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Stap me, I think I am removing an aging spot. (My N=1 skin experiments)

skin skincare uv agespots liverspots aging sundamage sun protection skin age spots aging lycopene carotenoids retinoids topical niacinamide sun tan

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#1 Gerrans

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 05:56 PM


I have never thought very much about my skin. I am 60: during my 50s I noticed a few small "liver spots" appearing on my hands, but I accepted them as inevitable and irreversible. Then my attention was drawn to the phenomenon during the recent illness and death of my 83-year-old, sun-loving mum, who had become utterly covered in age spots. My mum's illness and death brought me together with my two younger sisters, whom I do not see very much. Like me, they are subject to the family's tendency to numerous moles. To my surprise, they both started commenting on the good state of my skin--in particular my tan, my feet, and my relative lack of age spots compared to them.

 

Although my mum had no problem with her skin, one of my sisters, who is 55 and has age spots all over her hands and arms, has had to have some melanomas removed. Somewhat surprising, since she is the most careful of us about sun exposure.

 

This brought into focus some things I have been noticing about my skin in the last four years, because, unless I am mistaken, my aging spots have been gradually getting less conspicuous during that time. Until that juncture, I just ate the modern diet--some good stuff but some bad too. Then overnight--frightened by several of my friends becoming diabetic--I gave up all processed foods, and many measures of my health improved. But I did not notice anything about my skin, partly because I did not care about it and partly because I assumed skin would improve, if at all, imperceptibly slowly.

 

*

 

Anyway, the encounter with my sisters prompted me to look into skin care matters, particularly the question of age spots. To my surprise, not only are there many anecdotes online from people who claim to have reduced them, but there are even some research studies suggesting the idea is not entirely unfeasible. I decided therefore to embark on a series of personal experiments to see whether I could get anywhere with improving the appearance of my skin. I will chart how I get on in this thread.

 

The approaches that I decided sounded the most promising (and convenient--no drugs or laser treatment for me) were those using either retinoids or niacinamide. But as it was a while before my monthly shopping trip, I thought that for the time being I would have a go at my age spots with two items we already had in the house, castor oil and tea tree oil. Both are mentioned anecdotally around the net as possible treatments for aging spots.

 

I chose to work on two spots--the largest one of all, on my right hand, which is shaped like a four-leaved clover, about 4mm across, and the darkest one, on my left hand, about 1mm in size. 10 days ago, I started rubbing a mix of tea tree oil and castor oil into both spots, each morning and evening. I have been trying to avoid soap, but if I inevitably get detergent on my hands, I reapply the oils. After a week I was getting nowhere. This did not surprise me, because I was not instinctively convinced that such pigmentation was removable--let alone by such materials--and certainly not quickly.

 

Remembering that retinoids--and other such treatments--are said to work by causing a peel, I now idly took the crude measure of lightly scratching at the two spots with a sharp toothpick. I was careful not to draw blood, but I did cause the spots to redden, since when it has been hard to observe the state of the pigmentation. Until today. When I rubbed a sort of healing film off the larger spot, to my great surprise the age spot had almost halved in size (all that is left of the four-leaved clover are two leaves and a tiny dot of pigment). I cannot stop looking at it. The smaller spot remains the same size but, unless I am mistaken, it is now no darker than a similar-sized, previously lighter, one nearby.

 

I cannot believe what has happened in such a short time, with such lowly ingredients and with little more than a lackadaisical approach on my part.

 

I am not getting carried away. Reading about melasma, it seems it can come back very quickly after treatment--not that age spots are necessarily formed the same way. So I wait to see if my age spot recovers its brownness.

 

*

 

I have also started a second little skin experiment on myself, which I will write about in another post.


Edited by Gerrans, 30 July 2015 - 06:20 PM.

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#2 Gerrans

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 07:36 PM

I mentioned that four years ago, after I gave up processed foods, I noticed various health improvements but nothing to do with my skin. In actual fact, I did notice something, without the implications sinking in.

