Saturday, July 3, 2010


Hello Beloveds!
Penny's back. I hope you missed me. LOL! So sorry for the delay in posts...but sometimes we have to pause for a cause.

So what does Penny have to share with you today? Skincare trials. Yes...some old products, some new. Penny was recently diagnosed with melasma and had to make significant changes to her skincare regimen. Over the past year or so I noticed dark patches on my face which I thought may have been sun damage from years of being a self-proclaimed sun goddess. But none of the over-the-counter fade creams/gels worked. Melasma is a skin condition that causes hyper pigmentation usually on the face, and it is exacerbated by the sun. Here is the medical definition.

Melasma -- Pigmentation of the face, most commonly on the malar area (the upper cheek), bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip, that occurs in half of women during pregnancy. Melasma darkens from sun or any UV exposure. Sunscreens are essential. They should be broad spectrum.

Sometimes called the 'mask of pregnancy,' melasma can also be caused by birth control pills; and women who are neither pregnant or on birth control can sometimes have melasma. In order to get rid of the frustrating dark patches on my forehead, outer corners of my eyes and upper cheeks, my dermatologist prescribed Tri-Luma. This prescription strength (4%) hydroquinone cream contains tretinoin, and fluocinolone acetonide. It did a pretty good job of fading my discoloration. I have been on the treatment for almost two months but will stop treatment by the end of August before going back to the dermatologist in September. Because the medicine is fairly strong, it is not prescribed for more than 2-3 months at a time. It is recommended that you stop treatment for about 6-8 weeks before using it again. It is an expensive medication that is often not covered by medical sale price at the dermatologist office was $113. Ouch! It was not covered by insurance and would have been anywhere from $120-$160 if I took the prescription to the pharmacy. But the .30g tube will last more than a year for sure; it is a spot treatment. (read full story...)
Once I began the Tri-Luma treatment I then had to up the ante on my moisturizer and sunscreen regimen. I stopped using Neutrogena Ageless Restorative Renewal Moisture Cream, SPF 30 (mornings) and Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Tone Correcting Concentrated Serum (nights), because they were stinging my face and eyes when I would apply them. [The prescription meds may have made my skin sensitive to some of the ingredients in the Neutrogena products]. While on any hydroquinone regimen most dermatologist will prescribe an SPF of 30 or more. Protecting your face from the sun is key to improving the skin as it could reverse the lightening of the dark areas. I chose to use Clinique's Face Cream SPF 30 with SolarSmart and UVA/UVB protection ($17.50, 1.7oz @ Sephora). I like this product because it is not greasy, it's unscented, and absorbs well. I use it after my moisturizer and under my foundation primer if I decide to wear make-up. The most challenging thing the dermatologist asked me to do was reapply my sunscreen throughout the day. This I have not done. I usually don't go out in the sun during the week except on my way to and from work, so this has not been a priority for me. On the weekends I have been wearing hats and I carry my sunscreen with me in case I need to reapply (on the days when I'm not wearing make-up of course).

For my daily moisturizer I switched 'back' to Olay Regenerist Deep Hydrating Regenerating products since they worked for me in the past (about $15, @ drugstores). I chose a moisturizer without SPF so that I could use it both day and night, and I simply wear sunscreen only when I'm going outdoors. I've noticed that the Olay Regenerist products have improved my skin texture and gotten rid of my dry patches. My skin is smoother and looks healthier (sans the occasional break out on my forehead or chin).

Overall this regimen has been working well. My skin is less irritated and my complexion is improving nicely. My biggest disappointment is that I can't really get that golden tan I aim for in the summer. I miss my sun goddess days. But it’s time to be a more responsible beauty bunny and do what's best for my not-so-youthful skin. 

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

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