Vitamin C Skin Treatments

Shannon Smyth

Age spots caused by sun damage, scars, dark brown spots (for whatever reason) - all of the things we wish to fade away in order to regain a near-perfect canvas. Having done EVERYTHING wrong to my skin in my younger days, from using the tanning booth to rarely using sunscreen, to picking at my blemishes and never taking off my makeup before just not taking care of my skin in general, I'm now paying the price.

Note to beauty girls piling on the makeup with contouring, baking, highlighting, over-doing it on your brows, skipping the sunscreen, etc etc. - you will one day regret how you treated your skin during this trend of makeup excess. TRUST.

But I digress.

If you don't have the time or budget for cosmetic treatments to help undo skin damage, then your best bet (aside from being smart about skin care going forward) is to use Vitamin C skin treatments to brighten your skin and fade hyperpigmentation.

The thing is, just any Vitamin C treatment won't do. When searching for the perfect Vitamin C product, you need two things: a stable form of Vitamin C and a high concentration of it (i.e. not the last thing listed on the label so that the brand can make claims.)

A stable form of Vitamin C is the most potent - if your Vitamin C is brown, then it is oxidized and not stable, therefore ineffective. It's also important to note that some Vitamin C treatments do give a stinging sensation. Everyone's skin reacts differently and I've found that some products sting (briefly) while I feel absolutely nothing from others. I can only think that this is due to the other ingredients in the product that may help to counteract the stinging.

So what has worked for me? Paula's Choice Resist Vitamin C Spot Treatment, InviCible Scars and emerginC Vitamin C Serum.

Paula's Choice Vitamin C Spot Treatment: 25% Vitamin C, the highest I have ever used. It does sting, but goes away within seconds. There's no fragrance to it and it says it works on all skin types. It is a white lotion, that feels "dry." Unless you've tried it, it's difficult to explain. It doesn't feel like a typical creamy lotion, which isn't a bad thing, but worth noting. It absorbs quicky and there is no greasy feeling. It's the smallest tube of the 3 mentioned (15ml) at a high price point ($55.)

InviCible Scars: 17% Vitamin C and it did not sting. It has no scent to it and is also meant for all skin types. This is a silky, white lotion which is partly due to the silicone (one of the best treatments for scars) and skin-softening ingredients like aloe, sunflower and safflower seed oil. I've used this on my face for dark spots, but I have also used it in the past for my burn scar. Using a small amount, it does not feel greasy and I found that it absorbs well. (28ml for $28.99)

emerginC Vitamin C Serum: 12% Vitamin C and it did not sting (they also have a 20% version.) My immediate thought when applying this serum is that it is perfect for combination skin, as it is a liquid gel serum. It does have a slight orange scent to it, but it fades once absorbed into your skin.  There is no greasy feeling and I like that it came in a large bottle (30ml for $83.)

While most stable Vitamin C products come in dark or concealed tubes/bottles, this one is in a clear bottle, so you *must* keep it in a dark place or it will become unstable.

Another thing to keep in mind, fading dark spots and scarring takes time. There is no quick fix. This is skin damage and takes consistent use over a period of time to see a difference - typically 12 weeks. Your best bet is to take a before picture of yourself and at the 12 week mark take another in order to note progress.

You must always wear broad spectrum sunscreen forever. And ever. Vitamin C causes photosensitivity, so if you aren't protecting your face when wearing these products, then you really are voiding their benefits. Once you have faded the pigmentation, you'll still need to wear sunscreen, as UV rays can re-darken the area (and no it won't fade like your tan will.) 

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Lighten Dark Spots with Dermalogica PowerBright Trx Trio

Shannon Smyth
Fade dark spots with @dermalogica PowerBright TRx Trio via @agirlsgottaspa I'm paying for the skin sins of my youth in hyperpigmentation and an abundance of dark spots from both acne and lack of sunscreen usage. Over the years I've learned how to best conceal them with makeup in order to fake a great complexion. However, when the makeup comes off nightly, reality sets in and it is not pretty. There are plenty of times when I am simply makeup-free (due to lack of time, exhaustion or simply not feeling it) and I'd really rather not have my face look like a leopard. Or, as they say, "Showing my age." Your skin is your canvas, if it looks great, you'll need much less makeup in order to conceal imperfections. I think of my skin as an investment and makeup should be just to dress it up - not to fix it. Now there's nothing out there that will completely undo all of the photodamage, acne scars and marks, but there are skin care products that will do a substantial amount of work to help minimize the appearance of the damage done. Designed to be layered onto the skin for optimum efficacy and integrated into any existing Dermalogica regimen, the PowerBright TRx Trio are silky-smooth, peptide-rich formulas that work around the clock for the brightest, most even skin tone. In the trio are the PowerBright C-12 Pure Bright Serum, Pure Light with SPF50 moisturizer and Pure Night overnight treatment cream. I've been using it for over a month now to treat the dark patches on my skin and the ruddiness I tend to get around my nose and across my cheeks. There's nothing I want more than to even out my skin tone and spend less on cosmetics. C-12 Pure Bright Serum: This is an odorless, lightweight serum that isn't greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin. Use it twice a day after cleansing and prior to the day or night PowerBright skin treatment. Pure Light with SPF50: This daytime skin treatment is a creamy white moisturizer that has the initial scent of Noxema, however that scent disappears once applied to the skin. For the first two weeks of using this moisturizer my skin would tingle, but then I noticed it stopped happening with repeated use. The tingling didn't hurt, it was just noticeable as my other moisturizers have never done that. This treatment isn't greasy, is of medium weight and has a strong SPF of 50, which is great as UV rays are what activate melanin production and cause the photodamage to begin with. (This is why in the Summer months when you are outdoors more, your age spots get darker.) My skin felt super soft and supple using both the Pure Bright and Pure Light together. Pure Night: This overnight treatment has the consistency of a gel-cream mix with a citrus fragrance. I love how hydrating it is while containing potent dark spot fighting ingredients to really combat the signs of aging while you sleep. So did I see a difference? Yes! Mind you, it was not immediate and nor should you expect a miracle transformation from any product right away, but there is a definite noticeable difference in my face after a few weeks of using it. Typically I have to use both a liquid concealer and CC powder just to make my skin look even-toned. However, since using the Dermalogica PowerBright TRx Trio, I've been able to skip the concealer entirely and only use a minimal amount of CC powder. To me, this spells improvement. Not to mention, the big Melasma patch on my forehead has faded significantly. I'm happy with the results and will continue using it. Have you tried it? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: Sample and affiliate links

