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Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots: Are they sun damage or just age spots?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots:

 Q: Roxanne, I have brown spots on my face, arms and chest.  How do I know if they are caused from sun damage or if they are just age spots?

A: Lentigos, or lentigines are commonly referred to as brown spots, sun spots, liver spots or age spots.  They appear as flat spots in various shades of brown that appear on skin that has been over exposed to the sun. These spots can appear on the face, arms, shoulders, neck, chest, hands; anywhere the skin has been over-exposed to the sun. Typically, the lighter the skin and the more sun exposure one has, the greater accumulation or chance of accumulation of sun spots.

Melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment in the skin are activated to produce more pigment (melanin) when you are exposed to ultraviolet rays. Because the symptoms of excessive sun damage are cumulative, these spots increase with age, hence the term “age spots.” They are more common in lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick 1-3), such as those who freckle and who burn easily but can appear in any skin type.

I recommend applying a medical-grade, physical sunblock such as Physical Defense by Castillo MD Skin Science, 365 days per year, to all skin that will be exposed.  Not only is this your best defense for future sun damage but  you may find that the brown spots that you have become lighter over time.

There are  treatments that can help to rid your skin of brown spots as well. CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing is typically an excellent option.  A series of Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments can also deliver very good  results.  Some chemical peels  can improve spots to some degree as well as skin bleaching or lightening agents like Advanced Lightening Complex or Spot Light. 

While sun spots themselves are not cancerous, if you have had enough lifetime sun exposure to develop brown spots, this may place you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  Therefore, it’s a good idea have your physician examine them for changes from time to time.

Warmly,

Roxanne Grace Hammond
Skincare & Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY http://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com

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800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

 

The Characteristics of Beautiful Skin

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

While sitting in a small room in a Champaign office recently, I over-heard an elated young lady boasting about the beautiful diamond she received over the holiday. Her gushing excitement was infectious. I found myself feeling almost as excited as she, yet I couldn’t even see the diamond!

I then began to wonder “what it is that makes diamonds or other precious gems for that matter generate that type of admiration.” I would guess most of us regard diamonds as a thing of beauty… but why? What specifically is it that makes girls go gaga over diamonds? Is it the number of carats? Could it be the shape of the stone that is so enchanting?

To me, it is the clarity and color of the stone. I would much prefer a petite diamond with such superior color and clarity that it shimmers and dances in the light, and highlights every curve and contour, to a cloudy, three carat diamond that lacks life and luster. Would you agree? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely a fan of big rocks. I’m not trying to fool anyone here. Size does matter! It just falls short without superior color and clarity.

So why am I even talking about diamonds in a skincare blog?

Well, the characteristics that make a diamond sparkle and radiate beauty are very similar to the characteristics of beautiful skin. I mean is there anyone out there who would not be flattered to have their skin compared to a radiant, flawless diamond? Just as clarity and color are mandatory characteristics of a beautiful diamond, clarity and color are also key factors in creating beautiful skin.

Achieving superior skin color means that your skin is free of brown spots, freckles, redness, broken vessels and melasma. Skin clarity refers to skin that is free of rough texture, flakes, dull skin, large pores, acne, keratoses and moles. Superior color and clarity can be achieved through treatments such as traditional CO2 Full Face Laser Resurfacing , CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing, IPL, medical grade bleaching agents such as Castillo MD Skin Science  Advanced Skin Lightening Complex or Spot Light, medical microdermabrasion, chemical peels and medical grade skincare products.

I would say that most people who are bothered by facial aging are focused on wrinkles. When they look in the mirror, they see an aging face with a custom set of lines and wrinkles that have formed after years of abuse, mainly by sun exposure, and other factors. However, most often, removing wrinkles is only half the battle. It is the brown spots, broken vessels, rough texture and dull, flaking skin that create a less youthful appearance.

