Category Archives: hydroquinone

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT DARK SPOTS?

Dark spots or hyperpigmentation can mar a complexion. They come in many forms and shades from sun spots and melasma to moles.

What is causing your discoloration? It could be advancing age, your hormonal activity, sun exposure and/or skin irritation.

According to Beverly Hills dermatologist Sameer Bashey, “In light-skinned individuals, sun damage is the usual culprit, while in darker-skinned people, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or melasma (brown to gray-brown patches on the face) is often the cause. PIH can occur with acne, but it also can result from psoriasis, a burn, an injury or a skin rejuvenation treatment.”

Your best defense from sun spots is judicious use of sunscreen such as Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30, Sun Spray SPF 50 or Daily Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50.

If you already have dark spots, see your dermatologist. There are more options today than ever before to lighten dark spots, and they don’t all contain Hydroquinone. For example,  ZO® Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System is a multi-product, skin therapy system designed for the treatment of hyperpigmentation without the use of hydroquinone.

The kit includes Retinol Skin Brightener 1%, Daily Power Defense,  Wrinkle + Texture Repair and Brightalive Skin Brightener. When used correctly, Hydroquinone is both safe and effective and remains the gold standard. ZO® Multi-Therapy Rx Hydroquinone System is an all-encompassing system formulated to help treat hyperpigmentation, severe texture damage, sun damage and general skin health restoration. It is comprised of Melamin™ Skin Bleaching & Correcting Crème, Exfoliation Accelerator, 10% Concentration, Melamix™ Skin Lightener & Blending Crème and Daily Power Defense.

Both of these systems contain retinol (an over-the-counter form of vitamin A) which is also highly effective for dark spots.

Sometimes, your dermatologist may need to bring in the bigger guns — superficial chemical peels containing salicylic acid and glycolic acid, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices and Q-switched lasers can be used alone or in combination with topicals in light-skinned individuals with dark spots. In darker skin types, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and non-ablative fractionated lasers or very low-level Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers may help, when used with caution by a pigment specialist.

You don’t have to live with dark spots anymore. Depending on the cause, there are multiple treatments to try and combine to lighten the spots and improve your complexion. The first step is to schedule an appointment with a ZO physician near you https://zoskinhealth.com/zo-near-you

Pregnant Pores

Pregnancy is an exciting time for every woman, but along with carrying a new life inside you, your skin, hair and nails experience many changes. It is natural to wonder what you can do about the many changes your body is going through – and what might be dangerous for your baby during these 9 months.

It is well known that some ingredients in prescription medications and from topical skin care products can get absorbed into the body when applied to skin. If you are not entirely sure what is safe or what to avoid, always ask your OB/Gyn or medical doctor to find out.

A a general rule, most mild skincare products found in the drugstore or on department store shelves that do not contain high levels of ingredients regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be safe to use. These may include cleansers, toners, moisturizers, eye creams, scrubs, masques, lip balms, body lotions, body wash, hand creams, etc.  But there are certain ingredients that are to be avoided until you have given birth and finished breast feeding.

According to Dr. Rachael Eckel, Dermatologist in Trinidad and ZO faculty member, following is the list of ingredients to avoid while pregnant and lactating:

  • Prescription Retinoids – Retin-A, Accutane, Differin, Tazorac, etc.
  • Retinol
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid/Salicylic Acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Hydroquinone

Of course this doesn’t mean that you can’t look after your skin while pregnant, but you may need to adjust your normal anti-aging or anti-acne skin care regimen temporarily. “Instead of loading up on vitamin A based products, switch to a non-retinol day cream or serum. Anti-aging skin care that contain Vitamin C, antioxidants, and peptides are usually fine to use during pregnancy too.  A strong SPF is also essential. ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF30 is a great choice because it includes a subtle tint with high protection,” says Dr. Eckel.

Many women break out during the first trimester, which then slows down by the second trimester. In some women, however, they may have acne for the whole nine months. “You can substitute benzoyl peroxide and Beta Hydroxy acid based products with glycolic or lactic acid formulas to help control breakouts. If your skin is inflamed or ruddy, try using ZO Medical Balatone, a calming toner designed to invigorate dry, weak skin. It also removes impurities and balances the skin’s pH,” she says.

