Out, damned spot! out, I say! ~ Lady McBeth
What are those Damned Brown Spots Anyway?
Brown spots are flat, oval areas of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin – hence called ‘spots’ – and they are typically tan, brown or black. While brown spots develop most often in people with light to fair complexions, those with darker skin can also experience small areas of increased pigmentation.
What Causes Brown Spots?
Prolonged and repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the most frequent cause of brown spots in those that are genetically predisposed. UV light causes brown spots because the skin reacts by increasing melanin production in a localized area; increased melanin production is also how you get a tan to help protect deeper layers of skin from UV rays, but with a tan the distribution of pigment is even. Moreover, because it is UV light rather than the entire spectrum of sunlight that causes brown spots, commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds can also contribute to their development.
While UV light is the most common cause, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from skin injury, certain skin diseases, and certain medications that sensitize the skin to the sun can also cause brown spots.
The development of brown spots usually happens gradually over time. Because of their gradual development, they are sometimes called ‘age spots,’
Where do Brown Spots Occur?
In the case of UV exposure, brown spots usually occur on those parts of the skin that have had the most sun exposure, e.g., on the back of the hands, the top of the feet, on the face, or on the shoulders and upper back.
How Can I Get Rid of Brown Spots?
Before using a laser or IPL to get rid of a brown spot, see your doctor first to make sure the spot is not pre-cancerous or cancerous.
You’ll especially want to see your doctor if you notice that a brown spot has any one or more of these characteristics:
- It is darkly pigmented
- It is rapidly increasing in size
- It is greater than 5mm
- It has an irregular border
- It has an unusual combination of colors
- It is accompanied by itching, redness, tenderness or bleeding
If your doctor tells you it is safe to remove a brown spot, if you only have 1-2 spots, liquid nitrogen is quite effective. Sometimes, however, more than one treatment may be needed to fully remove a spot and repeated treatment with liquid nitrogen can cause blotchy pigmentation over time.
IPL, on the other hand, is equally effective in removing many brown spots at once while also maintaining skin tone; in fact, the goal of IPL treatments is to make your skin more evenly colored by decreasing the irregular brownish and reddish areas that have developed as a result of aging and sun damage. In addition, IPL also brightens the skin and gives it a more youthful glow.
It should be noted, however, that the effectiveness of IPL in removing brown spots depends somewhat on your skin tone; while IPL can be adjusted to your skin tone, if your skin is too dark, your best bet is to use a Yag or Q-switched Yag laser.
How to get your Vitamin D Levels Up While Protecting your Skin
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” does more for your body than you think: it influences nearly 3,000 different genes in your body. Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of cell, from the brain to the heart to the bones. The skin also benefits tremendously from Vitamin D. Having a sufficient amount helps minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen the appearance of lines and dark spots. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies’ Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU (International Units) a day for people between the ages of 1 and 70. This amount can be easily acquired through sun exposure, the most natural method, certain foods, and supplements. While vitamin D is most easily and naturally acquired through sun exposure, waiving skin protection can come with a price. New York City dermatologist Dr. Robert M. Bernstein of Bernstein Medical advises, “Going into the sun without proper protection can have dangerous adverse reactions to the skin over time like sun spots and skin cancer. It’s better to wear sunscreen and protect your skin at all times.”
The Sunscreen Factor
Proponents of getting vitamin D through sun absorption, like The Vitamin D Council, suggest exposing yourself to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes before applying sunscreen. The Vitamin D Council touts: “The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced.”
The problem with exposing bare skin to sunlight before sunscreen is that any amount of time in the sun without proper protection greatly increases the risk of skin cancer and causes the skin to age prematurely.
Sunlight Effects Aging Skin
In addition to an increased risk of skin cancer, sun exposure also greatly ages the skin and can cause DNA damage. The sun’s UV rays can greatly effect the skin’s appearance by causing premature aging. Examples of this include wrinkles, hyperpigmentation like sun spots, sagging, fine lines, and leathering. Fortunately, we don’t have to fry our skin to get vitamin D, there are others ways to make sure we get our daily dose of the “sunshine vitamin”.
Vitamin D Foods
While the amount of vitamin D present in these foods isn’t enough to achieve the daily recommended dose, any little bit can certainly help. Vitamin D foods are:
Fatty fish (ex: salmon)
Fortified milk and orange juice
Vitamin D Daily Supplements
There are two kinds of vitamin D supplements on the market today: D2 and D3. D3 is the closest to the what the body produces from sunlight. It’s converted into its active form much faster than D2 and is available in more potent dosages.
