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Friday, 10 October 2014

Age Spots; what are they, how to prevent them and how to remove them

The sun emits 3 UV rays; A, B & C.   UVC doesn't penetrate the ozone so we don't need to worry about that.  UVB is a shorter wave and is responsible for sunburn, redness and causing ageing in the epidermis.  UVA penetrates the skin further into the dermis and damages the DNA of the melanocyte cells, causing them to over produce mutated (darker cells) which cluster together.

During the 90's I lived in South Africa and used a sunblock called SP20 which "allowed tanning without the sunburn" i.e. it blocked UVB but not UVA which is more effective at tanning so I am a bit concerned about how my skin is going to look in the next decade.
It is advisable NOT to use sunbeds as they emit high levels of UVA and it IS advisable to use a "broad spectrum" sunblock i.e. it protects against UVA & UVB.

It is believed that sun exposure before the age of 20 will determine how your skin will look when you reach your 50's, which is why there is such a big emphasis on putting sun protection on children.

There are a variety of methods of treating age spots.

  • Avoid making them worse by covering up and avoiding midday sun
  • Using known skin lightening actives ranging from Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, Arbutin, Vitamin C & Liquorice extract
  • Skin peels, facials, ingredients to remove top layer of skin to enhance penetration of actives 
  • Using actives to speed up cell renewal to stop mutated cells reaching full maturity 
  • Using actives that inhibit the production of the mutated melanocyte cells

Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent and side effects are burning and scarring and sometimes worst skin discolouration.  It is found in a lot of skin lightening creams for African skin and are banned in most countries - it should be avoided and certainly never purchased off the shelf.
Kojic Acid, Arbutin, Vitamin C & Liquorice extract are all permitted in cosmetics and as they all act in slightly different ways, they would have better synergy together.
Scrubs, peels, micro-dermabrasion will remove dead cells, revealing brighter ones, and make it easier for a skin lightening actives to reach the dermis.
Personally I'm not a big fan of facial scrubs (even though I get a guilty pleasure when using them) as I know my cell turnaround is working and speeding it up can have the opposite effect i.e. dry patches and redness.  Same goes for salicylic acid and lactic acid peels, they can be too aggressive for some skins, although fine for others.

In English Rose Cosmetics’ Nighty Night Cream I've opted to use 2 actives:-

Revinage (bidens pilosa) a plant with Retinoid properties and Pelevetia Algae.

Both these ingredients are clinically proven to inhibit the mutation of the discoloured cells, which I shall try to explain as simply as I can.

Bidens pilosa (yellow flower) is such an amazing plant, I source it from a Brazilian company who organically grow and harvest it and have conducted the studies to demonstrate its effectiveness i.e. boost collagen and elastin in the dermis to plump out wrinkles, regulate oiliness and was proven (in-vitro) to be more effective than Kojic acid and Arbutin at reducing skin lightening.

This is how it works…

It inhibits Tyrosinase (TYRP-1) which is required for melanocytes to produce melanin from the amino acid tyrosine, this slows down the amount of melanin produced, (remember the DNA damage causes excessive cell mutation)

It inhibits the Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) which is responsible in darker melanin. Incidentally MSH increases during pregnancy causing increased pigmentation  

Revinage compared favourably with Arbutin and Kojic acid (known skin lightening actives) - also it has never been animal tested.  

Incidentally, English Rose Cosmetics is approved by PETA and licensed to carry their logo.

Pelevetia is an algae sourced from Brittany and has been clinically proven (in-vitro) to repair DNA, prevent the degradation of elastin (interesting as a bust firming active in the future) protects against UVB irradiation and reduces redness. 
Pelevetia also inhibits tyrosinase and melanin synthesis which are required to produce melanin cells.  So it compliments and boosts the action of Revinage.
In conclusion, with Nighty Night Cream I've used actives that will help prevent the appearance of age spots by working at the level in the skin where they are made, it will also help stop existing age spots getting larger and help reduce them gradually.
The clinical studies can be emailed on request, and can also be found online. Nighty Night Cream can be purchased here

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