Neue Jahreszeit, neuer Monat, neuer Anfang…

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Beauty

Seit etwas mehr als einem Jahr schreibe ich diesen Blog, mehr oder weniger fleissig, und ab sofort auf Deutsch! Mal sehen, was passiert…

Nach einer verlängerten Sommerpause gibt es viel Neues zu berichten, und die Spuren von zu viel Sonne (jaja ich weiss), zu vielen Cocktails (ja!) und überhaupt dem allgemeinen kulinarischen Ferien-Modus zu beseitigen.

Nachdem ich in vergangenen Posts noch begeistert von radikalen Hydrochinon-Therapien gegen Pigmentflecken  berichtet habe, musste ich meine Meinung darüber revidieren; nicht nur stehen diese Produkte im Verdacht, die Entstehung von Hautkrebs zu begünstigen, sie nützen auch nur so lange, wie sie verwendet werden. Und sie wirken – vergleichbar mit einer Javel-Behandlung von Flecken auf Kleidern – vor allem bei der ersten Anwendung. Danach wirken sie je länger man sie anwendet, desto weniger. Es scheint, als ob sich die Haut, samt den fiesen Flecken, daran gewöhnte. Dafür lohnt es sich meines Erachtens nicht, die möglichen Risiken in Kauf zu nehmen. Die Flecken kehren sowieso immer wieder zurück, das hat mir auch meine Dermatologin bestätigt.

Mit Tretionin (Vitamin-A Säure, Retina-A), das ebenfalls sehr wirksam ist gegen Pigmentflecken, indem es die Hauterneuerung extrem ankurbelt (Sprich: Man schält sich andauernd…), verhält es sich ähnlich: Es ist nicht ganz harmlos, und darf zum Beispiel nicht von Schwangeren angewendet werden. Und nicht, wenn man sich der Sonne aussetzt.

Auch wenn ich gegenüber sanfteren Mitteln nach wie vor skeptisch bin, was deren Wirksamkeit betrifft, habe ich diesen Sommer zwei Produkte getestet und für viel versprechend befunden.

Im Frühling kaufte ich mir das viel gepriesene Vinoperfect Serum von Caudalie, da es nicht photosensibilisierend wirkt. Das heisst, es kann auch im Sommer tagsüber verwendet werden, weil es die Haut nicht sonnenempfindlich macht. Im Gegenteil: Auch ohne zugesetzte künstliche UV Filter haben die Inhaltsstoffe, die aus Weintrauben gewonnen werden, eine  gewisse Schutzwirkung gegen schädliche UV Strahlung und freie Radikale. Das Serum ist nicht fettend und kann abends unter der Nachtpflege und tagsüber unter dem Sunblock verwendet werden. Ich hatte nach 3 Sommermonaten das Gefühl, mein Melasma sei zumindest nicht so dramatisch dunkler geworden wie in anderen Jahren. Immerhin! Der grasig-grüne Duft ist etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber angenehm. Kann ich vor allem PragmatikerInnen empfehlen, die EIN Produkt für Tag und Nacht wollen, und gewillt sind, tagsüber zusätzlich einen Sunblock zu verwenden.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum

CAUDALIE VINOPERFECT SERUM

Gleich nach der Rückkehr aus den Sommerferien durfte ich ein noch nicht verkäufliches Produkt testen, das eine ganz neue Wirkungsweise verspricht: Vichy SLOW ÂGE. Kaum aus den Sommerferien zurück, habe ich Ende Juli mit der täglichen Anwendung begonnen. Das milchige Serum enthält SPF25 und wird morgens aufgetragen und soll die Haut stärken und gegen Zeichen der Hautalterung wirken, bevor sie sichtbar werden. Klingt viel versprechend und genau richtig für meine von Strandferien gestresste Haut! Es soll nicht nur gegen Pigmentflecken helfen, sondern sämtliche umweltbedingten Alterserscheinungen der Haut mildern bzw. deren Erscheinen verzögern.

