omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), can be found in plant sources such as nuts like walnuts, and seeds such as wheat germ. Edamame, pinto, or kidney beans are great sources to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Look for oils that are high in omega-3s for sautéing, baking, and dressing salads include canola, soybean, and walnut oils.

It is important to note that Omega-3 is easily damaged by oxygen, light and heat, so eating foods that contain them raw is the best way to get them into your system. If you can’t eat them raw, baking or broiling will cause less nutrient loss than frying or boiling. So if you are eating Omega-3 enriched eggs for example, eating them scrambled in a pan or in an omelet may be more beneficial than frying them up. And throwing in some spinach or kale is a great idea because leafy greens are loaded with Omega-3 too.

If you can’t get enough Omega-3 in your daily diet, fish oil supplements are a last resort. Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get the nutrients your body and skin need.


The new buzzword in sun protection isn’t UVA or UVB. It’s HEV – high-energy visible light. HEV is an enemy of healthy skin due to its ability to damage cells.

Exposure to powerful forms of light can be a safety hazard. This hazard concerns doctors more and more as people are continuously surrounded by an increasing variety of artificial light sources, such as computers, digital devices, fluorescent lights and LED sources. These unnatural forms of light release large amounts of powerful radiation known as High-Energy Visible Light.

High-Energy Visible (HEV) Light is made up of certain colors that you can see.  When you look at a rainbow, these particular colors are visible as a thin edge of deep purple and blue on the one side.  HEV light is very closely related to Ultra-Violet (UV) light and has similar physical characteristics.  Invisible ultra-violet (UV) rays cause sunburn, tissue damage and eye disease.  HEV light has been shown to cause similar damage.

Developed by Beverly Hills dermatologist Zein Obagi, the newest sun protection technology from ZO® Skin Health is Oclipse® Smart Tone, that offers a powerful dose of UVA and UVB all day sun protection, while also helping to shield the skin from HEV light. The multi-tasking formula helps to skin support its own natural repair process to helping tackle irritation and pigmentation, while softening and soothing skin with rich conditioners. ZO® Oclipse® Smart Tone SPF 50 (SPF) is also formulated with patented color-bursting beads that match any skin tone. These micro-beads burst when rubbed into skin to create customizable color on any skin tone, creating a perfect tint to be worn alone or as a primer under foundation.

“I developed this sunscreen to protect the skin, restore the skin, and maintain skin health,” says Dr. Zein Obagi. “Now everyone can reap the benefits of this science.”

This advanced formula is also super-charged with soothing extracts of Petasites Japonicus Root Extract and Beta Glucan to minimize irritants that can cause redness. Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil also moisturizes and aids in lipid repair, as well as Vitamin C to protect against the formation of pigmentation and sunspots.


The CO2 laser is widely considered to be the most versatile laser system because it can be used to treat multiple degrees of scarring and visible signs of aging and will give a more dramatic response in a single treatment. However, because there is usually significant downtime and higher risks associated with ablative or deep resurfacing, not everyone can tolerate the treatment.

The adverse events vary based on the treatment modality chosen. With any injury to the skin you must be concerned about initiating an infectious process. Ablative resurfacing is more likely to cause changes in the pigmentation of the skin that is less frequent with a non-ablative treatment.

Many dermatologists and plastic surgeons have chosen to offer non-ablative laser skin resurfacing for this reason. Non-ablative devices can be very effective and over time, you may achieve the same results as with deeper treatments if you have several sessions.

For example, one very popular technology is Fraxel® for non-ablative skin resurfacing. Among the many benefits are the significant improvements in skin tone and texture that can be achieved. The dual wavelength of the Fraxel technology can also be used to treat dark blotches and sunspots.

When undergoing fractionated CO2 laser treatment, you can expect to have about five days of downtime. Most doctors will recommend using an occlusive ointment for the first several days while they are peeling. The ZO® Post Procedure Recovery System can greatly improve the post-laser experience. It contains three key products formulated to synergistically deliver the most advanced technology to protect and soothe skin.  The products were designed to help prevent scabbing and restore the skin’s barrier to speed up the skin’s natural regenerative process.