 

That first summer, I developed a healthy tan, probably the best one of my life, despite seeing no more of the sun than usual. For the first time, I rarely used sunscreen, because I had become influenced by those who advocate against it. Though I occasionally felt as if I was burning, I never, beyond a short-lived redness, got sunburned. I certainly did not peel. I assumed these developments were down to my healthy diet and supplements, and I thought no more of it.

 

The following spring, I vaguely noticed that my tan would be off to a very good start, because the previous year's tan had not gone away over the winter. In retrospect, this was odd, because before that I would always go back to white over winter and then have to start tanning anew. (I should say that I do not care about tans, from an aesthetic point of view. They happen; that is it. I have never courted a tan.)

 

Since the year of changing my diet, I had had something of a permanent tan. For the first time in my life people were commenting on my tan. To be honest, I felt a little embarrassed about that, because in this land of little sun I had always associated a tan with idleness, insofar as it presumably required a lot of lying about. (I never sunbathe.)

 

Still, I did not think about the matter pointedly until this year. This year has been different, because I have hardly been able to get out in the sun at all. Yet the tan is still here, drawing comments.

 

*

 

I think I do know the reason for it now.

 

One of my first dilemmas, once I gave up processed food, was what to do for a sauce. I always liked some tomato or brown sauce on the side of my plate--I mean ketchup, the junk food sort. As a stopgap till I thought of anything better, I decided to put a dollop of tomato purée (tomato paste) on the side of each plate instead. At first I found that a bit plain, but I came to love it, serving larger amounts as time went by. By about this time last year I was combining tomato paste with all sorts of other thing--turmeric, spices, onion powder, coconut, etc., to make delicious sauces that doubled as a hit of healthy nutrition boosters.

 

I actually gave up eating fresh tomatoes themselves and just got my tomato from the paste. I regarded it almost as a supplement, because of the association of its lycopene with benefit to the prostate. (I am always looking to eat or supplement things that might challenge the diseases of aging.) I also eat a carrot a day, more because I love carrots than anything else. I vaguely knew that carotenoids such as lycopene and carotene were good for the skin, but the penny dropped only recently that they were probably the reason behind my sustained and (this year) sunless tan.

 

*

 

So, two weeks ago, I started an experiment to eat even larger amounts of tomato paste to see if it would visibly affect the colour of my skin. Each day I am now eating half a tube of pure tomato paste, mixed in with my sauces. And, sure enough, the result is starting to become detectable in my skin. Now my tan is increasingly underlayed with a reddish tinge. It is a satisfyingly bronzed effect, not the inflamed one you get when you burn. My palms are also markedly pinker. So already I think I am proving to myself that diet is behind my unintended perma-tan.

 

When the experiment is over, I will return to a smaller consumption of tomato paste. But I will continue to eat it every day, along with a carrot or sweet potato. I wonder if my high consumption of these items has contributed to the apparent slow fading of my age spots these last four years.

 

*

 

There is plenty of research showing that carotenoids are sun protective and beneficial to the skin. For example:

 

Rizwan, et al, Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans: a randomised controlled trial, Br J Dermatol, 2011

 

Stahl, et al, Carotenoids and carotenoids plus Vitamin E protect against ultra violet light-induced erythema [sunburn] in humans, Am J Clin Nutr, 2000


Edited by Gerrans, 30 July 2015 - 07:40 PM.

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#3 Gerrans

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 06:38 PM

I was not going to add to these notes so soon, but I woke up this morning and the little spot on the left hand was gone! Having chosen the largest spot plus the darkest spot to work on, this gave me the urge to move on to some more, so off I went.

 

Basically, I have now had a go at all the other spots on the back of my left hand, most of them about 1mm or 2mm across. This time, I got straight to the scratching. The ones in the middle, near the dark one that I had targeted before, had had just as much tea tree oil and castor oil, so I went at them first. This time I watched carefully what I was doing, and to my surprise the dark skin came away easily from all of them. I could actually push the specky remnants of the spots across my oiled hand--and in one case the whole spot came away, as a scab might do. I picked at the spots quite determinedly to make sure all the pigmented skin came off. In one or two places, beads of blood came to the surface, but mostly the job was done surprisingly cleanly, as if the surface skin had somehow pre-dissolved. I also went back to the four-leaved clover spot on the right hand and removed its final two leaves.

