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3 steps to getting rid of skin discolorations and age spots

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A few years ago there was a study that said the main reason why skin starts to look old is not due to those laugh lines and "11's" in between your brows, but because of skin discolorations: age spots, sun spots, whatever you want to call them. We're talking about those little odd discolorations that seemingly show up out of nowhere--and you notice them, of course, at moments like when you're sitting at a traffic light, sun beaming in through the car windows, and you glance in the rear-view mirror. That double-take moment when you swear you'll wear SPF 50 sunscreen 24/7--forever.

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There are many skin discoloration products out there--starting with the age-old Porcelana that's been around since...? A long time. However, with the introduction of peptides, alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids, and nature-based ingredients such as kojic acid and licorice extract, hydroquinone (aka Porcelana and Esoterica fade creams) isn't the only game in town. A good thing, considering the bad rap it's gotten over the past few years--including a proposed ban.

Systems like Lumixyl by Envy Medical and Meladerm from Civant Skin Care are two options for at-home use. Meladerm has both a 4-step (cleanser, toner, brightener, exfoliating cloth) and 5-step (cleanser, toner, brightener, eye complex, exfoliating cloth) kit that you can purchase; Lumixyl Brightening System is a 4-step program (cleanser, brightener, exfoliator (AHA), sunscreen).

But do you really need four or five steps?

The 3 most critical steps you need at the very least to see the best skin lightening results are:

1. Exfoliate (aka, the little helper). Most systems--regardless of which one you choose--use an AHA to promote skin cell turnover thereby (according to the companies) boosting the efficacy of the fade serum or lotion. Both Lumixyl and Meladerm include an AHA in their lineups, though with Meladerm you only get the exfoliating cloth in the kits; the AHA Exfoliating Serum is sold separately. Both the Lumixyl and Meladerm AHA serums are similar in that the main AHA is the very second ingredient, behind water, in both formulas. The Lumixyl AHA serum--the GlycoPeel 10 Brightening Exfoliator with Decapeptide-12--actually includes the very peptide that's in their brightening creme.

2. Brighten (aka, the miracle worker). Meladerm's flagship formula is its Meladerm for hyperpigmentation. The forumula, according to the site, combines the "well documented properties of the most beneficial and safest active ingredients. Most of the active ingredients in the formula are derived from natural extracts such as Mulberry, Licorice and Bearberry plants." It also includes kojic acid which it's been said can be used on sliced fruits to prevent the browning that occurs when exposed to air.

Lumixyl Brightening Creme contains Decapeptide-12, which the company claims is "considered by many to be the first real alternative to hydroquinone" (translation, those other ingredients like kojic acid and licorice extract are basically child's play--gentle, but less effective, at getting the job done). So what is Decapeptide-12?

According to the Lumixyl website, it's a "non-toxic, non-irritating, synthetic peptide that's clinically shown to significantly improve the appearance of unwanted discoloration, age spots, sun spots and uneven skin tone. 

Developed by dermatological researchers at Stanford University, Lumixyl’s ground-breaking Decapeptide-12 is the only peptide shown to measurably aid the skin in restraining tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for initiating the overproduction of melanin that can cause uneven pigmentation and dark spots. 

Studies show that Decapeptide-12 helps inhibit the production of melanin more efficaciously than hydroquinone--reducing melanin synthesis by as much as 40 percent compared to treatments with hydroquinone, which reduced production by only 7 percent in the same study."

3. Protect (aka, the relapse avoider). Regardless of which system or which brightener you use, getting rid of those spots will be a losing battle if you don't use sunscreen. Religiously. And, you really have to be diligent about avoiding direct sunlight. That's probably the biggest challenge and the biggest success factor in trying to achieve more even-toned skin. You simply have to avoid the sun like the plague. While there are obviously many sunscreens you can purchase, the Lumixyl Brightening System does include its MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF 30. That's where the Meladerm system falls short--no sunscreen.

Of course, the one step that's not here and really should be added is patience. None of the at-home systems will give you results overnight--and, you do have to avoid the sun as any exposure can cause a return of pigmentation.

If you're in the Newark, NJ area and want to try the Lumixyl system, contact Rejuvi Skin in Verona.

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