Around day five after Fraxel, you will have completed the peeling and your doctor may allow you to apply camouflage makeup.  Your skin will be slightly pink which gradually fades. Some fair skinned individuals may be pink for several weeks or longer, depending on how aggressively the treatment was performed.

Wrinkle-reducing results can be dramatic with Fraxel after a series of 3 – 5 treatments based on your skin type and concerns.

Skin Cancer Detection

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, as it can spread quickly throughout the body if not treated at an early stage.

The good news is that early detection is the best defense against deadly skin cancers. Regular check ups and screenings every 6-12 months with your Dermatologist can literally be life-saving. Consult with your dermatologist immediately if you see any abnormal changes to your skin, such as new moles or irregular dark spots. And don’t forget to check the areas that get the most sun exposure, such as scalp, back of the neck, hands, feet, and the bridge of the nose. These parts of your body are most prone to sun damage and also skin cancer. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of survival.

Another critical step to prevent actinic keratoses, and all types of skin cancers from forming, is daily broad spectrum protection with a high SPF. And by daily, we mean 365 days/year.

ZO Medical Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 is a lightweight natural mineral sunscreen that offers a powerful UVA/UVB protection. This formulation shields your delicate skin from high energy blue-violet light that has been shown to induce premature aging. Oclipse-C goes on smoothly and blends nicely, and is so light that is indicated for sensitive skin types. Many ZO physicians also recommend this new formulation for post-procedure sun protection after lasers, peels and injections.

Dr. Zein Obagi’s vision for prevention when it comes to skin health is simple: Minimize UV damage, prevent DNA damage and protect skin from environmental aggressors to improve overall skin health.

What’s Growing on Your Skin?

As a dermatologist, Dr. Zein Obagi will always recommend that you monitor all the bumps and growths on your skin for changes. Doing a simple body check on yourself at home every few months can literally save your life – especially when you consider that early detection is the most important weapon we have against deadly skin cancer. So go see your dermatologist for an annual skin check or sooner, if you find something that looks suspicious or is changing or if you have a family history of any form of skin cancer.

However, not all of your little skin lesions, lumps and growth are actually dangerous. Below, we have listed a few of the most common things that can grow on your skin but are not generally serious or life threatening.

  • Sebaceous Cysts are noncancerous, closed pockets of oil-filled tissue growths on the skin. They usually feel like large peas under the skin and can develop as a result of infection or clogged oil glands.. Sebaceous cysts typically grow slowly, are usually painless, and have a smooth appearance. Occasionally, cysts can become hard and painful, and they may get infected and require immediate treatment. When a cyst becomes infected it may grow rapidly, become painful, and the skin surrounding the area can become warm to the touch and red.
  • Lentigo are freckles or age spots that occur on the arms, legs, and face or any sun exposed area of the skin.. Lentigos are various shades of brown and have a clearly-defined edge surrounded by normal-appearing skin and a flat surface. Lasers and skin lighteners can help eliminate lentigos. If a lentigo starts to rapidly grow, change color, itch, or bleed, go see a dermatologist to have it checked.
  • Seborrheic Keratosis is a benign skin growth that takes a waxy brown, black, red or white appearance. These are rough growths that can grow rapidly anywhere on the body. Although benign, these can often scare people because they can seem to come up very suddenly, grow rapidly, can be several colors and itchy. Seborrheic keratosis are also called age-related barnacles. They tend to show up after age 50 and are easily removed by shaving and certain laser systems.
  • Warts are viral-caused painless growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can be embarrassing and they can sometimes itch or become irritated. They are contagious and therefore, should be removed as soon as possible.

