Friday, July 06, 2018

Getting The Solar Lentigines Treated

I finally found the courage to sort out my sun spots which have become patches. They're pigmented lesions or solar lentigines (singular: lentigo). A few years ago, once I ascertained that they aren't malignant lesions, I procrastinated in getting them treated. I've got ultra sensitive skin, and I really don't know what will happen.

That procrastination lasted a good ten years. HAHAHAHA. The brown spots didn't affect me much, to be honest, until recently when they've darkened and widened to a point where something should be done. I can tell you that not all spot lightening products work. I avoid Retin-A, steroids and those that contain hydroquinone. I'd have gone to a skin doctor if I wanted to use those. I've used the milder ones, and while they aren't exactly effective, they did restrict the darkening and widening for a few years. Couple them with good concealers, it explains the ten-year procrastination. Hahahahaha. Finally found a trustworthy clinic to sort out these spots, and more importantly, I found a skin doctor whom I'm comfortable with.

I was late for my first appointment at the skin clinic. I misjudged the time it took for the train to get to town and had to run like wind to make it there. (Of course I called the clinic to alert them.) I swore the BFF's stern voice reverberated in my head, "You'd better don't miss your appointment ah! I've nagged at you for ten years already! Don't make me nag some more!" I thought I would be late by eight minutes. In the end, I was only late by three minutes. 🤣

So this laser thing. I'm supposed to do this treatment for at least four times, once a month, and the doctor will see if the brown spots need more zapping. There're five different frequencies of laser energy used to target melanin, of which there're three different ways to modulate the 'pulse duration' of the energies that also effect how the melanin will interact with the laser. The idea is not to have a flawless face free of blemishes. That's unrealistic for me. The idea is to lighten the spots by a few shades, and control them from thereon.

Done with the first session. The doctor warned that after the laser treatment, with the melanin/pigment breaking up and crusting, the solar lentigines might darken before lightening. Whatever. The spots are so already dark that I don't care. I just don't want them to be raw, bleeding and inflamed. Apparently no medicine is necessary. It's effectively a burn, right? So all that's needed is to keep the skin clean, moisturized and cool. My skin doctor isn't one to push extravagantly expensive house products, and she doesn't have to. She approves of my current range of facial products, which are mainly pharmacy brands that handle my sensitive skin and allergies well.

I am a little self-conscious at how the brown spots jump out now against a bare face. But I'm not going to hide at home. Duhhh. I don't put on heavy make-up anyway. It's has always been light foundation and powder, and mostly concealer. Nowadays, it's more BB cream than foundation. Sensitive eyes mean that I never go near mascara and eye make-up or even eye gels and masks. I only need to draw my eyebrows since I'm really not hot about eyebrow embroidery. It also means besides slapping on a ton of sunscreen, wearing a hat or a cap outdoors is a must now- especially when doing sun-direct activities.

The friends (doesn't include my skin doctor who is wary of oral supplements), stuffed gifts of Crystal Tomato into my skeptical hands. You know how I feel about supplements and their bioavailability. I don't even take vitamins often nowadays since I get loads of nutrients from food and my fairly clean diet. Apparently the truckload of cherry and roma tomatoes I consume contain only colored carotenoids and will not protect me against UV or whiten my skin. 🤨🙄 I'm sorry, (no, not really) I died laughing at this line from its FAQ,

Crystal Tomato® Carotenoids are without colour and thus absorb UV: color reflects absorption of visible light; colorless substances do not absorb in the visible spectrum, they absorb at lower wavelength (i.e. UV) or higher wavelength (i.e. Infra-Red or IR). Crystal Tomato® Carotenoids are UV absorbers.

It's reassuring that the inventor sent them to the National Skin Clinic (Singapore) to do voluntary clinical trials years ago before it hit the market in 2013. These pills of Crystal Tomato are basically solidified powder from freeze-dried 100% non-GMO tomatoes plus L-Cysteine, which are supposed to increase my skin's natural SPF by as much as 20%. And nowhere in the FAQ tells me what exactly this special breed of very rare tomato or where it has been cultivated. The image of a white tomato (since it contains two colorless carotenoids) keeps popping up in my head and I'm still laughing myself silly each time it does. Proprietary trademarks and intellectual property rights, much? Stared at them boxes of Crystal Tomato. They're big pills. All right. I will take them. Here goes nothing.

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