So, I woke up this morning elated to see actual flaking from the corners of my mouth to the chin . Any other time I would be concerned that my skin was dry, now I see it as peeling !!! I am so tempted to rub and scrub, but I shouldn't . Upping the Lactic Acid %age of the Lotion is not such a bad idea, especially for the body. Now if I can only put down the 10x magnifying mirror, I can get on with my day
THE BASICS FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN SKIN LIGHTENING copied from SCT written by ProudChoc
HQ=Hydroquinone RA= Retin A
There are plenty of threads on here to help you with your questions but we understand it can be quite overwhelming. From what I gather, you have up to 2 months and you want to see some results by then? What I would suggest is not to jump straight to HQ4% because it probably wouldn't even work for you. What you need to do first is understand the basics of skin lightening in order to determine what products are best for you depending on what results you want to achieve.
The basics of skin lightening are:
Exfoliation Lightening Moisturising Skin Building Protection
Exfoliation: this is always the first step and will always occur whenever you want to lighten, have blemish-free skin, get rid of or prevent wrinkles, etc... You can do this a number of different ways, but this is what I would recommend for you:
•Purchase an exfoliating soap (I would suggest Likas Papaya Soap as it is mild and great for beginners) •Invest in Exfoliating Gloves/Cloths/Mitts to (gently) scrub skin with a couple of times a week. •Buy Dead Sea Salt Soap to use in the shower once or twice a week, OR take a weekly 45 min salt bath (half cup of salt+drop of lavender+drop of olive oil) •Get a Lactic Acid Peel or Glycolic Acid Peel and mix with your favourite lotion (for percentages, check the DIY section or use the search function to find related threads) Please please be careful and be patient with your skin, over-exfoliation is not pretty and scrubbing your skin to death does not get results quicker. Also please be very careful with the above acids, though they are Alpha Hydroxy Acids and therefore the mildest of peels, they are still acids and burns happen all the time if you don't do your research and use them properly.
Sidenote- you had asked about Retin A? This is mainly used for acne-prone skin but a lot of SCT users use it to help their lighteners penetrate further and to encourage peeling & collagen production. Please note that you should do extensive research on this and maybe even speak to your dermatologist before buying.
Lightening: this is where you would incorporate a product that contains active ingredients that inhibit melanin production. I honestly don't think you should use a lightener until your body is exfoliated as it is kind of like a waste of the lightener (it won't penetrate far enough to be effective when you have all that dead skin in the way). The best way is to incorporate a lightener after 4-6 weeks of solid exfoliation. HOWEVER, if you do choose to use a lightener, I would recommend:
•Nadinola Extra Strength (can be expensive to ship as there are no UK sellers of this) •Caro Light or Skin Light
These are just HQ creams, there are many other lighteners available that do NOT use HQ. Again, you need to be careful when trying out lighteners. Everybody's skin tolerates things differently, so please pay attention to your skin if you choose to use HQ. There are plenty of products out there, and most have been used by SCT members so if you come across anything you haven't heard of, search it's name using the search function, or type in the name of the product + SCT into Google and something is bound to come up. Also, there are threads on all natural lightening which you should maybe have a peek at.
Sidenote- natural serums are great for lightening at any stage in your regimen, so invest in some l-ascorbic acid powder and/or some niacinamide, and make your own serums! These actives are water soluble and are super easy to make.
Moisturising: this is hugely important for healthy skin in general, but particularly for skin that is subject to exfoliation and lightening. This can all be very drying on the skin so you need to make sure you restore the skin's moisture. This can be done by incorporating things like Vitamin E oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Eucerin lotion, Cocoa Butter, and Shea Butter into your regimen.
Skin Building: this is important for people those who lighten and exfoliate because stripping away layers of the skin can be dangerous and cause skin thinning. You need to research all the ways you can get your collagen production up. Luckily AHAs encourage cell turnover, but to be on the safe side I use things like Emu Oil and St Ives Collagen Elastin Lotion. Some research has shown that creams containing collagen don't work because the collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by the skin, but I like the St Ives lotion because it moisturises very well for me too.
Protection: this is the most CRUCIAL element of lightening! You could have the most solid effective regimen in the world but if you go out unprotected in the sun, all your progress will go down the toilet. SAP SAP SAP SAP!!!! Have you read this around the forum? It means Sun Avoidance & Protection. Whether its sunny or rainy (and you're from the UK so you know its mostly rainy lol) you have to use a physical sunblock to protect your skin from UVA and UVB damage. Chemical sunscreens are mostly ineffective, and you can read about that on several threads as well as on online articles. The ingredient to look out for is zinc oxide. There are plenty of zinc oxide sunblocks out there, like Devita and Badger.
