How To Deal With Dark Underarms, Bacne, And Eye Bags

A dermatologist shares her solutions for the most common skin problems.
PHOTO: istockphoto

By now, you probably know that you can't just use any generic skincare product on your face. If you're looking to treat certain skin conditions, you should read labels, know the things that work and don't work for you, and stick to your tried-and-tested brands. There are times, though, you'll need assistance. That's what your friendly neighborhood dermas and aesteticians are for.

We caught up with Dr. Kaycee Reyes of Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovations, and she shared with us tips and solutions for the most common skin concerns. 

"I have dark inner thighs and underarms. What treatments should I get, and what home remedies can I do?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: [The] simplest solution is to apply [a] topical anti-inflammatory cream like mild topical steroids for at least 14 days just to lessen the inflammation. Hyperpigmentation is due to chronic irritation (trigger factors include shaving, repeated chafing, hormonal imbalance, obesity, friction, and acanthosis nigricans). 

[You can also treat it with] a 1064nm laser that specifically targets pigmentation via disruption of melanin pigments. This [should be] done every two weeks or or once a month for at least five to eight sessions to see signficant reduction of pigments. Topical medication like hydroquinone, retinol, arbutin, licorice, and kojic acid might help, but not the best option since it can cause allergic and irritant reaction to some people.

"Is body peeling safe?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: Body peeling is safe if done by a doctor or aesthetician with high level of training. There's a wide selection of peels available depending on skin type and skin concerns. Superficial peels like alpha and betahydroxy acid peels are mild peels that will remove the upper layer of dead skin cells without actual desquamation of the skin. This will trigger repair, regeneration of collagen and improve skin tone without downtime.

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Medium and deep peels like TCA/tricholoacetic acid and phenol peels can give more dramatic results but with higher incidence of complications especially for darker skin like Filipinos and Indians. Phenol peel can even cause kidney failure if not applied properly.

"Why do I always get pimples on my chin?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: Chin pimples are most of the time triggered by [a] hormonal imbalance due to puberty, during pregnancy, perimenopausal women, and those women who abruptly stopped taking their contraceptive pills. Nutrition and diet can play a role, too. High glycemic index food like white bread, chips  and white pasta can trigger inflammatory acne.

"How do I get rid of the pimples on my back?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: For this, we combine [clinical] procedures of mild peels, topical retinoids, and oral medications (oral antibiotics, roaccutane) depending on the severity of the back acne. But with back acne, most of the time, we give oral medications to control the inflammation and bacteria since topicals most of the time cant be the sole treatment for back acne.

"I lost weight and I have loose skin and stretchmarks. How do I deal with them?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: With loose skin and stretchmarks, the best is to treat them both with INFINI technology. INFINI combines fractional radiofrequency technology with microneedling technologies. INFINI uses flow needle energy to deliver radiofrequency current to the deeper level of the skin (the dermis) where it is needed to properly promote tightening, collagen formation, and target the stretchmarks scars. Repeated sessions are needed, at least six to 10 sessions, two weeks apart. We also inject plate-rich plasma or carbon dioxide to stretchmarks, which can contribute to the scar remodelling.

"I always have dark undereyes even if I sleep well at night. How do I get rid of them?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: Dark undereyes can be [caused by the] following factors: hyperpigmentation, which can be treated with 1064nm lasers that will target the pigment; dark shadowing due to blood vessels supplying the orbicularis oculi (the muscles that close the eyelids), which can be lessened by applying vitamin K serum that will constrict the vessels; and the depresseion or hollowing of the tear trough, which can be treated with an injection of hyaluronic acid underneath the orbicularis oculi muscle to lessen the hollowing and brighten the appearance of the underyes.

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"What's the difference between a whitehead and a milia, and how do I keep milia from coming back?"

Dr. Kaycee Reyes: A whitehead is a soft core of dead skin cells and sebum clogged in the oil glands. Milia, on the other hand, form under a thin layer of skin and not in the oil glands. There is no opening in the skin where the hardened dead skin cells can escape.

For those who are prone to have milia and whiteheads, the best is to apply topical alpha and beta hydroxyacids (glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid) to help exfoliate the skin and lessen the clogging of pores and oil glands. Topical tretinoin or retinoic acid can also help loosen the keratin plug. It's best to combine both since these will not only prevent whitehead and milia formation, but will also promote skin rejuvenation, de-pigmentation, anti-acne, and anti-aging.

Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovations has branches on the 2nd level of Mercury Drug Building, 4th Ave. cor. 32nd St. in BGCs and on the 4th level of The Podum.

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