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Out of the Dark – Reversing Sun Spots

In addition to lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dark spots, and discoloration can add years to your complexion. Studies have shown that hyperpigmentation can significantly contribute to the overall appearance of skin aging, increasing your perceived age by as much as 10 years. But discoloration doesn’t have to be a fact of life.

If you want to keep your skin clear of discoloration, STAY OUT OF THE SUN!

Our skin tone is determined by the amount of melanin contained in the epidermis. With UV exposure, cells called melanocytes are stimulated to create additional melanin, resulting in a tan. As we age and accumulate repeated exposure to UV radiation, melanocytes become damaged and permanently switched on to overproduce melanin. This results in dark spots – called age spots, sun spots, and formerly liver spots – or solar lentigines, which are benign flat brown spots that usually appear on the face, chest, and the backs of the hands that get the most sun exposure.

Your first line of defense to prevent dark spots from forming is sun avoidance. Wear protective clothing, seek the shade during peak hours, and always, always, always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays outside. If you protect your skin from birth, you could actually avoid developing spots.

UV exposure is cumulative and sometimes its effects don’t show up until we are well into our 50s or 60s. In fact, 90% of fair skinned people over the age of 60 will develop dark spots from the sun.

For years, the treatment of dark spots has been comprised of chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing. Removing the outermost layers of the skin through exfoliation helps improve skin texture and tone. For more dramatic results, the skin should be treated topically before any procedure is performed. In some cases, topical treatments can adequately reverse the problem without the need for more invasive procedures.

Hydroquinone has long been considered the gold standard for reversing pigmentation. It works by disrupting the function of melanocytes, therefore prohibiting the production of melanin. Products sold over-the-counter can only contain up to 2% hydroquinone, while physician dispensed treatments are usually more potent.

To keep skin bright and even toned, Dr. Zein Obagi developed 3 key products designed to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

NOTE: With any skin lightening or brightening therapy, you must use daily SPF30 to protect your skin.

How To Choose Sunscreen Without Getting Burned

Sunscreens used to be the darling of dermatologists everywhere. Now it seems the love affair is over. People don’t use them as often as necessary and don’t reapply them as frequently as they should. We don’t blame the consumers—the problem is with the sunscreens themselves.

According to one leading consumer protection agency, 80% of sunscreens offer inadequate protection, make claims that are false and misleading, or cause accelerated aging. Some of the biggest brands are developing and selling sunscreens that, according to the Environmental Working Group, not only fail, but fail miserably.

So are you safe from a sunburn? Maybe. Sometimes you won’t know for years that the sunscreen that you trusted was inadequate. Don’t get burned!

Here’s what to look out for:

Moisturizers that contain SPF
The problem isn’t the sunscreen, it’s the moisturizer. Moisturizers can make skin cells lazy, causing cellular function to slow, and inducing premature lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Many physical sunblocks create a white cast. Instead of looking like you have a tan, you look like a friendly ghost.

Over-promising and under-delivering
Don’t believe claims like “all day protection” and “waterproof”—if you’re concerned about wrinkles, you’re old enough to know better. When you’re outdoors, sunscreen should be reapplied frequently and liberally.

SPFs higher than 30
They give people a false sense of security. For example, an SPF60 only offers about 3% more protection than an SPF30.
Here’s what to look for:

Nature’s best photo-protective agent
ZO’s Oclipse SPF 30 Sunscreen contains all-natural melanin—nature’s best photo-protective agent—as well as two of the best sunblocks: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

A healthy tint and primer
Eliminate the ghosting effect, and give your skin a natural, healthy glow.

UVA Protection
One out of every 7 sunscreens does not protect against UVA radiation. Blame it on Uncle Sam! The FDA has not finalized sunscreen safety standards that they drafted more than 30 years ago!

A healthy habit
The biggest problem with sunscreens is that people don’t wear them every day. Oclipse is quite possibly the first sunscreen that people love to wear.

It’s almost May, which is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Now is a great time to start a new and healthy habit that lasts all year long.