VICHY SLOW ÂGE

VICHY SLOW ÂGE

Was zuerst auffällt ist der wunderbar blumige Duft! Die Konsistenz ist die einer Milch, ähnlich einer leichten Sonnenmilch, das Produkt hinterlässt aber keinen weissen Film auf der Haut. Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Produkten mit UV Schutz ist es nicht ölig und lässt meine sehr fettige Haut (davon reden wir dann ein andermal) auch nach ein paar Stunden nicht zusätzlich glänzen. Allein dafür gibt es schon mal ein “Daumen hoch”!

Das Besondere an SLOW ÂGE ist seine Wirkungsweise. Es verspricht keine Wunder wie sofortiges Ausradieren von Falten oder Flecken, sondern will dafür sorgen, dass die Haut LANGSAMER altert. An die Stelle von “Anti” Aging tritt “Slow” Aging: Wir werden so oder so älter, aber WIE wir altern ist entscheidend: Wir wollen lange gesund und fit bleiben, und so wollen wir auch aussehen. Die Wirkstoffkomplex ist innovativ: Nebst dem legendären Vichy Thermalwasser enthält SLOW ÂGE das neue Super-Antioxidans Baicalin, das aus der Wurzel des Baikal-Helmkrautes gewonnen wird, und Bifidus, ein Probiotikum aus dem Bifidobacterium Longum. Was von Innen schon lange als Schönheitselixier bekannt ist, hilft nun auch von Aussen, die Barrierefunktion der Haut zu stärken. So die Theorie. Nach 8-wöchiger Anwendung habe ich tatsächlich den Eindruck, mein Teint sei glatter und farblich wieder ebenmässiger geworden. Mal sehen, wie es weitergeht, die 2. Flasche ist schon bereit! Vichy Slow Age ist ab sofort exklusiv in Apotheken erhältlich.

Demnächst im Blog: Falten UND Pickel!?

 

Amazing New Helpers for Even Skin Tone

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Beauty
Beauty News Vichy Skinceuticals Feb 2016

VICHY IDEAL SOLEIL

Just in time after my return from hot and sunny Thailand, where I got my fair share of UV to last me until summer starts over here, Vichy has launched two new IDEAL SOLEIL sun products. I have used their SPF 50 oil free facial sunblock for years now, but for a tinted sunblock I had to use different brands, and have always missed Vichy IDEAL SOLEIL’s amazing scent! There is already a BB Cream, but now they have launched a tinted 3-in-1 sunscreen which also actively helps diminish sun spots with PhE-Resorcinol, a very potent Tyrosinase-inhibitor. In other words, it helps to prevent your skin to produce dark pigment. It is also oil-free and non-clogging, a must for all those who suffer from oily, acne-prone skin.

IDEAL SOLEIL_Soin Anti-Taches Teinté

Vichy Idéal Soleil’s brand new anti-dark spots tinted sunblock SFP50

The tint is medium and adapts nicely to your own skin tone, as it is quite sheer. You might need to add some concealer with SPF on the darker spots, or dab on some UV-Protecting powder foundation. But overall, for a natural finish, Vichy IDEAL SOLEIL tinted anti-dark spots sunblock SPF 50 can be used instead of foundation.

As an alternative to moisturizing after-sun lotions – one of my all-time favorites being good old Nivea Sun – Vichy has also launched an amazing hydrating oil, to be used on wet skin right out of the shower, or else on dry skin, as a tan-prolonging, soothing moisturizer. It smells heavenly of white flowers, conjuring images of tropical beaches, and leaves skin well hydrated, giving it a lovely glow without feeling greasy.