Some of the skin changes that occur during pregnancy include pigmentation, melasma on the cheeks, chin and upper lip, moles, acne, rosacea, and stretchmarks. Many of these changes will resolve on their own once your hormones go back to normal, some will get better, and others will remain. The best advice is to wait to see your Dermatologist when you are ready for a post pregnancy skin check. Your dermatologist can advise you on what may require prescription drugs, topical products, or clinical treatments for your condition.

 

The Brightening Brigade

Although prescription hydroquinone is still considered the gold standard in skin lightening by many physicians and skincare professionals, Beverly Hills Dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi warns that it comes at a price.

It fades many spots when used consistently and blocks the enzyme needed for creating new ones. Paired with a prescription retinoid or potent retinol, it can begin to lighten dark spots in four to six weeks, sometimes sooner. However, prolonged use of hydroquinone comes with some risks.

But today, there are some potent alternatives to hydroquinone that do not come with the side effects and potential irritation. “Skin becomes immune to the effects of hydroquinone after prolonged use,” says Dr. Obagi. “Alternative treatment options can reduce discoloration with powerful agents that are gentle on skin.”

Dr. Obagi believes that non-hydroquinone alternatives can be ideal for the treatment of skin conditions either when hydroquinone treatment is completed or contraindicated, or as a healthy maintenance system long term. He often recommends use after completing a course of hydroquinone for 4-5 months, or when skin lightening is not needed or desired. These novel treatments are also effective when an even skin tone is the main objective, and when texture and anti-aging benefits are part of restoring even color tone.

In the ZO family of products and treatments, the ZO® Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System For Restoring Even Skin Tone includes 5 key products. These potent products will not cause the level of irritation and side effects commonly associated with hydroquinone, but are effective at improving skin tone and texture and reduces the signs of pigmentation.

  • BRIGHTENEX
    Skin Brightener & Correcting Crème, Non-Hydroquinone
  • RESTORACALM
    Soothing Recovery Crème
  • RETAMAX
    Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion
  • Ossential® Daily Power Defense
  • Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50

Of course, Dr. Obagi strongly recommends daily liberal use of a broad spectrum SPF50 to guard against further UV damage that causes discoloration.

Ditch the Dark Spots

Discoloration is a fact of life. The sooner you see dark spots and brown patches has a lot to do with heredity and lifestyle, but by a certain age, we all get some. There are several factors that cause skin to become darker (hyperpigmentation), starting with an increase in melanin, the substance which regulates pigment. Primarily, hyperpigmentation is caused by exposure to the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. But dark spots can also appear due to melasma and after acne or other skin trauma. Of course, the worst culprit is cumulative sun exposure, says Dr. Zein Obagi, Beverly Hills Dermatologist.

Causes of Melasma

Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to melasma, also called the “the mask of pregnancy.” About 70% of pregnant women develop some brown patches on their face, upper lips, cheeks and forehead, as well as their bellies. Melasma frequently clears up after you give birth, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately, you are not advised to use potent topical formulations containing retinoids or beta hydroxy acids while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. NOTE: Ask your obstetrician or dermatologist what products or ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Dark marks from acne can often develop in areas where blemishes have been. The same is true for insect stings, cuts, bruises, kitchen burns, and other skin traumas. These marks often take months to fade and some never fade much at all. And PIH is more common in darker skin types. The first course of action is to avoid direct sunlight during the healing process.

Zein Obagi, MD specially developed the ZO Non Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System to treat skin discoloration without the potential risks and side effects of using hydroquinone. This potent system has 5 effective products that work together to even skin tone, improve texture and rejuvenate the skin.