Initial Regimen Example
OK so now you have an idea of how to lighten and what type of products to buy, I thought I'd share an example of a great way to start your skin care regimen:
Face - Morning Wash with Likas (leave soap on for 5 mins before washing off) Apply Vitamin C serum Moisturise Sunblock
Face - Evening Wash with Likas Apply Niacinamide serum Apply LA or GA exfoliating lotion (low %) - 3 times a week Moisturise if need be
Body Wash with Likas 6 times a week and Dead Sea Salt Soap once a week Apply serum of choice Apply LA or GA exfoliating lotion (can be higher %, up to 15%) - 3/4 times a week Moisturise if need be
Obviously the above regimen is just to give you an idea... you can do less, you can do more (be careful), you can steadily increase your tolerance of different stuff, you can incorporate a lightener.... it's up to you. The thing is, we here at SCT can only talk about what has worked for us and discuss products and ingredients. We can't tell you what will work for you 100% because everyone is different. But I hope the above info has helped even a little bit just so you can understand why we use certain products in certain ways. One thing I will say is using the search funtion (or Google) is a great way to find out answers to any queries you have, and also to see genuine reviews on products rather than marketing
So be careful, listen to your skin, research EVERYTHING, and keep us posted on your progress
The following is an informative post regarding retinoid use on the skin and its benefits towards anti-aging and skin lightening.
First and foremost I would like to define what retinoids are. Retinoids are a class of Vitamin A derivates. Their main objective is to regulate and repair abnormal/damaged skin cells and replace them with new, healthy cells. Dermatologists have discovered there are well over 30 beneficial acts retinoids can produce on the skin (treating acne being the most widely recognized claim in the medical world).
Retinoids are a key preventive of skin aging, as well as powerful treatment for existing symptoms (wrinkles, spots, loss of collagen and pigmentation concerns). Unlike AHA/BHAâ€™s, which only exfoliate the surface of the skin â€“ retinoids exfoliate from within, starting from the deepest layer. Despite the age or skin concern, any individual can use a retinoid and obtain its benefits. They are the only medicines that have the ability to repair damaged DNA in the skin. The reason they are such a popular treatment for acne is due to their ability to preserve the youth of the DNA, regulating keratin production and enzymes thus clearing the pores.
Skin lightening is also an evident result of regular retinoid use. It should be noted that retinoids do not bleach the skin. They only repair sun damage (i.e. help the skin return to its original color after excessive sun exposure). Melasma patients as well as patients suffering from acne scars are usually prescribed a retinoid to help reduce the amount of excess melanin and to aid the skin in distributing the melanin evenly (obtain an even complexion).
======================================= Types of retinoids:
Retinoids are divided into 2 different classes: OTC (Over the Counter) and Rx (Prescription).
OTC Retinoids are products that contain retinol, retinaldehyde or retrinal. Retinol is not as strong as an Rx retinoid (i.e. Adapalene) however studies have shown that if it penetrates well enough into the skin (you must take the type of product into consideration, if it contains AHA or not, or contains silicones which hinder penetration) a certain amount of retinol will be converted by enzymes into tretinoin (retionic acid) the form that is useful to the skin). Retinol products are great for individuals who are new to retinoids as they are not as potent or irritating.
Retinaldeyhe is more effective than retinol because it is one step closer to being pure retionic acid. The skin's enzymes have to convert retinol into retinaldehyde to become retionic acid.
Prescription retinoids are products such as Retin-A, Tazorac, or Differin. There are many others but these are the 3 most popular. They come in a variety of strengths. Retin-A utilizes tretinoin, which is pure retinoic acid. It is very effective at treating acne, diminishing wrinkles and lightening of pigment, however it also produces the most irritation. Peeling and dryness are the most common side effects.
Tazorac utilizes a synthetic form, known as tazarotene. Studies have shown this particular synthetic to be very effective at treating pigmentation issues. Again, Tazorac also can be very irritating to the skin, however I will be explaining methods to reduce excessive irritation below in the 'usage' section.
Differin also uses a synthetic form known as adapalene. This is by far the gentlest form, causing the least amount of irritation. In fact, Differin has been shown to help treat Rosacea along with redness. I would recommend Differin to dark skinned individuals because of its ability to reduce post inflammatory hyper pigmentation (from irritation). The results take a couple of months longer to see than other Rx retinoids, but it more cosmetically elegant than the other two.