IDEAL SOLEIL_Soin Apres-soleil Double Usage.jpg

Vichy’s new super sensual After-Sun Body Oil

 LA ROCHE-POSAY

On the occasion of their yearly skin cancer prevention campaign, the French medical skincare brand and sunscreen specialist La Roche-Posay has launched several innovative new SPF products, including a hypo-allergenic Comfort Cream with SPF 30 and 50, and one BB cream. My absolute favorite among the newbies is the dry-touch Anti-Shine gel-creme, available with SPF 30 and 50.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Gel-Crème spf 50

Great for oily trouble skin: the deliciously lightweight new Anthélios Anti-Shine gel-cream SPF 50

In Switzerland, La Roche-Posay informs about preventive measures against skin cancer throughout April -June 2016 on their website: www.laroche-posay.ch. As a special service, and in collaboration with La Roche-Posay and Swiss health insurer Helsana, you can have your moles checked by Dermatologists of the University Hospital Zurich online, for free: MySkinCheck.ch. Simply upload a picture of the mole you want examined and within days  you will receive an email informing you whether you should go see a doctor for further testing.

SKINCEUTICALS

Skinceuticals is a professional skincare brand and is especially known for their very powerful Antioxidants, like my beloved C E Ferulic Serum. A new addition to their family of correcting products is METACELL RENEWAL B3, a comprehensive daily correcting emulsion designed to correct early symptoms of photoaging. This is not merely a product against dark spots, but also a highly effective skin-tightening, anti-aging care. To be used morning and evening, following the Skinceuticals Antioxidant of your choice. It has an extremely light, creamy texture, turning into a fluid when applied to skin, and is only very discreetly scented.

SKINCEUTICAL products are only available through dermatologists and skincare professionals. For Switzerland, check out their website for participating dermatologists. For Skinceuticals International, check here for distributors.

SkinCeuticals_Metacell Renewal B3_Packshot

SKINCEUTICAL’s new correcting cream-serum METACELL RENEWAL B3

Get prepared for those brighter days ahead!

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Beauty
img_0810

As the days are getting longer again (yay!), it is time to think about preparing our skin for the outdoor season. Ok it may seem early, especially for us over here in Northern/Central Europe, but since I am about to depart for southern Thailand (again, yay!), I did some research on ways to prepare my skin for sunnier days ahead. And even if you have to wait until April for the sun and warmer weather, most of the strategies I have found are beneficial to your skin and all-over health all year round.

Fuel up on Anti-Oxidants and healthy fats!

In tropical countries, where the sun is strong and prevalent throughout the year, you will not find it difficult to eat lots of brightly colored fruit; still, even up here in freezing Europe there is a lot of healthy stuff in season (or at least easily available) to help your skin build a shield against free radicals and sun damage:

  • Red Peppers, Tomatoes, Squash and orange colored root Veggies like Carrots and Sweet Potato, but also dark green vegetables like Kale or Spinach contain Caroteonoids like Lycopene (especially cooked tomatoes), a very strong anti-oxidant found to possibly block cancer cells in animal studies.
  • Fish, fresh eggs, Avocado and Chia seeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids to keep your skin supple and nourished. Or try to blend your coffee with a teaspoon of Coconut Oil instead of milk for a change: Due to its unique chemical structure (medium chain triglycerides and Lauric Acid), Coconut Oil has countless health benefits (one of the sexier ones being abdominal-fat-burning!) and tastes great. It is also suitable for cooking, even at higher temperatures, without becoming harmful. Definitively worth a try, if only to look better in those new bikinis!
  • Matcha tea (finely powdered, unfermented young green tea leaves) contains a lot of cell-protectant Vitamin C and Polyphenols (like Catechin). I use one or two teaspoons every day, as a frothy Almond Matcha Latte. Beats any energy drink and tastes so much better!
  • If healthy eating is not your thing (?!), at least use supplements containing the above mentioned substances, as well as Vitamins D and E. There are special sun-supplements on the market, but since my beloved Innéov has been discontinued, I have not tried any.
  • If you tend to hyper-pigment, try 600 mg of Alpha-Lipoid Acid combined with 1000 mg of Vitamin C daily. It seems to have helped me a lot last summer.