 

I am using a thin, bendy, hook-shaped toothpick that nonetheless has a slightly rounded point, so I can almost massage bits of skin off while applying a little pressure where necessary.

 

At the moment, I am not quite sure how important the two weeks of rubbing with tea tree and castor oil have been. Have the oils by some chemical process been undermining these spots? (I do know that without a carrier oil, tea tree oil is very drying and can crack skin.) Or is this just a crude matter of scraping off some surface skin, exposing the unpigmented layer beneath?

 

To test this out, I turned to a spot on my left wrist, which is far enough away from the original spot of interest to have had little collateral oil on it. Sure enough, it was much more resistant to scraping; but still I think I have reduced it.

 

By this time all that remained on my left hand were the age spots on the side of the hand, around the top of the thumb. One of these was the largest spot I had left--a rhombus-shaped, medium-dark spot, which I had originally intended to leave until experimenting with retinoids or niacinamide. I am sorry I do not have the means to show photographs, but at this point I went round several people getting them to note this rhombus spot for future reference. If things progress as I wish, I should be able shortly to amaze them. All of them have age spots of their own.

 

Then I started scratching at the rhombus spot and its two satellites. It had had no oil treatment, so it was not "soluble" to the pick. I had to work at it quite hard to remove a layer of skin, and blood was produced. I could see an area of dark staining beneath, about half as big as the original, so I scratched at that too until it was pink. This was all rather brutal, but I sensed it would pay dividends.

 

It did not hurt, even when I rubbed the oils into it. It is now a glistening reddish pink, like a small graze. Two things that have surprised are how little pain is involved and how little blood is drawn. I would like to think this results from my healthy diet, including all the carotenes and vitamin C. My skin seems very tough and resilient. And since my age spots have been fading for the last few years anyway, maybe they were primed for this ready disintegration by the improvement in my skin health during that time.

 

*

 

I now have just a few remaining spots on the back of my right hand to do, including a cluster of four near the outside. I just gave them their first rubbing with the two oils, giving up my original idea of saving them for comparative experiments with other treatments.

 

This all seems too easy, and I am waiting for the catch. Maybe the brown spots will just grow back. It does seem odd they can so easily be removed, considering they had been there a long time and seemed set for life. I am thinking that once cell groups become dysfunctional and overproduce melanin, maybe they will reproduce on the same spot and spread to their neighbours. But if they are all cleared away, perhaps the dysfunctional process goes with them, leaving the unpigmented skin below to grow normally in the area they vacate?


Edited by Gerrans, 31 July 2015 - 07:22 PM.

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#4 Gerrans

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 07:45 PM

I have had to hold myself back from prematurely adding to this thread, because I am so excited about the zapping of my age spots. Today, all my scratchings are pretty much healed, apart from the big one on my left hand, which is getting there fast. Every wound has healed with no trace of brown pigmentation. They are reddish-pink still, but it is clear the skin is unblemished. I am holding my breath, though, just in case the brown pigment comes back later, once the skin has settled down. But I am optimistic on that not happening, given that the idea was to remove the cells from which the hyperpigmentation was emanating.

 

This feels like a big deal for me. Provisionally, I now have no age spots at all on my left hand, which, though they were not extreme, was sprinkled with them. On the right hand, I have only tackled one age spot--the big four-leaved clover one, now gone. The rest of the hand is not as bad as the left one was, but it of course now cries out for the same treatment. I will bide my time on that till the last graze on the left hand has finally healed over. In the meantime, I am applying castor oil and tea tree oil to the spots on the right hand, to see if they can fade just from treatment by oil. It would seem unlikely--sometimes I think they are fading, mostly not. It does not matter, now I know I can scratch them off when I like; but I would dearly love to know if there is any substance in the internet claims that age spots can be faded by this or various other homespun applications.