The concept of color and clarity is an important concept to understand. One must realize that if you treat only the lines and wrinkles of an aging face whether it be though a facelift, forehead lift, fat grafting, Botox or dermal filler such as Restylane Lift,  you are likely to find yourself feeling more like cubic zirconium than the real thing.

Here’s to wishing you the kind of admiration only superior color and clarity can generate.

DSC_0040Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY

Join us on Facebook
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

Ask Our Expert – Stress Acne

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Ask Our Expert:  Social Acne

Q: The only time I seem to get acne is just before an important social event.  Could this really be happening or is it just my imagination?  Is there something I can do to prevent these embarrassing breakouts?

A:  The stress generated from preparing for a social event and wanting to look your best can have a large effect on your skin.  Increased stress can actually have a physical effect on your skin because stress increases the production of cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that can boost oil production.  Dead skin cells are then pulled into your pores causing acne to form. When your oil glands quickly become over-active, it can not only cause those embarrassing breakouts that you are referring to but often leaves skin looking dull and lifeless.

I would recommend scheduling an appointment at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic about a 7 – 10 before your next stressful event for a Vitalize Peel. For your convenience, Dr. Castillo offers this treatment at both his Savoy (Champaign – Urbana) and Bloomington locations.  The Vitalize Peel will eliminate much of the dead skin cells before they can be pulled down into pores when you experience that stress-hormone release. It will also leave your skin radiant and refreshed for your big event.  During this appointment we can also talk about  designing a medical grade skincare program around these issues.

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

 

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)  309-662-0436 Bloomington

Teenage Acne

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

TEENAGE ACNE

Acne is far from a simple skin condition.  It possesses the power to produce both physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime. Acne does not discriminate against race, gender or age.  It elects to play a prominent role in them all. Though acne can begin at almost any stage in life, this blog entry will focus primarily on teenage acne.

I think we can all agree that teenagers face enough pressure without the added stress that acne can cause.  It is important to take this condition seriously. It is particularly important for those teens that are embarrassed or ashamed to get the treatment they need.  Many of the adult patients who come to see us in our Champaign and Bloomington, Illinois offices report that their parents thought that acne was just a part of adolescence; that nothing could be or should be done to control it. And now as adults, they are still dealing with the poor self-image they developed during that time.

Too often, at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Center, we see adult patients whose emotional scars far out-weigh their physical ones.  After Dr. Castillo has removed their acne scars with CO 2 full face laser resurfacing and dermabrasion, they are excited and proud of their new smooth, beautiful skin.  However, some patients still find it difficult to over-come the deep seeded emotional scars that acne leaves behind.

Acne can have a devastating effect on a teen’s self-esteem and body image. Has your teen become withdrawn, refused to go to school or a social event because of their acne?  Acne can abruptly turn a self-assured, social butterfly into a self-conscious recluse.  This type of emotional distress can be prevented or at least minimized with immediate treatment for their acne.

The treatment for acne can be as complex as the condition itself because acne comes in different forms with many treatment options. To make it as simple as possible, if your teen has mild acne (black heads and white head without pustules) over-the-counter topical solutions like Benzoyl Peroxide or salicylic acid may be all it takes to put a smile back on their face. In some instances, they may need a medical-grade strength at-home skincare regimen such as Castillo MD Skin Science along with the addition of chemical peels, laser light treatments, Acne facials or microdermabrasion may also be effective. If your child has moderate to severe acne, don’t wait, seek medical treatment.  Your doctor can help control the out-breaks with education, oral and/or topical prescription medications. If your child is experiencing deep pustules, red, inflamed skin, cystic acne, or is beginning to scar, a more aggressive treatment such as Accutane (isotretinoin) may be required.

It is important to acknowledge the psychological effects that some teens develop when suffering from acne.  If you notice that your teen is avoiding friends and social situations, the support of a mental health professional may also be needed to assure they have the coping tools to maintain a healthy self-image during this stressful time.