The irritation factor of Rx retinoids usually depends on the skin's tolerance level as well as the strength of the cream. ======================================= Use of retinoids
I would like to first address that retinoids should only be used during the evening. Studies have shown them to become toxic when exposed to UVA/UVB rays (I am referring to Rx retinoids here). You should also always wear sunscreen during the A.M. and never use Vitamin C along with a retinoid (as it degrades the effectiveness). Vitamin C serums should be used in the daytime underneath your sunscreen. Also during the first few weeks of retinoid use (usually only with Rx retinoids) you will be experiencing acne, or worsening of acne. This is normal, it is the retinoid pushing the excess dirt, oil and clearing the pores.
NOTE: Personally, I would recommend you select from products that contain retinaldehyde over retinol if you are going OTC. Before going to your doctor to obtain an Rx Retinoid, you should start with a retinaldehyde or retinol product. Retrinal is probably what I'd recommend for beginners as it comes in 3 strengths and isn't as irritating and potent as Diacneal (which has AHA in it as well). These are more effective than any of the above retinol products mentioned.
The best products containing retinaldehyde: - Avene Ystheal Gel - Avene Diacneal (excellent product, combines 6% AHA and 0.1% retinaldehyde. It penetrates deep within the skin due to the AHA as well as inhibits melanin well). - Avene Eulage - Avene Retrinal (very gentle, great for beginners. Comes in 3 strengths. Highly recommended.)
Prescription retinoids for darker skinned individuals: - Retin-A Micro - Differin Gel
Prescription retinoid for ˜tough™, resilient skin: - Retin-A - Tazorac Gel
Tip to reduce irritation: Despite Differin being the gentlest retinoid, a dark skinned individual can use Retin-A and Tazorac if they can reduce the amount of irritation. A great way is to buffer the retinoid. Apply a basic moisturizer (Cetaphil, Neutrogena oil-free moisture, aquaphor) over bare cleansed skin. Wait for about 1 hour and then apply a thin layer of your retinoid over the skin. This should reduce the amount of peeling (which is normal when using a retinoid; it is sheding off old skin), dryness and irritation.
If you are interested in a prescription retinoid, talk to your doctor about prescribing the lowest strength retinoid.
Check out these sites for more information. I also got most of my information from them:
Retinoids Acne Scarring) Topical retinoids (vitamin a creams). DermNet NZ Retinoids in skin care. Advancing beyond tretinoin http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...=pubmed_docsum
You can definitley take Vitamin C orally while using Retin-A/Tretinoin and you can apply Vitamin C in your skin routine but just not at the same time as when you apply your retinoid.
Vitamin C works best in the A.M. as it boosts the effects of your sunscreen (UVA protection) as well as wards off free radicals which break down the skin, and boost antioxidant levels in the skin (which inhibits melanin to a degree).
To fade scars, your number one priority should be to avoid sun damage. A great non-oily sunscreen that is inexpensive is Hawaiian Tropics Oil Free Faces SPF 30. You can also check out on several sites on the net for european sunscreens which carry Mexoyryl (Vichy Ultra Fluid Fast Drying SPF 20 and SPF 60 are great, matte and offer excellent protection).
A vitamin C serum can help with your scarring as well. An excellent one is Skinceuticals AOX 20, you can get cheap samples off of ebay that cost 5 bucks and last for 3 weeks. SkinMedica Vitamin C complex is actually the best on the market (according to PubMed) but its very expensive, plus it has silicones so it might not be the best for acne-prone, sensitive skin.
How quickly we forget . A few days ago I was so excited because I was seeing signs that my permatan was lifting by noticing that my face was looking lighter. In that short time it became the new normal, and I am still looking for changes. I know I will not be seeing changes daily, yet I am always expecting it.
