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Hyperpigmentation, Traveling & Cleanser Responses by Dr. Marie Jhin

By September 6, 2023No Comments

Dr. Marie Jhin, Chief Medical Officer of Musely and Board-Certified Dermatologist

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is dark discoloration of the skin. Hyperpigmentation is caused by over production of melanin, which can happen after sun exposure, trauma, hormonal changes or from skin conditions such as from a rash or acne.

Why do you sometimes get hyperpigmentation in those less exposed areas, if it’s usually caused by sun exposure?

You can get hyperpigmentation in the private areas that are not exposed to the sun. While spots on your face and body are more likely caused by over-exposure to the sun, private areas have a few surprising causes including hormonal changes such as in pregnancy, friction between skin folds or skin and clothing, texture change from aging, hair removal, and a hormonal or endocrine conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). If you are looking to brighten and lighten areas such as the armpits, vagina, anus, or groin area – Musely is a great place to turn, without needing to visit the doctor in-person. The Private Cream is a bleaching cream designed to treat hyperpigmentation in private areas, and you can order it 100% online.

How can frequent travelers and beach-goers avoid hyperpigmentation? What can you do to protect your skin?

To protect your skin from hyperpigmentation, it’s best to practice sun protection whether that’s wearing a wide-brimmed hat or applying mineral sunscreen. The Day Cream is a hydrating mineral sunscreen that offers protection with SPF 30-50. It’s formulated with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it has demonstrated efficacy in reducing redness associated with vascular melasma and rosacea. It provides optimal defense against UV rays at an affordable price, and it is designed to work with all Musely medications in reducing hyperpigmentation! Consistent daily application and reapplying throughout the day are both crucial, as neglecting sun protection could lead to new dark spots and potentially disrupt your treatment progress.

How do you know if a mole or dark spot needs to be checked out by a dermatologist?

It is a good idea to book an appointment to see a doctor about dark spots or patches if they randomly appear on your skin or seem to be questionable. Although they are typically harmless, getting them checked out by a dermatologist can help you address any underlying medical conditions and prevent them from worsening. Specific reasons for concern over dark spots include symptoms such as itching, bleeding, rapid growth, changes in shape or color or a family history of skin cancer. While most dark spots don’t require medical attention as they are typically not dangerous, you can still visit with a dermatologist if you have any concerns. Dermatologists can examine dark spots or moles to make sure they are not dangerous and they can also provide a variety of treatments to help fade your dark spots.

How does your formula work to brighten those dark spots? Does it repair the sun damage?

Our dark spot treatments such as The Spot Cream and The Body Cream are formulated with ingredients such as hydroquinone which works by blocking the production of melanin or pigment cells thus lightening some of those pigmented areas. Musely has some formulas that use the highest strength of hydroquinone available (up to 12%) and also contain other active ingredients such as azelaic acid, tranexamic acid, and tretinoin that are clinically proven to treat hyperpigmentation and dark spots. When combined with tretinoin, hydroquinone is very effective for speeding up skin cell turnover to repair sun damage, while preventing new, excess pigments from being formed in skin cells.

What times of the year or what conditions should travelers be aware of to avoid this kind of damage to the skin?

Melasma and hyperpigmentation can worsen at any time of year. However, it is exacerbated with heat or overexposure to the sun, which is why those who are struggling with these conditions should be extra cautious during the warmer seasons. People with very fair skin who sunburn easily and/or have a family history of skin cancer should take extra precautions all year round.

Any travel tips to provide?

Always, always wear and carry sunscreen or sun protective clothing whenever possible! Sunscreens are now permissible to be carried on carry-on luggage and do not need to be checked. Whenever possible – stay in the shade, do not get sunburn and avoid the hottest times of day typically between 12-4PM.

Is it ever okay to just use makeup wipes in lieu of cleanser?

While makeup wipes can be convenient for removing makeup quickly, they are generally not a sufficient substitute for a proper facial cleanser. Makeup wipes might leave behind residue and fail to thoroughly cleanse the pores, which can contribute to various skin concerns. Makeup wipes are also often formulated with various chemicals to help preserve their shelf life and keep them moist. When left on the skin, they can potentially cause irritation, redness, or sensitivity, especially for individuals with sensitive or reactive skin types. Using a proper facial cleanser offers several advantages including removing impurities such as excess oil, pollution, and sweat.

The Cleanser is designed to effectively remove not only makeup but also dirt, oil, and impurities that accumulate on the skin throughout the day. It cleanses pores without stripping the skin of moisture, leaving it free of dirt and hydrated.

Why is it important to use a high-quality cleanser, specifically meant for the face? Should it be geared toward your skin type (i.e. acne-prone, dry, etc.) or will any cleanser do?

Using a high-quality cleanser formulated specifically for the face is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. Facial skin is delicate and requires gentle yet effective cleansing to avoid disrupting the skin barrier. Using a cleanser that suits your skin type is strongly recommended, or alternatively, opting for a gentle cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and oily skin. Using the right cleanser can help address specific skin concerns while promoting a balanced complexion.

How often should you wash your face?

Generally, it’s recommended to cleanse your face twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night to remove oils and maintain a clean face. However, over-cleansing can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness or oil overproduction. If you have sensitive or dry skin, cleansing once a day might be sufficient. On the other hand, individuals with very oily skin might benefit from cleansing more frequently. It’s important to gain a good understanding of your skin type, listen to its needs, and adjust your cleansing routine accordingly. The Cleanser is a gentle cleanser formulated with skin-soothing ingredients such as cucumber and kiwi. Because the formula is gentle it is ideal for all skin types and pairs well with any Musely Prescription treatment.