How do I get rid of dark spots on my face?

Having worked in the skin care industry for over 10 years there is one thing that plagues women about their skin, especially on their face: DARK SPOTS!  DARK SPOTS!!!!! People ask me all the time: How do I get rid of dark spots on my face?

Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation (the medical term) is a skin problem that can affect men and women of all ages, and can be very embarrassing and make people self conscious. It affects how we feel about the way we look.  And how we look affects our entire life.

I understand the difficulties of uneven skin tone and dark areas on your skin very well.  Not only do 95% of my clients come see me to correct uneven skin tone, but I also suffer from an uneven skin tone problem.  I am an olive complected Caucasian, and I have a skin condition called Melasma.

Melasma is a skin condition that affects women more than men, and is caused by our hormones, (great, one more thing to blame our hormones on).  It affects all skin tones (Caucasian, African American, Asian and Hispanic) people.  It can sometimes be easier to see on women with a lighter skin tone (skin tone 1-2) because of the contrast between their regular skin tone and the melasma.  The skin is usually “splotchy”.  The dark areas do not have even borders, and can even appear like “spatters” of dark spots on the face.  As if someone took a paintbrush and dipped in a darker skin tone and then spattered your face with the darker color.

Then there are the dreaded spots from acne.  Clients will call me and say they have “acne scarring”, or “Blemishes” or simply “dark spots” from acne.  These discolorations can occur on the face, neck, chest, shoulders and back.  Anywhere there has been an acne bump.  Acne causes redness and inflammation many times, and in skin of color inflammation or redness commonly leads to a dark spot.  The dark spots will be worse if you “pick” or “squeeze” your acne bumps.

acnemarks

So what can you do to clear up your skin???  Well, the first step is to prevention.  For melasma and sun damage that means 1) SPF 20 (at least) sunscreen on your face EVERY day that you are outside.  2) Try not to be in direct sunlight without covering your face with a hat, visor, umbrella, etc.  I wear a visor ALL summer long.  We went to the beach for our weekly vacation and my body was protected with sunscreen.  My face was protected with a big floppy hat.  I battle melasma all the time, so I protect my face from the sun as much as possible.  HATS and sunscreen are your best friends.

For acne the best prevention is an appointment with a dermatologist to get medication that will prevent you form continuing to get bumps.  I talk more about acne and treatments here.  Truly the key with acne is the proper medication to keep the bumps from coming in the first place.  Second, if you do get bumps, DO NOT PICK, SQUEEZE or otherwise mess with them.  That will help tremendously to avoid dark spots!

The next step is products.  There are prescriptions you can use to help with lightening dark spots.  Specifically the medication is “Hydroquinone”.  It has 4% hydroquinone which is a skin lightener in it, however it can be VERY expensive (most of the time at least $60.00 to sometimes over $100.00).  For comparison, a very nice over the counter product you can use to lighten dark spots is Ambi, or Porcelana fading cream.  They have 2% hydroquinone, so they are less potent than a prescription, but are more affordable.

Melasma on my forehead before Revelage

Melasma on my forehead before Revelage

Melasma on my forehead AFTER three weeks of Revelage

Melasma on my forehead AFTER three weeks of Revelage

However, my FAVORITE product that I have had LOTS of success with (I use it myself and LOVE it),  is Revelage Concentrated Age Spot minimizer.  It is marketed for “age spots”, but works GREAT on all discoloration. I have sold this product to clients, and every single one of them has seen improvement using it. (I use it and it works for me also) As a matter of fact, most of them say it works better than the prescription Hydroquinone.  It should be used two times daily (morning and night) and is botanically based which is why I love it so much.  It has ingredients in there that are botanical: nutmeg oil, ferula root extract, caffeine, and licorice root extract.  This product also has retinyl palmitate which is a form of Vitamin A and causes exfoliation which helps get dark spots off your face more quickly.This product works beautifully, smells great and is quite affordable.  (It is made by Arbonne, and must be purchased from an Arbonne rep.) It normally retails for $47.00 but I offer it to ANYONE for $38.00 which is a 20% discount, AND I will ship it to you for free (in the Cont US)!