redandgreensmoothie

Beetroot, Pomegranate & Carrot juice meets Kale, Romaine, Basil & Avocado smoothie

Skip the Chemical Peels and AHA for now

Needless to say, irritated or newly treated skin is more sensitive to harmful UV rays. If you plan on a holiday in the sun, stop skin-renewing treatments such as AHA, Hydroquinone or glycolic acid peels about 4 weeks prior and during the trip. Some recommend to continue hydroquinone during sun exposure, but I did not feel comfortable with it. In my experience, using my special layering of sun screen (see below) when in the sun, and only a mild repairing / moisturizing treatment during the night is enough to keep the brown spots at bay (they will return anyway, no matter how harshly you treat them!). I will tackle them full-force when back home.

Choose the right Sunscreen!

It should be widely known by now: There is no such thing as a “healthy tan”; every tan is a sign of stressed skin, and I can hear my dermatologist repeat it religiously: Your skin never forgets. Not only a sunburn, but any kind of UV exposure. So yes, SPF should be used every day, throughout the year, no matter what the weather is like, if you want to prevent photo-ageing.

However, the sun does have positive effects on our mind and body: It works like an anti-depressant and enables the production of Vitamin D in the body. But this means staying in the sun for up to 15 minutes per day without sunscreen; if the cells are protected from within by eating right, this should not be a problem.

If your skin is oily like mine, and/or prone to hyperpigmentation, check my blogpost from last summer for my favorite products. However, no matter what skin type you are: The higher the SPF, the better, as UV rays age your skin.

In Europe, SPF 50 is the highest factor available. In the US, for example, I saw bottles labelled SPF 100…  although it is doubtful whether this really applies. The best way to ensure full protection is, in my experience, layering of products: Use a liquid base of chemical screen, then continue with mineral sunscreen on exposed parts and finish with SPF make up products for the face. Most mineral powders are naturally UV protectant, and foundations from Asian brands always have high sunblocks added to them.

My suitcase will once more be overweight with all the products I shlep halfway around the globe, but it will be SO worth it. I’m all ready to head south!

 

 

Good News for Sensitive Eyes

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Beauty
Thanks to La Roche Posay: Smokey Eyes, not red ones...

Good News for Sensitive Eyes

There is new hope for contact lens users with severely dry and irritated eyes to look nice without the irritation of crumbling mascaras and sticky eyeliner! I am suffering from chronic blepharitis (inflammation of the lid rims resulting in dry, grainy feeling eyes) and yet I am unwilling to exchange my contacts for glasses. And without eye make-up I do not leave the house, period. Never ever. So I keep a strict regimen of Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (always a good idea, but on top of all other health benefits they are said to increase eye lubrication), special eyelid hygiene (using Blephasol lotion to clean the lids) and regular eyeball massage (not kidding, this IS a thing!) to stimulate and unclog the lube-producing Meibomian glands under the lids. All these measures, together with use of moisturizing eyedrops, help to stay comfortable, even when wearing soft contact lenses.

However, even using all these hacks I still have problems with my eye make-up: Especially volumizing Mascaras tend to stick and crumble, or they only start really adding visible volume when they are already getting old and dry. Needless to mention that the latter ones start disintegrating even faster, crumbling into your contact-lensed eye…

Wonder Wand...

Wonder Wand…

The new La Roche-Posay Respectissime Volumizing Mascara goes on smoothly, and yet it adds instant falsie-like density as I have never experienced before (and I have tried many…). Having tested it for three days in a row now, I am completely hooked. It looks fantastic all day long, and there ist no irritation whatsoever, thanks to anti-inflammatory and soothing  ingredients like Madecassoside and Panthenol. It also contains a strenghteneing blend of Hyaluronic Acid and Amino Acids.

Yes, please...!

Yes, please…!