Since I am going to be increasing my Lactic Acid lotion in a few days, I decided to skip using Kojie Soap today and just use the lotion twice. Can't wait to get my 'package' though
So I've been thinking, 'Skin Care' like most other things eg: Diet, Exercise, a new Shampoo & Conditioner, initially you will get a WOW !!! After continuous use, that WOW fades . You need to have an alternate, or maybe skip a few days then come back to it. Our body's get acclimated to things, so we need to 'shake things up'. For instance, after using my Kojic Aid Soap and Amlactin for just a few days, my Salt Bath water was gunky. After a week of using those same things, my Salt Bath water was, at most..cloudy. The surface dead skin came off easily. The skin just below that may need some time to loosen up, and I may need to give it a few days ?? I don't know for sure. I may have read that skin cells regenerate every 28 days. So I will lay off the Kojic soap on my body for a day or two. However for my face, I still have on hand Vitamin-C Cleanser, and Glycolic Cleanser form Serious Skin Care, that I can use instead of Kojie just to shake things up a little. These 'alternate facial cleansers', I will lather up, and let stand for a few minutes before rinsing. The 'shake up' for the body will be slowly increasing the %age of Lactic Acid in my Lotion every few weeks to tolerance, then I will go from there. It's all trail and error for me. I just have to see what works. I am not a PJ, and I am not trying to split an Atom . I am also FRUGAL. This is not going to bankrupt me .
Like I mentioned a page or two ago I will be on a search for DIY Sun Protection..Found this
Authored by Iamme from SCT
Recipe for 35% ZnO Sunscreen - (I like this one better)
•60 grams of Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion •7.5 grams of Grapeseed oil •36 grams of coated zinc oxide (micronized bordering on nano) •.3 grams of polysorbate 80 (it was 9 small drops for me)
Recipe for 25% ZnO Sunscreen
•60 grams of Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion •7.5 grams of Grapeseed oil •22.5 grams of coated zinc oxide (micronized bordering on nano) •.3 grams of polysorbate 80 (it was 9 small drops for me)
1.With a milk frother, mix the Aveeno and oil. 2.Add the ZnO and stir by hand just enough to get the powder incorporated. 3.Add the Polysorbate 80 and then mix with the frother for a couple minutes, scraping the sides. 4.It's quite thick, so I have to use a tamping motion with my mixer.
Here are the attributes of this sunscreen:
•easy and fast to make - anyone can make this one! •high ZnO content •very reasonabe price for a high % zinc oxide sunscreen •the 35% formula leaves a very slight lighter cast. Just enough so I don't need foundation! •the 25% formula goes on invisible •soaks in immediately •not greasy •not sticky •leaves skin feeling moisturized all day •leaves a matte finish •allows makeup to glide over it nicely •zero scent •can be reapplied a bunch of times with no balling or other negative effects
Unfortunately, it is not water resistant and will not hold up to sweating.
Note - Mix 1/2 or 1/3 of a batch the first time, to see if you like it so you don't waste ingredients.
Unfortunately, when SCT changed the site format, everyone's great comments were lost. Since this original recipe was posted, I have changed it so the feel is not so dry. The new version sinks in and is matte, but not too dry.
New Recipe for 25% ZnO Sunscreen
27 grams of Cerave Moisturizing Lotion
6.5 grams of oil (I used a combo of Apricot, Grapeseed, jojoba)
12 grams of coated zinc oxide (micronized bordering on nano)
I guess I am not the best judge of my progress, or lack of it . I say this because I was CARDED today. I thought this lady was kidding, but her mouth fell open when I presented my ID. She said "I guess black really don't crack". Even at 21 y/o I looked older. Bless her heart, she made my day . That permatan, and uneven skin tone really ages a person.
Mail-person has not yet delivered my package . I cannot be too upset, Veterans Day threw everything off. Tomorrow after all, is, another day.
My apologies to the USPS . I spoke too soon. They just delivered my LA and pH strips . The first thing I did was test the pH of my Amlactin, and it is 5.5 . This is good as a lotion and peeling over a long period of time. So I am going to mix up the magic, and get this puppy down to a peeling pH of > 3.5
So I MUST try to remember the the lower pH (<4) has nothing to do with the %age of the Lotion. DUH !!!(it does, but not in this instance) After getting out my trusty scale and calculator, mixed everything up, the pH was 4.5 . So, I added a few more milliliters of LA, It came to between 4.0 and 4.5. I totally forgot I was trying to get a 15% LA lotion..DUH again. Fortunately I was able the remember that 15% lotion WILL have a slightly higher pH. But all was not lost. My lotion turned out to be 16-17% LA, which is still tolerable. I even put some on my face ....No problem, but I was fully prepared to rinse it off if it burned.
My Neck and decollete' are still my problem areas. I cannot leave anything there for too long. I guess the Kojie soap will have to do for now. I am also thinking that I may try putting lotion there approx an hour before showering
Now, I have 40 Ozs LA (the price was right ), plus S&H is so ridiculous. Sometime next week I will try a 'peel' on my Elbows, maybe 45%.
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