Talk with your teen about the idea that acne treatments are preventative in nature.  This means that the treatment is not meant to clear the present acne but is used to prevent future acne break-outs and inflammation. Most treatments will take a few months to become effective. Encourage your teen continue faithfully with their treatment regimen even though they feel like it is not working.  They are likely to become frustrated at times until they see the results of their dedication has finally paid off.

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

Roxanne Hammond

Skin Care & Laser Specialist for Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

ASK OUR EXPERT: Maintaining beautiful skin

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Q: Lately, friends have made comments about me looking tired. They are right, I do look tired. My skin just looks dull. I am starting to develop lines and brown spots! I even seem to have extra “baggage” around my jaw line. I am only 43 years old! How can that be? I am very a bubbly, energetic decorator / designer who sleeps and eats well. I haven’t really worried about skincare in the past because my skin has always looked great. How can I avoid looking older than I am and definitely older than I feel? Is it too early to start using anti-aging products and treatments?

A: I think the key to longevity is early maintenance. You mentioned you are a decorator, so bear with me as I “attempt” to speak your language…
Think of your skin as a home. Your home can be a beautiful older home or it can be an old home. The difference between a beautiful older home and an old home is maintenance. A well maintained home that is freshly painted and properly cared for with necessary maintenance becomes a beautiful older home.  Otherwise, if we neglect our home, the only thing we’ll have is an old home. We must do those necessary repairs as they are needed, or one day you may wake up to find out that your once beautiful home is worn down and no longer reflects who you are anymore. By this point, it may need to be completely remodeled before you feel at home in it again (surgery).
There are three things that you absolutely need to do to your skin to maintain it.

A: I think the key to longevity is early maintenance. You mentioned you are a decorator, so bear with me as I “attempt” to speak your language…

Think of your skin as a home. Your home can be a beautiful older home or it can just be an old home. The difference between a beautiful older home and an old home is maintenance. A well maintained home that is freshly painted and properly cared for with necessary maintenance becomes a beautiful older home. Otherwise, if we neglect our home, the only thing we’ll have is an old home. We must do those necessary repairs as they are needed, or one day you may wake up to find out that your once beautiful home is worn down and no longer reflects who you are anymore. By this point, it may need to be completely remodeled before you feel at home in it again (surgery).

There are three things that you absolutely need to do to your skin to maintain it.

  1. Daily (that’s 365) use of UVA / UVB sunscreen with SPF 45 or higher.
  2. Continued exfoliation (retinol, Retin-A, glycolic acid, microdermabrasion, chemical peels…)
  3. The proper use of moisturizers.

The best way to avoid looking older is to protect your skin 365 days of the year. Many patient’s have said “Roxanne, if I only use one skincare product on my skin, what would you recommend?”  I can assure you my answer is always the same – “UVA / UVB broad- spectrum SUNSCREEN.”  All other anti-aging skincare products are pointless if you are not using sun protection.  I would recommend that you refer back to two earlier blog posting’s (if you haven’t already).

Medical-grade skincare products are the best way to properly moisturize and maintain the skin. These products are dispensed only by a physician. They are not available over-the-counter because they are generally of a much higher concentration. A daily medical-grade skincare program will help maintain results from skin treatments and reverse signs of aging.

There are some simple, effective, in-office treatment options for early maintenance. Medical microdermabrasion, laser treatments, chemical peels, or intense pulsed light photo facials can help to restore a youthful appearance. You might be surprised how much younger one can look by just evening out the skin tone, removing brown spots and keeping the skin well hydrated. CO2 CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser ResurfacingMicro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing can more aggressively reduce lines and brown spots, build new collagen and improve skin texture and laxity. Using a combination of both in-office skin treatments and a medical-grade home skincare program will give you the best results in early skin restoration.

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic

This question was answered by Roxanne, Medical Skincare and Laser Specialist at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Skin Restoration and Laser Institute. Please contact us for additional information at  217-3508 Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington


or 309-662-0436