 

Revelage spot minimizer

Revelage spot minimizer

The reason I do this is because I have dealt with dark spots for years and have tried many many products.  THIS is the one that has worked the fastest for me, and I GET IT!!  I understand how dark spots affect your self esteem,  how it feels to be unhappy with your skin and have to use makeup even in the summer (which most women HATE), and I am a firm believer in this product because it has worked for me!  See my pictures above.

Now, I am NOT going to tell you that this has been a fast or easy process, but I will tell you that minimizing the dark spots on my face has made me much more comfortable going out without makeup, and when I DO use makeup it is MUCH less than I used to use.

Pictures tell the story and if you decide to use this product I advise you to take a before pic and an after pic three weeks later to see the difference.  Yes, three weeks.  If anyone tells you something works faster than that don’t believe it. It takes time to remove dark spots.  The best prevention in the first place is: sunscreen, hats, and DON’T pick or squeeze your bumps.  If you have acne, see a dermatologist to get medicine to help prevent the acne from coming in the first place.

Please let me know if I can help.  This product worked for me and I know it can work for you too!

 

 

My son’s recent purchase of comfy shoes at Reef!

I am a woman who is a mother to three sons.  My sons are aged 20, 18, and 16.  Of my three sons I have one son who loves shoes.  In fact he owns about 10 to 15 pairs of shoes, and his favorite types of shoes are canvas sneaker shoes. He also loves flip-flops, but the canvas sneakers are his favorite. He has purchased many different types, but he only buys and wears shoes that are “comfortable and cool looking”, although to be honest I think comfortable is more important to him than looks. If he has a pair of shoes that looks amazing, but hurt his feet he won’t wear them. One of his friends told him about Reef shoes, and he has become a huge fan of their shoes. He likes them so much he spends his barista pay on them pretty frequently. Did I mention he has between 10 and 15 pairs of shoes?

In fact he bought this pair of Deck Hand 2 shoes to wear at said barista job:

deck hand2 reef

And he bought this pair of Reef Chipper sandals for when he heads to the beach:

reef chipper sandals

 

Not only are these shoes comfortable, they are affordable.

But what he (and me too to be honest) really likes about Reef is the fact that they have so much more than just shoes to choose from on their website. For guys they have board shorts, shirts, tanks, sweatshirts and jackets, shoes, sandals, socks, beanies, and accessories. For girls they have boots, sandals, and shoes. They even have shoes and sandals that are for little feet and many of them are designed with a strap on the back to keep them from slipping off of little guys and little girls feet.

My oldest son has always been a “skater” dude and Reef is a great place to buy him the clothing and shoes he loves. However, their clothing line for guys is not just designed for skaters, but men can also choose from casual lounge shorts to shorts and pants that would be perfect for hanging out, going on a date or business casual. That is why Reef works so well for my family. With three boys living here with three different styles this is a place where I can shop for all three of them at one store. I am sure many moms have experienced taking their kids shopping and having to go to many different stores to get just one or two outfits. Reef is definitely a place we can do “one stop shopping”.

Another great feature is the locator for where you can purchase Reef clothing locally to your area. I know for my kids, trying things on, and seeing them in person is very important. While Reef doesn’t have a store near me, I can still purchase their clothing at 4 separate retailers within 15 miles of my house. That makes it very convenient, and even if we still choose to shop online, we will at least have had an opportunity for the boys to see, and try on some of the clothes they like. Most states have stores where you can purchase Reef items locally, but if not, they do provide FREE shipping on orders over $75.00 and FREE on ALL returns.

So if you are in the market for cool, affordable sandals, shoes and clothes for your guy or gal, or even for yourself, check out Reef, and I am quite sure you will find something you love!

How Should Parents Deal With Teenage Heartbreak

My oldest bio kid is a moody person.  He alternates between sullen, annoyed and morose.  Every now and then, we have a rare glimpse of a smile.  Although I will say his mood has improved as he has gotten a little older.  He just graduated high school, and he seems happier. A little……

I was recently thinking about the times in his teen years when he has been at his mopiest, and every time his dark mood has somehow involved a girl.  Usually it is the worst right after a girl breaks up with him.  Which seems to always be how his relationships end.  I don’t think he has ever broken up with a girl, he always seems to be the one who is dumped.