  • BRIGHTENEX
    Skin Brightener & Correcting Crème, Non-Hydroquinone
  • RESTORACALM
    Soothing Recovery Crème
  • RETAMAX
    Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion
  • Ossential® Daily Power Defense
    Time-released retinol, antioxidants and specialized DNA-repairing enzymes
  • Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50

 

 Spotting Sun Damage

Fortunately, early diagnosis and early treatment can prevent and reduce the appearance of dark spots, brown patches and other signs of pigment changes and sun damage. Uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation will also make you look older earlier. Apply sunscreen every 2 hours if you will be outdoors in direct sunlight as a first course of action.

Talk with your ZO skin care professional about your specific condition and concerns.

Hydroquinone-Free Products Reign Supreme

According to leading cosmetics industry market research firm Kline & Company, “While hydroquinone (HQ) has been the gold standard ingredient in the physician dispense arena for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, this ingredient is surrounded with controversy due to some of its reported side effects. Europe has banned HQ in concentrations greater than 1% and in the United States it has been banned from five states – New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Montana, and Texas.” Kline also cites this trend as the reason for the rise of  hydroquinone-free or HQ-free skin brightening products featuring alternatives to HQ.

Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi has been at the forefront of reversing hyperpigmentation for 30 years. However, he has raised concerns about the abuse and overuse of hydroquinone without medical supervision that has arisen due to the Internet. “For many consumers, hydroquinone is like an old friend who inexplicably turns on you. They may have used it for years, trusting that their dermatologist – or, frequently, some Internet pharmacy – would never recommend a product that could harm them. But over time, some of these consumers commonly develop new pigment problems in the areas where they have faithfully applied hydroquinone. The product they bought to lighten sunspots, melasma, or other hyperpigmentation paradoxically leaves them with tough-to-treat issues such as severe rebound hyperpigmentation.”

Due to this plea for caution, Dr. Obagi has developed hydroquinone-free alternatives that work synergistically for visible skin brightening, without the side effects associated with long term use of hydroquinone. Through extensive research, the ZO Skin Health team has created the ZO Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System for Skin Brightening  that contains 4 key products to help reverse discoloration, including

This breakthrough system reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation without the use of hydroquinone or retinol. It works to brighten your skin tone and lessen the appearance of discoloration and brown spots, for a more even complexion. Because the formulation is hydroquinone-free, it is gentle and easy to tolerate without irritation when used under your ZO doctor’s supervision.

The results are younger, brighter, healthier-looking skin and you will start to see results in 2-3 weeks with consistent application. Don’t forget that getting brighter skin means practicing safe sun.

 

Alpha Arbutin – A NEW Retinol Alternative

The ZO Medical range was specifically developed as an intensive daily skincare program that slows down premature aging and skin damage, and helps to maintain healthy skin for the long term.

One of the newest additions to the ZO Medical roster is Brightalive Non Retinol Skin Brightener. What makes Brightalive so unique is that it is a highly effective skin brightening formula without containing hydroquinone or retinol.

Brightalive™ manages the skin’s pigment system by using clinically proven alpha arbutin combined with bioengineered plant phytotechnology to reduce the appearance of brown spots and even skin tone. Alpha arbutin is a novel ZO ingredient that has been shown to brighten pigmentation by inhibiting melanin production and is encapsulated in a patented Oleosome delivery system. Because this unique formula was created with natural plant-based ingredients that are gentle, it is safe for all skin types, even sensitive skin, and can be used daily.

Brightalive’s exclusive 12-hour time-release antioxidant complex contains vitamins A, C and E to deliver continuous protection against oxidative stress. Your skin will feel nourished, brighter and hydrated.

Who should use Brightalive?

According to Dr. Zein Obagi, Medical Director of ZO Skin Health, “Brightalive is ideal for all skin types when strong skin lightening is not indicated. It can reduce pigmentation while it restores the skin’s vital moisture balance and enhances DNA repair with consistent use.”

Although it can be used on its own, he also recommends Brightalive as a great complementary treatment product to be applied on top of ZO Medical C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum. C-Bright is a powerful dose of pure vitamin C that is stabilized to brighten and re-texturize the skin. It is a silky smooth formula containing naturally occurring lipids that rapidly exfoliates the pigmentation on the skin’s surface to reveal a more even tone and brighter complexion.