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Fade Scars and Dark Spots with InviCible Scars

Shannon Smyth
Fade scars and dark spots with @inviciblescars With reports of skin cancer, breast cancer, c-sections and cosmetic surgery – all on the rise – so too is the incidence of scarring. Not surprisingly, once the healing process sets in – both physical and psychological – the first thing people with fresh scars want to do is fade them. I know that when I had my gall bladder out, it left behind a large scar that I quickly wanted to hide. From working with the team behind InviCible Scars there are something things I've learned when it comes to fading scars (and dark spots) -- there is more to it than just applying a cream. Ironically, people’s first inclination in response to a new scar is to sit in the sun to help even out the color and texture. I know that with previous scars, this is exactly what I thought I should do. While sun exposure is essential for vitamin D absorption, it’s perhaps the worst possible thing a person can do for a scar. UV exposure not only darkens a scar’s appearance (sometimes even permanently), especially among more olive-toned complexions, but it can also impact texture, causing the scar to thicken. For those who can’t avoid the sun entirely this summer, Dr. Chrysopoulo (the plastic surgeon behind InviCible) recommends using a topical scar cream, like InviCible, and ALWAYS covering the area with a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30.  There are also various factors influencing the scar healing process:
  • Age – younger skin is more prone to abnormal and exaggerated healing. This can lead to hypertrophic or keloid scars. Older skin takes longer to recover.
  • Skin type – scar healing is typically worse in people with darker skin types. African and Hispanic ancestry is associated with a higher risk of developing hypertrophic or keloid scars.
  • Genetics – abnormal scarring can be inherited.
  • Location – Movement of scars over joints can make them wider.
  • Infection – Infected wounds do not heal well. The final scar may be raised, wide, uneven and abnormally red or dark.
  • Poor nutrition – Not eating healthily deprives the body of nutrients (like protein), vitamins (like vitamin C) and minerals (like copper and zinc) that are needed for optimal wound healing.
  • Smoking – Cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to clamp down and decrease blood flow. Wounds that do not receive enough blood are more prone to poor wound healing and worse scarring.
  • Sun exposure – Exposing fresh scars to the sun causes permanent redness. We can improve each stage of scar formation by using a high quality scar treatment.
Would you spend money to fix a problem and, at the same time, sabotage the outcome? Unless you watch your diet while your scar is healing, that is exactly what you may be doing… Research has shown that certain nutrients play critical roles in wound healing, and that typical Western diets may not provide enough of them. This is a list of the most important ones. If you suspect your diet does not have enough of them, consider taking supplements while your scar is forming.
  • Protein –breaks down into amino acids. Especially L-Arginine and Glutamine are very important. They can increase the amount of reparative collagen, help white blood cells and fight of bacterial infections.
  • Vitamin C - is crucial for proper collagen production. Experts say that wound healing requires more Vitamin C than daily food intake normally provides.
  • Vitamin B Complex – speeds up wound healing, increases protein synthesis and the amount of repair cells at the wound. It also prevents excessive inflammation. Vitamin B5 is particularly beneficial right after the wound occurs.
  • Vitamin A – promotes tissue synthesis and enhances resistance to infection.
  • Zinc – has reduced healing time after surgery by 43% in some cases. Zinc can also reduce inflammation and bacterial growth, whereas a deficiency can worsen the scar.
Other things to watch? Make sure you eat enough omega-6 or omega-3 fatty acids and drink enough liquid. Some guidelines say that men should drink 13 eight-ounce cups and women 9 eight-ounce cups of water, juice or milk. Soup, fruit and vegetables factor into the total. So as you can see, if you want your scar to heal, there are many more things to do in addition to using a scar treatment. What I love about InviCible is that if you use it on your face for either surgical or acne scarring or to fade age spots (like I am), it also works great as a makeup primer! *Disclosure, affiliate links

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