Dermatologists emphasize the most effective alternative to sun exposure and vitamin D-fortified foods are daily supplements. Dr. Bernstein concurs: “The easiest and most risk-free way of getting your vitamin D levels up is to take supplements.”
A recent article in Fox News Magazine highlights creative ways to use the summertime heat for great skin.
Read on for Shizuka’s summertime tips for eliminating dull dry skin:
To make sure your skin is in tip-top shape, it’s especially important to cleanse properly when the temperature rises. Experts say now is the time to thoroughly exfoliate every week to remove impurities from the skin and keep pores clog-free. New York City-based celebrity facialist Shizuka Bernstein suggests applying a hot towel to the skin for five minutes after removing makeup and washing skin thoroughly. Follow this by exfoliating gently with a scrub that’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Do you have oily or acne prone skin? Try SHIZUKA new york’s Clay Cleanser with Moroccan Lava Clay, Green Tea, and Peppermint. It absorbs surface oils and rids impurities as it soothes and brightens skin.
Summer is all about being outside; whether it’s building sandcastles on the beach, picnicking in the park, enjoying a backyard barbeque, or just basking on a some stepsâ€”outdoors is the place to be!
While the warm sun feels wonderful on your skin, it can really dry it out (even if you’re in the shade!), eventually leaving your skin starving for some nutrient-rich moisturizing.
In the name of summer and all things relaxing, we came up with a list of our most popular “sun repair” spa treatments that will heal and soothe sun drenched skin, providing deep hydration and relief (& will prepare you for some more fun in the sun!)
For the Face:
- The Geisha Facial - The Geisha Facial has received a lot of press due to its much lauded ingredient, Uguisu no Fun or Nightingale droppings. But many forget is that this is a full service facial including a hydrating camellia oil facial massage and antioxidant-rich Green Tea Collagen mask. The mask works to reduce signs of aging by encouraging further collagen production and saturates the skin with free radical fighting antioxidants.
- GentleWaves® LED Facial Rejuvenation – This facial incorporates specially coded LED lights that promote a process called photomodulation in the skin. Much like photosynthesis in plants, the LED lights work to stimulate and promote healthy skin production.
- Naturopathica’s Natural Face Lift Facial - Combined with ultrasonic and microcurrent technologies, this high performance treatment uses Naturopathica brand products including Plant Stem Cell Serum (a powerful antioxidant blend) to deliver deep hydration and gently firms and tones the skin.
For the Body:
- Coffee Break Mud Wrap - This 50min heated treatment uses a natural body scrub that includes Black Silt Clay and Coffee Arabica to exfoliate and draw out impurities. It also includes Indian Sarsaparilla and Shea Butter to clarify skin and seal in moisture.
For the Hands & Feet:
- Espresso Mud Pedicure -This sensually invigorating pedicure uses a mud mixture to exfoliate and deeply hydrate your feet. In addition to nail and cuticle care, and buffing/color; this treatment includes added moisturizing and light massage.
- Sakura Pedicure & Nagomi Manicure – These are our signature manicure and pedicure treatments that include the most pampering and nail care. We use the natural harnessing power of ingredients like Crystallized Honey, Rice Bran, Sake-Kasu, and a handmade and chemical free Yuzu Massage Cream to fully exfoliate and deeply hydrate the hands and feet.
The Nest talks with Shizuka Bernstein, Celebrity Esthetician and Owner of SHIZUKA New York Day Spa, about summer beauty products in their article:
Shizuka describes Naturopathica’s Lavender Protective Moisturizer SPF 17 as an ideal summertime skin care product that’s great for use year round.
“This moisturizer from Naturopathica is a perfect makeup base in the summer, offering UVA and UVB protection with a smooth, matte finish,” says Bernstein. “Micronized zinc oxide is a physical sun blocker, so it doesn’t penetrate the skin, which means it doesn’t irritate it. But the secret ingredient is turmeric root, which reduces redness and helps inhibit melanin production for added protection. I love this product and use it all year round!”
Some find freckles, sun or angel kisses, cute, and some annoying. But what are they?
Freckles are a grouping of melanin pigment that forms on the outer most layer of the skin to protect deeper layers from excessive sun damage. Since freckles are part of the skin’s protective functioning, it’s privy for anyone susceptible to these mighty little “kisses” to work with the skin and always wear sunscreen and resort to other protective measures.