 


Edited by Gerrans, 06 August 2015 - 07:58 PM.


#5 Gerrans

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 08:29 PM


I have been fascinated watching my scratch marks heal during the last six days. I want to add a few observations on the process.

 

*

 

All my life, I have believed a shallow cut or graze should be exposed to the air as soon and as much as possible. I assumed that drying out would help shallow wounds heal. But in this case I was unable to keep my scratch wounds dry, since I was constantly dabbing castor oil and tea tree oil on them. So I decided to make this an experiment in moist wound healing.

 

I had come across the principle of moist wound healing in the course of reading about healing with castor oil. I learned that it is now established in medical circles that wounds heal better when kept wet. Far from allowing air into a wound, best practice now involves placing air-tight dressings on wounds to speed up healing. I chose not to put band-aids or packs on my little wounds, however, because I wanted to watch their progress hour by hour, to observe how, and in what state of pigmentation, new skin would emerge. So I made sure, as well as I could, to keep the spots oiled all of the time. They lost their oil in the shower or bath, of course, but not their wetness. The only times they dried out were overnight, despite my oiling them at bed time. One time, I tried to keep them moist overnight by coating them in petroleum jelly, but they still somewhat dried out.

 

I was keen to have the wounds heal smoothly, and therefore I did not want them to form hard scabs. (One of the benefits of moist wound treatment, apparently, is that moist wounds heal more smoothly because they do not scab.) So I have been watching my scratched spots heal under a coating of oil. They still exuded scabbing materials, but the attempted scabs were soluble, and I could gently ease them aside without damage to the healing edges or surfaces of the wounds. When drier scabs formed overnight, which would have torn the wounds had I scratched them off, I found I could slide them off after an hour's re-soaking by the oils. I would then gently rub the newly exposed surface with my finger tip, to make sure all the edges were smooth. This method of wet, uncovered healing is uncomplicated. Historically, I have read, honey was often used on wounds in this way. And castor oil has a similar consistency to honey.
 

On one occasion, I tried olive oil instead of castor oil. It stays moist for as long--a good three hours--but is runnier and tends to trickle down the side of the hand or between the fingers. Castor oil, though sticky, more or less stays in place, and so it is not too inconvenient. At the moment, I am not sure whether castor oil has a healing effect in itself or whether it just aids healing by forming a barrier to the air. It is much touted as a healing oil, but the research on that is more than ropy. Its biggest advocate was the psychic healer Edgar Cayce--offputtingly something of a charlatan, whose word I am disinclined to take on trust.

 

Castor oil is a multi-purpose folk remedy in many parts of the world. It was not unknown in my own family. Maybe the reason research on its healing properties is so limited is that it is extracted from one of the most toxic beans on the planet. All the same, it is very intriguing, and I will write some more about it another time. (Even the encyclopedic Longecity forums have little on it!)

 

*

I have been taking Vitamin C tablets this week, to help with the healing. Yesterday, on a whim, I bit one in half, licked it, and rubbed it on the big scratch above my left thumb. I knew instantly I had found the perfect tool for manipulating my little wounds. More abrasive than a fingertip, less jumpy than a toothpick, it acts like a miniature pumice stone, delivering specks of vitamin C into the wound. Vitamin C is of course well known for helping with healing, but I doubted this crude method would get any of it into the wound--it did not feel as if much was coming off. I recoated the area with castor oil and tea tree oil, got back to work, and paid no attention to it for the next hour or two. When I finally glanced at it, I almost did a double take, because the wound had got visibly smaller. I put some more C on, and the same happened again. By now, about 30 hours later, the wound has halved in size.

 

Today, I was out in the sun for a while. After running another broken tablet across the wound, I added not only castor and tea tree oil but sunscreen too, because I did not want direct rays hitting the wound. A short time later, I noticed a yellow stain in the white sunscreen over the spot. The sunscreen had some carbonates in it, so I do not know if a kind of reaction took place. At least it shows that a certain amount of C came off the tablet onto the skin.