In addition to the Mascara, La Roche Posay  has launched a whole array of new products and colors just in time for the upcoming party season 2015/16, like the eye-friendly smokey palette Respectissime Ombre Douce and Intense Liner, as well as bright red lipsticks and nail polishes.  This Christmas, my eyes will only get red because of booze, lack of sleep or tears of joy…

Norwegian Cruise: Hamburg-North Cape-Hamburg 2015

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Life / Travel
View of Alesund

Admittedly, I was always thinking that there are only very few things cheesier than going on a cruise vacation when under the age of 75. That said, there are destinations just made to be explored from aboard a ship. The Norwegian Achipelago is definitely one of them.

You would not possibly be able to see that many parts of this beautiful country in such a short time when travelling landside. The views that have been offered to us during a 12 day cruise from Hamburg to the North Cape and back again, almost 24 hours a day thanks to the midnight sun, could not be had from the coast.

Summer night near the Polar circle, where the sun does not set...

Summer night near the Polar circle, where the sun does not set…

The “Mein Schiff” Fleet – probably the Best Cruise Deal out there

There are many cruise companies offering trips to the North Cape, most famously the Norwegian Postal Liners “Hurtigruten”. I chose the more comfortable, reasonably priced and fast expanding ocean carrier “Mein Schiff”, a company owned by German tour operator TUI, consisting of 5 cruise ships as of October 2015, all of them in the 4.5* range. They all offer a comprehensive and luxurious all-inclusive plan, something to be considered when comparing prices. It is possible to spend zero Euros in extras, if you plan your land excursions individually, do not eat in one of the three exclusive Restaurants on board and do not have any Spa treatments. Those are the only things to be paid, as well as any purchases in the stores on board, of course.

Amazing views from the exclusive lounge on deck 12

Amazing views from the exclusive lounge on deck 12

Pink Champagne and Sushi all day long...

Pink Champagne and Sushi all day long…

The all-inclusive is really generous, and even more so if you stay in one of the suites: Then you are granted  access to the X-Lounge, an exclusive bar-lounge located in one of the best spots on the top deck, where you can enjoy superb little snacks from breakfast to aperitif, accompanied by finest Champagne or freshly squeezed orange juice, to name only my faves. They also provide impeccable 5*-hotel worthy service and a concierge who helps you out with whatever you need. We loved it and will definitely be back for more!

Sunscreen for Oily and Hyperpigmented Skin

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Beauty
sun

Using a high factor sunscreen on your face year-round is the best prevention against premature skin aging, this is nothing new. As an occasional acne sufferer into my thirties I have tried about every facial sunblock on the market, and they all made me oily and break out. Later, I was rid of the acne, but still oily and in addition fighting Hyperpigmentation. Fortunately, the cosmetics industry has developed new formulas of sunblock that are also suitable for acne-prone, oily skin. They can even be used under make-up/foundation without clogging pores or leaving a greasy feeling.

Since I am a little paranoid, I usually layer my SPF, using different products on different parts on my face:

Vichy Idéal Soleil mattifying face fluid dry touch SPF 50 

Vichy Mattifying sunblock 50

This light gel-cream smells lovely and leaves no greasy film. I use this first, a thin layer on the whole face and neck. It is also great for men, because it is totally invisible (no white residue if you use it sparingly, and no shine!).

La Roche-Posay Anthélios Blur LSF 50 Unifying Cream ANTHELIOS_Tube Blur Unifiant T02 SPF50_40ml-det

This brand-new sunscreen is exactly what I have been waiting for all my life! It is a very dense tinted paste, more like a thick mousse-type foundation than a sun cream, and a little hard to squeeze out of the tube. But it turns into a powdery finish when applied to skin. Be careful not to take too much product, because it will flake. A pea-sized amount really goes a long way. There is only one tint available at the moment, which is too bad: For my medium to olive skin tone it is somewhat too light and rosy. But it has a wonderful unifying effect! I use this on all my hyperpigmented areas and it really makes them less visible while at the same time protecting them from getting darker.

