Thick, Rough Age Spots: What Are They & How Can You Get Rid of Them?

If you’ve been finding rough age spots on your body, you’re certainly not alone. Men and women often visit our clinic complaining of these spots that crop up in places like their hairlines, tops of their hands, under their breasts or on their backs, and that are rough or almost crusty to the touch. These spots, called seborrheic keratosis, are often darker than the rest of your skin and can become irritated when clothing rubs against them. More than anything, however, most people don’t like how they look and want to know how to get rid of them. Continue reading “Thick, Rough Age Spots: What Are They & How Can You Get Rid of Them?”

Demystifying Stretch Marks

The how and the why of striae distensae

Most people think those red wiggly lines often forming on breasts, abdomens and buttocks come from over stretching causing tearing. Thinking that, it was blamed on the top layer of the skin (epidermis). Actually the marks are from inflammation and scar reaction in the most active layer – the dermis. Bundles of collagen are ruptured and the stretchy fiber elastin thins until it disappears.

What’s to blame?

HORMONES! Stretch marks develop from over secretion from the adrenal glands which sit above the kidneys. Any disturbance creating an imbalance of body cortisone or glucocorticosteroids disturbs the programming process on the fibroblasts, interfering with building and repairing tissue.

Causes

  1. Puberty.
  2. Pregnancy.
  3. Rapid weight gain – whatever the cause.
  4. Intense power training.
  5. Taking oral creatine or steroids as part of muscle bulking.
  6. Chronic application of topical steroids, example: for eczema, psoriasis or other skin conditions.
  7. Excessive steroid stress stimulation – the “Super Woman Syndrome” – particularly a problem for women which creates an average higher cortisol level than normal.
  8. Some metabolic chronic diseases such as Cushings Disease/Marfan Syndrome.

Weight training, specifically lifting impressive weights without a graduated program causes severe muscle strain which yields micro tearing in the muscle strands. This will send a cascade of pain and inflammation causing the adrenals to produce cortisols. These cortisols are directed to damaged muscle to decrease the pain and inflammation and start a cascade of healing but in the process the excessive steroid in the area stimulates the imbalance and starts the cascade in a different direction towards dermal damage and developing stretch marks.

Puberty

By definition this is the time frame when hormonal secretions take off. This is the first time that there is a perfect storm for tissue tearing to occur. Often girls will notice initially marks coming on the breasts followed by the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Generally the timing will be linked to the start of menstruation. Pubescent boys may notice less dramatic changes but will still see marks commonly showing on the lower back and buttocks.

Pregnancy

Generally from 6 months to term massive doses of hormones are directed to a woman’s abdomen to accelerate fetal development. The dermis is stretched from the inside and weakens creating inflammation and tearing resulting in red marks. Contrary to popular belief rubbing oil/vitamin E and tummy cream concoctions can’t prevent striae – it’s not a dryness issue.

Treatments

Forever the answer was no as topical concoctions were unsatisfactory, then happily, yes! With the technology that brought us lasers and medical skin products. Lasers like the Pulse Dye and the CO2 laser create stimulation and restructuring and are best employed during the red phase of this scarring. The new classifications of fractional lasers, which involve microscopic needling of the skin, stimulate the healing factors in the dermis and can be used on red or white striae.  

The gold standard, which is most effective, is the newest treatment – PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) – which contains the growth factors that stimulate new cell development. A persons own blood sample is spun and the clear gold plasma is drawn off which has the concentration of platelets. These are re-injected into the tissue with micro-needling equipment like the Innopen. Stretch marks do best with 3-4 treatments’ at 4 week intervals. PRP is extremely effective on any scar tissue or where reversal of damage and aging is required.

Effective Topicals

Application of potent retinols (Vitamin A) work by increasing the production of collagen, the main building block of skin. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin, improving skin color. Additional benefits include fading age spots and softening the texture of the skin. It usually takes 3-6 months of regular use to see the benefits of applying retinols to damaged skin. Since ancient times people have tried various herbal formulas to try and achieve some improvement for scars and stretch marks. Since ancient times all kinds of topical concoctions were created to try to improve scars and striae. A popular formula in ancient France was a combination of vegetable extracts from the Horsetail plant, English Ivy and Alchemilla (Ladies Mantle Plant). This through time has evolved into a French skin care product (Lierac). Medical grade products include silicon. Organic silicon works on the building blocks – fibroblasts, by increasing the protein synthesis which inhibits the effect measurably of the hormone influence.

The star of best active ingredients (besides Vitamin A) for prevention and treatment is from recent advanced medical cosmetology research. Products such as Registro and Striover which was launched in 2019 have melded herbal products and products from traditional Chinese medicine with advanced science to produce products that topically have the mechanism of repair similar to PRP but are considerably slower and probably best for mild to moderate striae.

At Laser and Skin Care Medspa we offer a treatment model that involves all these multiple modalities – topicals containing silicon, fractional lasers, Vitamin A and Platelet Rich Plasma to give the maximum effective results.

No longer do you have to be self-conscious and embarrassed and trying to hide those ugly stretch marks. No matter the color or the age of the stretch mark or scar there are effective treatments available.

Don’t Forget to Pack the Sunscreen for your Winter Get-Away

Airplane wing

Every year around this time, Canadian Snowbirds are packing their bags to escape the cold Canadian winter. With over half a million Canadians looking to get out of the cold and into the sun, it is important to remember to protect your skin with proper sunscreen. Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Though skin cancer is preventable and most often treatable, it remains the most common form of cancer.

The Ultra Violet (UV) radiation levels vary depending on the time and location. The World Health Organization posts a UV Index on their website with a list of the UV measurements according to the area. The Weather Network also has a UV Report that you allows you to type in the destination of where you are headed, and it will advise the latest reading for that area.

sunshine

Most of us understand the importance of using sunscreen to protect our skin from the damaging UV rays but with so many options of sunscreen products and different levels of protection, how is one supposed to choose? In order to select the right sunscreen for you, it is important to understand a few sunscreen basics.

Picking the proper sunscreen starts with deciding the type of exposure you are expecting. If you will only be outdoors for a few minutes at a time, a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, which filters out about 93 percent of UV radiation, is usually sufficient. If you plan on enjoying the sun longer than just a few minutes, you will want to look at a sunscreen option with a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

sunscreen

Laser and Skin Care Medspa offers high quality, affordable skincare, and sunscreen products for normal and problem skin types. Issues such as acne or rosacea require particular attention, and we take the time to discuss your options with you and gain an understanding of your skin type before recommending a product.

Though skin cancer is preventable and most often treatable, it remains the most common form of cancer. According to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, these are the types of skin cancer that are common:

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, is a skin condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (i.e. sunlight). Some experts believe that AK is the earliest form of SCC.

Basal cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form and accounts for 90% of all skin cancers. It starts in the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis (outer skin layer) and is caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. It is the most easily treated.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type. It starts in the epidermis, eventually penetrating the underlying tissue if not treated. It is easily treated when found early, but in a small percentage of cases, this cancer spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body.

Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and is responsible for the most deaths. However, it can be cured if it is diagnosed and removed early. Melanoma can develop from a pre-existing mole that appeared normal but changes, or as an irregular appearing new spot.

(the above information was taken from the website http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/about-skin-cancer.html)

Sunscreen is an integral part of a sun protective regime. You should also include time out of the sun in a shady area, wearing protective clothing such as a full brim hat and sunglasses, and avoid the UV tanning beds. If you would like assistance picking out the best sunscreen for your skin type, the professional staff at Laser and Skin Care Medspa are available to answer all your questions and make a recommendation for you.