 

Later I tried holding a half Vitamin C tablet on the wound for a minute or two. I could feel a slight sting, which told me the Vitamin C must be getting into the wound. My plan is to include Vitamin C with niacinamide, retinoids, and Vitamin E among topical applications to experiment with in the future, to see what effect they have on aging spots and wound healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Gerrans, 06 August 2015 - 09:03 PM.


#6 Gerrans

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 07:19 PM

The wound on my left hand where the age spot was has been more or less healed for the last week; but I have been waiting for it to settle before noting it on this thread. The area is still a little redder than the tanned skin around it, but this is characteristic of the post-sealing-over stage, and I think I can see there will be no scar.

 

I am extremely excited I appear to have got rid of this and all the other age spots on my left hand (plus one on the right hand) with little pain or effort. A month ago, it would never have occurred to me this was possible. I knew surgical treatments could remove age spots, but, without giving much thought to it, had assumed the healing would be unsatisfactory, with no guarantee the spots would not reform.

 

*

I am continuing the experiment of treating the age spots on my right hand with castor oil, tea tree oil, and now sometimes rosehip seed oil as well--just to see if I can fade them without even scraping them. I do not think I am getting far with this. I might have achieved a very slight fading of the skin on the whole back of the hand, but that leaves the age spots in the same proportion of darkness to their surroundings.

 

Although I have read many accounts of fading effects from application of various substances, I could not really grasp how it was to work. You cannot just dissolve melanin, as far as I know. The method must depend upon peeling the skin, eventually exposing the base layer of the epidermis, where the melanocytes are. If castor oil, retinoids, etc., have the capacity to interfere with melanin production--as seems to be documented--this might give them the chance to get at the melanocytes and shut them down. However, I am dubious they can do this without a peeling process, because the epidermis is not easily permeable by oils (it would not be doing its job if it were). So if this process is to work, I should think it will take a very long time. I doubt I have the patience for it, now I have found a quicker way to remove hyperpigmented parts of the epidermis and with them the melanocytes that are pigmenting them.

 

*

 

I have also started a couple of experiments on moles. My biggest mole is a very protruding one on the inside of my left forearm. This last two weeks I have been treating it with vinegar, castor oil, and tea tree oil and keeping it under plasters. This is not really having any effect, though the mole might be getting very slightly redder in parts. I will probably switch to another application soon--maybe a paste of bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar. These methods are based on things I have seen on YouTube videos, though I am still sceptical my moles can be got rid of so easily.

 

The day before yesterday, I set about another mole, a medium-sized, medium-raised one, which lives on my left wrist under my watch. I have been oiling it for a couple of weeks. I now scraped at it with the toothpick I used for my age spots. But it was a much tougher proposition. I had to turn to a sharper pick and then to my Stanley knife in order to get anywhere. The trouble was that the mole area was several times more fibrous and gristly than normal skin and did not want to be cut or dug into. In the end, I settled for shaving it gradually down. There was some blood, of course, but nothing too bad, and, believe it or not, virtually no pain. Once I had shaved it level I could see the shape of the mole in my flesh--like the outline of a hill fort in an aerial photograph--though it was pinker underneath than at the surface. It disappointed me to give up; but any idea of uprooting the under-mole was out of the question with the awkward tools at hand.

 

My method of dressing the wound was based on what I have learned from observing my age spot wounds heal. I dabbed a mixture of tea tree oil, castor oil, and rosehip seed oil on it and on a large plaster, and then I covered it and wrapped a wide waterproof strapping over it and round my whole wrist. The next morning, when I changed the dressing, I was pleased to find the wound still moist--the waterproof strapping had kept the moisture in.

 

This time I applied a little neat ascorbic acid powder to the wound, before adding the oils and sealing it up the same way as before. Today, when I took the dressing off, I was surprised to see the entire wound was white. At first, I thought this was from a residue of the ascorbic acid powder, but then I realised it was the flesh itself. No sign of scabbing matter at all. But there was one small dark spot that I thought was dirt. When I tried to remove it, however, it turned out to be dark mole flesh, which stands out when the skin around it is white. This was partly disappointing, as it looks as if the mole will grow back dark, and partly promising, as the dark area was much smaller than that of the original mole.