Freckles usually form on the places exposed to direct sunlight: face, arms, shoulders and neck. If you “freckle” it’s a sure sign your skin is sensitive to sun exposure so it’s a good idea to limit exposure to harmful UV rays by covering up and using sunscreen. This will limit further “freckling”, prolonged sun damage, and possibly even melanoma. And plus, your skin will look and feel healthier.
If you’re looking to even out your complexion, here are some ways to care for freckled skin:
- Brightening creams and cleansers. These products contain brightening agents that will even out skin tone creating a brighter complexion. Be sure to follow directions when using these products and always wear sunscreen when outside, as your skin will be even more susceptible to UV-damage.
- Laser/IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments. These treatments will lighten or remove dark spots entirely. Depending on your skin’s condition, several treatments may be necessary.
- Chemical Peels. Chemical peels strip you of your outer most layer of skin, allowing for newer healthier skin to grow in. This will reduce the appearance of freckles and age spots.
More sun-damage prevention tips:
- Take cover with an umbrella, hat, scarf, and protective clothing. Avoid scorching sun rays between 10a – 4p.
- Look for “broad-spectrum” sun screens that will protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, while UVB rays are shorter and cause sunburns. Look for sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, although sunscreen SPF of 30 or more is ideal. If you’re at higher elevations use higher SPF.
- Apply sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before stepping outdoors, and continue to reapply every 2 hours.
- If you have moles, make it a regular habit to visit a dermatologist at least once a year for a check-up.
- The use of tanning beds can significantly increase your skin’s need to freckle, not to mention increase your risk for melanoma. If you really need a tan, try using self tanning creams or sprays instead.
- If you have sensitive skin and want to stay away from chemical-based products, look for chem-free products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients help to block UV rays from penetrating the skin’s surface. They aren’t absorbed into the skin like regular sunscreens so are nonallergenic and nonirritating and won’t aggravate acne.
- If acne is a concern, Shizuka suggests staying away from powder mineral make-up. “I’ve seen so many clients who use the product come in with acne, I suspect the oil from the minerals or the applicator brush is clogging pores.” An unwashed brush transfers bacteria back and forth from the powder to the skin, which further contributes to clogged pores. For oily and congested skin, be sure to wash your face (& make-up brushes!) as soon as possible.
Related blog post>> Product Highlight: SNY’s Skin Freshener (Mt. Fuji Water Tonic)
Related blog post>> 11 Ways to Look Fabulous for Memorial Day & Beyond!
Related blog post>> Preventing Acne, Is There an App for That?
Memorial Day is just a few weeks away, bringing with it the warm summer months to follow. Here are some tips to looking and feeling your best throughout the summer months!
1. Screen your skin!: In order to protect against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, generously coat all exposed skin with sunscreen, preferably broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Also, just applying once isn’t enough–remember to reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or extensive sweating.
Related blog post>> Top Summer Skin Mistake
2. Post lunch: Most people forget that the skin on your lips is also susceptible to sun damage, so be sure to wear lip balm with SPF. Don’t forget to reapply especially after eating or drinking.
3. Made in shades: Wear sunglasses with lenses that provide UV protection. Too much sun over time can actually damage your eyes, not to mention the fine lines that can accrue from too much squinting.
4. Exfoliate & moisturize!: Show off soft smooth skin by making it a habit to exfoliate regularly and moisturize daily. When you exfoliate, dead skin cells are sloughed off revealing smoother skin. Moisturizing everyday will not only keep your skin hydrated, but will help your skin retain water and look smoother. SNY Moisturizer goes on light and silky and provides the benefits of immediate hydration.
5. Wax not wane: Consider waxing to get rid of unwanted body hair during the summer months. In most cases, a waxing will last for 4-6 weeks. IPL (or Intense Pulsed Light) is considered a more permanent hair removal solution, however, IPL treatments make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Because of this, the procedure is best left for the cooler winter months when skin is less likely to be exposed to direct sunlight. If you do receive IPL during the summer, take care to wear protective clothing and reapply SPF 30 or higher regularly to the treated areas.
Related blog post>> 5 Summer Waxing Tips from Shizuka NY
6. Footsie play: Get a spa pedicure with exfoliation to get your feet sandal ready! Have fun and choose colors that compliment your sandals or add-on a bit of reflexology to soothe and recharge tired feet.