Shiseido Sun Protection Compact Foundation SPF30 shiseido uv foundation

Shiseido is one of my favorite brands since the time I lived in Japan: They make the most delightful waterproof UV-protecting foundations, with great coverage. The international product line of Shiseido (they have countless sub-brands in Asia, where Shiseido is one of the largest cosmetics companies for both luxury and mass market products) has one sun-care line. My must-have from this line is the powder compact with SPF 30. It has great coverage, too, but tends to look a little chalky. So I go easy on this one. When photographed with flashlight, you really get the Geisha-Look. However, it is perfect to cover up blemishes and dark spots, because it reflects light. I use it over the Anthélios Blur Cream to get additional coverage to my Melasma spots.

GUINOT Newhite Brightening UV Shield 

guinot uv50

Guinot is a brand only available in beauty salons. I have once received a sample and tried it. It is a very light cream with shimmery pigments that adapt to your own skin tone when applied. It is too light for me to use on the whole face, and also a little oilier (for people with fair and dry skin it should be perfect!) but: it is great as a highlighter around eyes, and for accentuating cheekbones. I only use very little at a time, but is gives a great glow!

 

 

Foodie’s Paradise Copenhagen

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Food / Travel
Tapas at Work in Progress / SP34 Hotel CPH

My recent trip to Copenhagen was simply amazing: Beautiful city, well-dressed,  relaxed people, great shopping and – most of all – fantastic food.

We stayed at uber-hip but nicely understated Hotel SP34, which houses two very different but excellent restaurants: one is a fun burger place, and the other, Work in Progress, features nordic/spanish cuisine. They serve a fixed-price 4-course menu and each course comes with a matching glass of wine. Coffee and water are also included, a very good deal for 400 DKK. Anyway, wine is kind of a thing at the SP34, they offer free glasses of red or white during a daily “wine hour”. Hotel guests happily gather around the lobby every day around 5 pm to enjoy it.

I really appreciated Copenhagen for its love of great food, and even though I did not get around to visit legendary NOMA, I had a few superb dining experiences!

Some more places to check out:

  • Mother, a busy and popular pizza place in the up-and-coming meatpacking district.
  • Right across the street, the slightly pricier Kul (actually, this means “coal”, charcoal being the theme here) serves creative neo-nordic fare, and delicious cocktails. I had something heavenly made of rum, rhubarb and ginger… The food menu consists of several small dishes that can be combined individually into a course menu. Great concept!
  • For a more touristy experience (I LOVE touristy!), sit outside one of the countless waterfront restaurants in Nyhavn for a beer or two. Can’t beat the scenery. (see picture below…)

Nyhavn CPH 2015

My truth on Melasma (aka hyperpigmentation)

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Beauty
Selection of goose, duck and chicken eggs

I am not going to explain what Melasma is, because those of you who suffer from it, you know.

So: During my third pregnancy at age 37, dark-brown stains have started to develop on both cheeks, in very small areas at first, but a few months later it started on my forehead and – super-nasty – on my upper lip as well. As Melasma is also dubbed “mask of pregnancy”, I was not worried at first. I was positive that the ugly patches will go away once my hormones were back to normal.

Only, they didn’t.

So I launched myself into project “whitening”. Having lived in Japan for ten years in my twenties, I knew about the obsession of Japanese women with white, flawless skin. There is plethora of whitening products on the Japanese beauty market, something I have never understood at the time. I am the olive-skinned, Mediterranean type, and for me it was natural to be tanned in summer and a little less so during the winter months. And I liked my freckles, as long as they were sprinkled cutely over the bridge of my nose. (Something my Japanese girlfriends could not understand. They pitied me for my skin color being so “deep”!)

Now I started to investigate. There are many active ingredients in OTC cosmetics which are used to treat dark hyperpigmentation: Arbutin, Kojic Acid, Azaleic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Vitamin C, to name only the most popular ones.