 

I fetched my picks and tried to winkle the dark area out, but, as before, it proved resistant, though I distressed it somewhat, particularly by piercing it several times through to the dermis. The idea of that--a little hopeful--is to possibly encourage new pale collagen up through the mole's foundations. I know moles go down into the dermis, but I am hoping that they grow from melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis (in other words, that they grow both upwards and downwards). My long shot is that by scraping off the epidermis the other day, I may have removed the seeds of the hyperpigmentation. But if moles in fact grow from within the dermis below, I know the mole will grow back up from there. I will be interested to see whether it regrows protruding or flat, regularly or dysfunctionally.

 

By the way, the reason I am using vitamin C is that it is reputed to possess powerful topical healing properties. It loses its effect pretty quickly, and I am trying to prolong that by sealing it in with oils and a waterproof dressing. Rosehip seed oil, apart from known healing properties, contains some tretinoin. Although it contains much less of that than retinol and retinoid creams, I am hoping it may interfere with melanin production in the melanocytes. Castor oil is said to be able to do that too, though the science is shakier than for tretinoin.

 

As I have said to friends and relations alarmed at the above operations, if you do not experiment, you cannot learn.


Edited by Gerrans, 24 August 2015 - 08:11 PM.

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#7 8bitmore

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 06:47 PM

@Gerrans, thanks for writing all of this up! :) I have no idea why no one has commented on your efforts so far - think it is a brilliant method you have found. By all means continue the documentation process, will for sure pass on this thread to friends and relatives who have age spots.


Edited by 8bitmore, 25 August 2015 - 07:16 PM.


#8 Gerrans

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 10:06 AM

@Gerrans, thanks for writing all of this up! :) I have no idea why no one has commented on your efforts so far - think it is a brilliant method you have found. By all means continue the documentation process, will for sure pass on this thread to friends and relatives who have age spots.

 

Cheers, 8bitmore. I do not mind no one commenting. It is a little report for myself, which I think is worth posting here because I am having some success. I am not saying anyone should copy me, mind you. Doctors would frown on deliberately wounding one's own skin.

 

I think I am showing, though, that age spots are superficial and therefore removable, by whatever means. No one needs to accept them as inevitable.



#9 Mrs Miggins

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 04:31 PM

Well I have just joined & am thrilled to bits to have found this excellent thread! Thank you SO much for writing it up! I love self experiments, especially beauty ones & you have inspired me to get out my Philips Reaura (a home Fraxel device, which is a kind of laser resurfacing). Ive just had a go at my age spots that way because I dont want the disruption of visible wound healing & will put some vitamin C on them & cover them with Castor oil. You could also use aggressive exfoliation like microdermabrasion crystals or even a home made sugar scrub. In fact Im going to dig out my sample of microdermabrasion crystals & use them before I put the C & oil on.

 

Like you, I am covered in moles & apparent the Apple Cider vinegar method does work but takes a while & looks pretty bad. We might still get some more summer so that can wait..

 

And great point on the carrots too. Apparently people who eat plenty of carrots are 6 times less likely to get skin cancer. Thats got to be worth doing an apple, carrot & ginger smoothie in the morning surely? Thank god carrots taste so nice. So again, THANK YOU!! :) :)


Edited by Mrs Miggins, 26 August 2015 - 04:50 PM.


#10 Gerrans

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 08:05 PM

Well I have just joined & am thrilled to bits to have found this excellent thread! Thank you SO much for writing it up! I love self experiments, especially beauty ones & you have inspired me to get out my Philips Reaura (a home Fraxel device, which is a kind of laser resurfacing). Ive just had a go at my age spots that way because I dont want the disruption of visible wound healing & will put some vitamin C on them & cover them with Castor oil. You could also use aggressive exfoliation like microdermabrasion crystals or even a home made sugar scrub. In fact Im going to dig out my sample of microdermabrasion crystals & use them before I put the C & oil on.

