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.
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.
Sun Repair: Post Sun Facials + Spa Treatments
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 steps — 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 Nesttalks 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!
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.
5 Summer Waxing Tips from Shizuka NY
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.