The more powerful stuff containing the bleaching agent Hydroquinone is prescription-only here in Switzerland, so I got it from the US where it is available over the counter in 2% concentration. This was the first thing that really helped. However, after completing a 3-month treatment cycle, the dark patches came back with a vengeance. Mind, I have always used SPF 50++ even when I was very young, my mom always made sure. I have never had a single sunburn in my life.

I continued research, while still spending hundreds of francs on cosmetic products that did not help. Anti-pigmentation products suddenly started to pop up from virtually every beauty brand. So it seemed that I was not alone. Only that nothing, really nothing made the slightest difference on my Melasma.

The most disastrous attempt at “whitening” was a laser treatment, which my dermatologist had administered for free as a test, as she had not tried it on anyone for Melasma yet: I was grateful for this, being ready to try out just about anything to get rid of the stains. To make it short, there was only pain, no gain. The bleeding post-treatment spot on my forehead first turned pink, then brown again.It started to dawn on me that nobody was ready to admit the truth: There is no cure for Melasma, yet.

This whole post would be useless, if I had not found a few ways to lighten the spots, at least temporarily, over the last 10(!) years. Just keep in mind that the spots will always come back. Everyone has to decide for her/himself whether to just accept it, or keep using bleaching products on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.

Here is my personal list of what makes some difference and is worth a try:

Clarins_brightening

Clarins Bright Plus HP-series

I got this as a farewell- present from Clarins PR in 2009, as they knew about my problem and the range was only available in Asia back then. It really made my skin glow and I have seen it make a difference on smaller age-spots, even though it did not bleach the Melasma.

Packshot_Pigmentclar Serum PIGMENTCLAR-UV-SPF30_Tube-Soin-Correcteur-40ml-FRGB-1

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar

I love all the French pharmacy-brands, La Roche-Posay being my favorite. During my teens and twens, I used the Effaclar line for oliy skin and post-acne treatments. Their anti-hyperpigmentation line Pigmentclar consists of a serum, a daycream with SPF and a correcting eye cream.

Clinique even brighter

 Clinique Even Better Series

I have always loved Clinique, so this was one of the first “whitening” lines I have tried. I especially love the skin-tone-evening foundation, something you do not find from other brands yet.

Obagi Niu-Skin

Obagi Nu-Derm® System

This skincare system is not available in Switzerland, so I had to find a shipper in the US willing to send it to me. Thanks to Cory at Dermahut.com! Obagi Clear and Blender each contain 4% Hydroquinone and Blender has to be used together with 0.05 Retin-A for best results. Yes, there will be some discomfort, redness and peeling, but if you are really serious about getting rid of your hyperpigmentation and nothing else has worked, try this. As a lovely side-effect, some wrinkles will go away, too. I have just started a new treatment cycle at the end of October and plan on reporting in detail how it turnes out this time: It was a long, sunny summer and I did not stay out of the sun as religiously as I should have…and it shows on my forehead and cheeks.

Supplements

Once I had accepted the fact that Melasma was not curable from the outside, I started research on systemic treatments like superfoods and supplements. I did not find anything in terms of clinical studies, but there is some evidence suggesting that the following supplements might actually help to improve or even out skin tone.

These are mostly antioxidants, which have many health benefits anyway, so I guess it does not hurt to self-test some of them. Here‘s my list of what I have tried in the last 5 years:

MSM in high dosages

Resveratrol

Pycnogenol

Alpha-Liponic Acid combined with Vitamin C (over 1g/day)

Prescription Drugs

Tranexamic Acid: This amino acid has been known since the 1970ies for its skin bleaching effect. It is used in prescription drugs to relieve heavy menstrual bleeding or to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery. Its positive effects on Melasma have been discovered as a side effect. It really sounds promising, and in Japan, China, Korea and India it is all the rage right now. It is administered via injection by Dermatologists. Even though I am practically fearless when it comes to trying out new stuff, this scares me a little. It seems logical that some of the side effects of a drug against heavy bleeding are blood clotting (duh!) and possibly even heart attacks… I will keep an eye on it, but am not ready to try it as of now.