 

Like you, I am covered in moles & apparent the Apple Cider vinegar method does work but takes a while & looks pretty bad. We might still get some more summer so that can wait..

 

And great point on the carrots too. Apparently people who eat plenty of carrots are 6 times less likely to get skin cancer. Thats got to be worth doing an apple, carrot & ginger smoothie in the morning surely? Thank god carrots taste so nice. So again, THANK YOU!! :) :)

 

I mean to write something about microdermabrasion shortly.

 

*

 

I am dabbing castor oil on three selected moles and lumps on my face, and cider vinegar on one on my neck--but more in an exploratory than a hopeful way. So far, no sign of any progress. Perhaps the ones we see come off on the YouTube videos were late growers, while mine (not the pale lumps, which are more recent) have been there since childhood, judging by photographs. I do not mind keeping them, but if they can come off, I might as well have a go.

 

*

 

My skin is getting more orangy pink by the day, but not in a way that looks strange. I think the people who are obsessed with tanning do not realise that a nice skin colour is as much about carotene as melanin (according to the papers below, even more so):

 

 

Attractive skin coloration: Harnessing sexual selection to improve diet and health

 

Whitehead, et al, Evolutionary Psychology, 2012

 

In this paper we review the mechanisms through which carotenoid coloration could provide a sexually selected cue to condition in species with elaborate color vision. Skin carotenoid pigmentation induced by fruit and vegetable consumption may provide a similar cue to health in humans (particularly light-skinned Asians and Caucasians). Evidence demonstrates that carotenoid-based skin coloration enhances apparent health, and that dietary change can perceptibly impact skin color within weeks. We find that the skin coloration associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption benefits apparent health to a greater extent than melanin pigmentation. We argue that the benefits to appearance may motivate individuals to improve their diet and that this line of appearance research reveals a potentially powerful strategy for motivating a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health

 

Stephan et al, Evolution and Human Behaviour, 2011

 

We present three studies investigating the contribution of carotenoid and melanin to skin color and the healthy appearance of human faces. Study 1 demonstrates similar perceptual preferences for increased skin L* and b* in UK-based Caucasian and black South African populations. Study 2 shows that individuals with higher dietary intakes of carotenoids and fruit and vegetables have increased skin b* values and show skin reflectance spectra consistent with enhanced carotenoid absorption. Study 3 shows that, to maximize apparent facial health, participants choose to increase empirically derived skin carotenoid coloration more than melanin coloration in the skin portions of color-calibrated face photographs. Together our studies link skin carotenoid coloration to both perceived health and healthy diet, establishing carotenoid coloration as a valid cue to human health which is perceptible in a way that is relevant to mate choice, as it is in bird and fish species.

 

*

 

That second study is interesting, because, when looking at photos, people perceived a carotenoid coloration as more attractive than a melanin coloration.

 

The more I look at my hands--and I have been doing that a lot recently (for the first time in my life), the more I see that skin colour is a mix of three tonal influences: melanin (pale brown), carotene (orangy yellow), and blood (pinky red). The last one is important too, because a pallid skin does not evoke "glowing" health.



#11 Gerrans

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 07:01 PM

I rather stumbled on a way of ridding myself of my age spots, just by scratching a couple of them on a whim. But I believe there is a simple physiological reason why it works. It does so because the cells that send out the dark pigment are placed very close to the surface of the skin. Therefore, once one has scraped them away, the source of the hyperpigmentation is removed, and new skin will grow back with a normal colour.

 

When I started to read up about skin, I discovered that the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is much thinner than I had thought. It is at its thickest on the palm at 1.5mm but might be as thin as 0.2mm on the back of the hand (in an old geezer like me). That is very thin.

 

And it turns out that the melanocytes--the cells that produce melanin pigment--are on the basal layer of the epidermis. This means that they lie very shallowly in the skin, above the dermis (where the main apparatus of blood cells, nerves, collagen production, etc. is found). So one can get at them without triggering much pain, blood, or inflammation.

