No matter who you are, September has a way of giving us all a sense of that ‘back to school’ mindset and that includes taking care of our health and our skin. Because, let’s be honest, while summer was fun and all, it often brings with it the telltale signs of underlying sun damage that freckle our nose and leave blotches across our cheeks and chest. To tackle it head-on, Dr. Marnie Nussbaum is sharing her top dermatologist-recommended fall skin treatments for banishing brown spots and unwanted pigmentation in no time.
Summer is over and we’re all facing the music. What do you recommend patients do once September hits and they want to tackle pigmentation?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: We all get back from summer and look in the mirror with horror at the sun damage and pigmentation that has resulted from all those fun, rosé-filled afternoons by the pool or the beach. The best thing to do is take immediate action with a combination of topical skin products, chemical peels and laser resurfacing procedures.
First, skin lightening serums are critical for preparing the skin before laser treatments. They can help start to break up the pigment and even out skin tone. Second, non-ablative laser treatments can minimize pigmentation and brighten your complexion. Third, regular alpha hydroxy acid peels can also gently exfoliate the top layers of skin cells while minimizing pigmentation and encouraging new collagen and elastin growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Lastly, just because summer is over do NOT stop wearing sunscreen daily!
There are so many different types of laser treatments out there. What do you recommend for patients who are laser-shy and afraid of downtime?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: If downtime is a major concern, the Clear + Brilliant laser treatment is a perfect option for reducing pigmentation and evening out skin tone. The procedure takes about 20 minutes. Expect to be red for a few hours and then feel scaly for a few days (however, your appearance is perfect to go out and about the very next day). Three to four treatments are best to obtain maximal results.
And for those of us who want to see the fastest results possible (with nerves of steel)?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: For those of us with no patience, the Fraxel 1927 laser is the best treatment to get the fastest results. We numb you for about 45 minutes and then the procedure takes about 30-40 minutes. Expect to be red and swollen the first two days. The pigment subsequently lifts up and peels off for the next 3-4 days. (You will not want to have any social obligations lined up for 5-7 days). However, you will end up with a new canvas of glowing skin!
What about skincare? Do you have any top recommendations for keeping skin looking even-toned alongside in-office procedures?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: I always recommend a lightening serum in conjunction with either of the above procedures such as Skinbetter Science Even Tone Correcting serum which is a non-hydroquinone lightening serum and therefore less irritating. As always, retinol will enhance results as they increase skin cell turnover and break up pigment (however, they are not to be used a few days before or after treatment). Lastly, vitamin C serum is essential before treatment and especially after treatment to maintain a pigment-free glow. After treatment, the serum actually penetrates deeper due to the microscopic channels we created with the laser and therefore it is used to enhance the laser results. A favorite of mine is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic.
Final words of wisdom?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: As boring as it sounds, pre and post-procedure sunscreen is essential in preventing and maintaining a clear, glowing visage! I promise you, it’s worth it!