7. Aloe me: Keep some aloe vera or aloe-based ointment or moisturizer on hand in case of accidental sunburn to skin. Aloe will help relieve the pain and can help the skin heal faster. Continue to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to the affected area(s).
8. Daily cleanse: Be sure to cleanse skin properly each day to keep pores free from sweat and sunscreen build-up. Sweating actually purifies your skin by releasing bacteria and other toxins through your pores. However, when you let the sweat dry on your skin, the sitting bacteria can lead to breakouts and major acne. SNY Clay Cleanser is great for summertime cleansing and the cooling effect of peppermint will leave your skin cool and refreshed.
Related blog post>> Product Highlight: Shizuka NY Clay Cleanser
9. G’day: As the sun beats down on you, especially during the scorching afternoon hours, be sure to wear a hat or scarf to protect your scalp from burning. Scarves in light colored fabrics such as white, khaki, or pastels will help keep you cool by reflecting heat instead of absorbing it like dark colors. Brimmed hats made of natural fibers such as straw, linen or cotton will help your scalp breathe and will help protect your face as well. If hats and scarves aren’t your thing, consider using an umbrella instead. It will keep you cool and help protect your skin, scalp AND hair from ultimate summertime burnout!
10. Bugs beware: To avoid unsightly bug bites and itchy rashes from mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats, consider trying natural alternatives to chemical-based repellents. Apply any combination of essential oils like cedar oil, citronella oil, clove oil, geranium oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, and even the juice from garlic cloves will help keep mosquitoes and other bugs (and maybe even other humans too) at bay.
11. HydrateHydrateHydrate: Drinking plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages will help keep your skin and hair hydrated and healthy. Alcohol tends to dehydrate the skin and hair, so be sure to replenish your system with plenty of water and electrolytes after every mojito and margarita!
One of the top summer skin mistakes is incorrectly applying sunscreen. Most sunscreen wearers apply it only once a day but in reality most sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, or every hour if swimming or sweating. For each application, apply the sunscreen and/or sunblock at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and use enough to generously coat any area of the skin not covered by clothing.
Apply sunscreen to children and babies as well, however, babies under 6 months should not be exposed to the sun at all.
Sun protection is serious business–it’s common that most sun-related skin damage occurs by the time we reach 18 years of age.
Lavender and skin care go hand in hand. Its soothing aroma is useful for treating anxiety and insomnia while its antiseptic property acts as an all natural antibacterial component to purify the skin. Infuse lavender skin care into your summertime beauty routine!
During these hot summer days, we invite you to give extra attention to keeping your skin free of bacteria that can lead to acne. Relax with these soothing lavender skincare facial cleansers:
Aloe Cleansing Gel – A foaming sulfate-free cleanser with a refreshing blend of Aloe Vera and Lavender that gently clarifies the skin while maintaining natural moisture.
Lavender oil, known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, can be found in our Shizuka New York Skincare System as well:
Shizuka NY Moisturizer – This moisturizer is a non-greasy and absorbs immediately to hydrate, condition and rejuvenate, and works to clarify and brighten the complexion.
Shizuka NY Foaming Cleanser -This Foaming Cleanser is used in most facial treatments in our NYC day spa and contains a slew of other nourishing ingredients leaving the skin renewed, softer and more supple.
Summer’s finally here! We put together a few tips to help you optimize this season’s wax routine:
1. Wax first, tan second. Wax before getting a tan — wait at least 24 hours before spray tanning or bronzing. Since waxing also exfoliates the skin, it will strip away any color application. Waxing also tends to irritate the skin so if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to wait 3-4 days (or until your skin recovers completely) before tanning.
2. Down time. Waxed skin is highly irritable, especially to sweat, sun exposure and hot water. Wait at least a couple hours before working out or taking a hot shower. If you’re in the sun be sure to take precautions by covering up and using plenty of SPF.
3. Wait. For a wax to be successful, hair needs to be at least ¼ of an inch long. Try waiting 2 – 4 weeks before getting waxed to allow for sufficient hair length.
4. Exfoliate at home. In order to prevent ingrown hairs, wait three days then begin exfoliating the area daily. This will help the hair grow back evenly for your next waxing.
5. No more razors. Shaving can actually irritate hair follicles negating the benefits of waxing. If you stick to a waxing-only regimen, you’ll notice over time that the hair will grow back thinner and finer. In most cases, a waxing will last between 4 to 6 weeks.
If you’ve never waxed before or are concerned about how your skin may react, feel free to call us at (212) 644-7400 to schedule a consultation with Shizuka.