The Hyperpigmentation Series – Part 4 – My Before Photos and My Treatment

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My cheeks and forehead have had brown splotches (aka: sun damage, hyperpigmentation, melasma) for many years.  It’s a never ending battle for me because mine is referred to as hormonal melasma, which means it’s not going away… ever.  It took me quite a while to accept this.  The good news:  with some effort I can control how dark the spots become, which is better than having no option.  But I will pretty much always have this challenge.

I began a series about hyperpigmentation back in July 2015 and this is my final installment.  Part 1 explains hyperpigmentation, Part 2 is treatment and prevention, and Part 3 shows how I use makeup to camouflage the brown spots.

My photos before treatment from July, 2015:

072615 Before Left Cheek
Left Side before
072615 Before Right Cheek
Right Side before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the “Right Side before” photo you can see the brown splotches on my forehead as well as my cheek.  I couldn’t get a good photo of my forehead without the overhead light creating a shine.

After discussing my hyperpigmentation/melasma and treatment options with my friend Wendy (who is an Esthetician at University Dermatology in Charlotte NC) we decided I would try using hydroquinone products from Obagi as well as Renova during the summer.  In the morning I used Obagi NuDerm Sunfader SPF 15 (with 4% hydroquinone) plus an additional sunscreen of SPF30, and in the evening I used Obagi NuDerm Clear (also has 4% hydroquinone) with the Renova.  These products were used until October and during that time my melasma didn’t get worse (that’s a win in my book).

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In the winter I like to get chemical peels because the days are shorter and there’s less sun exposure.  There are different types of chemical peels depending on what you want to achieve:  acne, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, improve overall complexion, or maybe there’s another reason.  Whatever your reason, there’s a peel for you.

In November and December I had a Jessner’s Peel which consists of Lactic and Salicylic Acids and Resorcinol.  This peel is no joke.  It was very effective in helping to reduce the hyperpigmentation.  By far my favorite peel.  But in January I wanted to try a medium Glycolic Acid peel (against Wendy’s recommendation) and while the results were okay, they weren’t as good as the Jessner’s (even Esthetician’s sometimes need to listen to their Esthetician friends!).

Photos after all three peels, taken in January 2016:

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Left Cheek after peel
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Right Cheek after peel

The lighting in the after photos (above) isn’t quite as bright as the before photos but you can clearly see the results.  I recently had a hysterectomy so I’m curious to see what happens with my skin over the next year.

If you’re interested in a chemical peel, do some research for one in your area and schedule a consultation.  I can’t make recommendations on what type of peel is best for you as it’s necessary to perform an evaluation and discuss your goals.  I can say that I’ve seen the best results after I’ve had several peels.

My Esthetician is Wendy Andrews at University Dermatology in Charlotte, NC and you can call for a consultation at 704-596-1787.

What skin challenges do you have?  Have you had a chemical peel before?  What kind did you have and what were your results?  I’d love to hear from you!

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