So I wondered why he is always the dumpee and not the dumper.  Surely I talked to him about relationships.  I know I did.  When he would let me.  I did my best to teach him how to be kind and compassionate.  To respect the boundaries of his partner, to be respectful, and try to give 50/50 in a relationship.  Of course I can talk and talk, but he will only take in what he wants to take in.

And I will say that I have seen improvement in his interactions with females.  His girlfriends seem happier with him with each new girl he dates.  I think maybe he is learning how to be a better boyfriend with each new relationship.  Three girls ago he would have her visit at our house and he would proceed to play PS3 games she had no interest in while she just sat there.  That relationship didn’t last too long. Hmmmmm, I wonder why not??

The next one didn’t last too long either (thank goodness).  I was happy to see her go because she just made me uncomfortable.  She was a little too “touchy feely”, in my opinion and many times when I was making my “check ups” I would find her laying down on the couch with her head in his lap.  Maybe not so bad, but they were 16 and 15…a little young for that in my opinion.  She moved on pretty quickly, I guess I made to many “checks” when they were at my house…..not sure….

I really liked the next girl.  She came into our house to visit and interacted with the family in a friendly, open manner.  She actually spoke to the grownups, and interacted with my younger son as well.  She was funny, she was smart, she was very pretty, but alas she didn’t last that long either.  They dated for about 6 months.  A mutual friend of theirs told me that she broke up with him because she was ready to move into more “adult” physical relations and my son wasn’t…….whew…….dodged that bullet…….for now at least.

So, how should parents deal with teenage heartbreak?

So over the years I have had to deal with teenaged relationships and the heartbreak that follows when they end.  My advice to parents dealing with this is to give the kid a day or so, and then cautiously approach them……in the same manner you would approach a wounded animal……softly, slowly and calmly.

I NEVER NEVER said anything about more “fish in the sea” or how his feelings “weren’t real”.  I have always believed that teenage love feelings are JUST as strong as adult love feelings.  They aren’t as mature as adult feelings, but they are definitely just as strong, if not stronger with those raging hormones and all…..

My lines after bio kids heartbreaks have been things like, “why don’t you hang out with your squad instead”, and even “give it some time and it will get better.”  He usually perks up…a bit.  Especially when I point out all of his cool points and remind him that “karma is a bitch”, and one day he would be on top of the world and the girl might not.

I always tried to explain to him that his feelings are valid and that yes it sucks, but in time he will feel better.  I have encouraged him to invite friends over to play video games and have promised to feed them pizza and brownies.  I have tried to keep him busy to keep his mind off of his broken heart, and it works at times. Sometimes he still feels great pain for awhile. Each break up is a little different for him, as he matures and gets closer to adulthood.

I remember being a teenager and all of the drama, angst and difficulty it brought.  I remember having my heart broken.  I remember being in love.  I am one of those adults who believes teens can love each other and be in love.  Granted it may not be a mature love, but I believe it is love nonetheless.  Think about it those of you who are naysayers….your teen knows how to love you, and family members. So they know how to love.  Why can’t they have those same deep feelings for a boyfriend or girlfriend their own age?????

I shared with him the story of my “first love” and how that boy had broken my heart and dumped me for a girl named Jill.  (Those of you who went to high school with me get three guesses who I am talking about).  I told him how I had my “revenge” when after I graduated I ran into First Love boy and he wanted to date me again.  I had the karmic joy of telling him, “dream on buddy.”  That felt good.  (He liked that story, he even had a little gleam in his eye.)  His response was, “Yeah, when I am an Aerospace Engineer making the big bucks, she will be sorry.”  I did NOT dissuade him, who am I to steal his dream?????  (Ummmm, if she even remembers you dude, but okaaayy)…..

But the bottom line is that teenage heartbreak and young adult heartbreak are very real to our kids, and we should not discount it.  Just allow them to feel their feelings, and encourage and love them the best way you can.  This too shall pass….