 

A melanin cell produces the sort of hyperpigmentation seen in age spots when the cell is damaged in some way, as a form of defence. (Darker skin is less vulnerable to the sun and other skin-damaging factors, such as tobacco smoke.) There is usually one melanocyte to every 35 keratinocytes, the main sort of skin cells. The melanocytes extend little branches (dendrites), like a tree, and use them to transfer the melanin pigment into the surrounding cells. I think this tree-like pattern might explain why my age spots became smaller the more I scratched away my skin, the melanocytes being at the bottom, like roots. It is important to remove that basal layer of the epidermis, or the same defence-mode melanocytes would re-hyperpigment the same area of skin.

 

The above explanation is based on a good deal of reading; but I cannot be sure I am right in every detail. The most important point is that age spots are surface phenomena, which can be removed quite easily. They are not rooted in malfunctions deep in the skin. In my opinion, one is doing the skin a favour by removing them, because it enables the skin to regrow in a more youthful manner.


Edited by Gerrans, 27 August 2015 - 07:08 PM.


#12 Gerrans

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 07:59 PM

I have not found anyone else on the internet doing what I have done to remove age spots. I think this might owe to a taboo against deliberately damaging one's own skin, plus a fear of infection. But people do not have so much fear of allowing someone else, whether a medical professional or a random tattooist or beautician, to damage their skin. I guess the assumption is that when you pay for treatment, you are likely to have a professional job done, with no chance of infection.

 

I still feel odd at having damaged my own skin deliberately, even though it resulted in the removal of age spots and growth of healthy new skin. I got the idea from reading about the professional removal of age spots by application of various substances, such as retinoids, that cause a chemical peel. After a tedious ten days of rubbing oils into my age spots, I thought, "If a chemical peel can work, why not a physical peel?"

 

When you read about professional chemical peel treatments, they often involve a course of several visits over many months. At each visit, substances are applied (kojic acid and the like), and then you go away and repeat it under instruction at home. All this costs a great deal of money. The peels are not comfortable, because applications such as retinoic acid tend to cause soreness or irritation—which is not surprising, because they are making the skin peel. In my way of doing it, the whole process was over in a fortnight. First the scratching away of the age spots, then a quick healing of the resulting superficial wounds. Not only did that cost me no money, but I avoided having peeling hands for several months.

 

*

 

The principle of chemical peels (and of all age-spot removal methods, as far as I can see) is explained by Cheryl Burgess in her well-referenced book Cosmetic Dermatology (2005), which I dipped into on Google Books:

 

Superficial, medium, and deep chemical peels may be employed for the treatment of pigmentary abnormality … Chemical peeling involves applying a caustic chemical agent which produces a controlled, partial-thickness injury, thereby promoting the growth of new skin with improved surface characteristics. It destroys varying amounts of epidermis and upper portions of the dermis. A wound-healing response following the injury involves epidermal regeneration by epithelial migration, decrease in solar elastosis, and replacement of dermal connective tissue … Postprocedure regimen should include sunscreen, sun avoidance, and moisturiser.

 

*

 

You can pay to have more aggressive treatments, such as laser therapy, cryotherapy, or microdermabrasion. But these are not much quicker than the chemical peel method, because they also involve repeated visits to the operators of the techniques. They all amount to the same thing, though: the physical removal of the aging spots from the skin.

 

When I read about processes such as microdermabrasion, and microneedling, which involve digging lots of little needles into the skin in order to encourage the outer layers to come off, I was reminded of my method of digging into my skin with a sharp toothpick. The snag is that if you are handing over good money for these services, you might as well have a lot done, and so you come out of the salon/surgery covered in hundreds of tiny needle wounds that can make you look very red. This is what I have noticed on YouTube demonstrations, anyway. It may not happen if you are treated with the smallest needle rollers, but then you will have to return more often till the job is done.

 

*

 

An extraordinary number of businesses advertise such services online. I cannot help thinking this is because age spot removal is both highly lucrative and very simple to do. It would not take long to train someone to use a laser tool, a cryotherapy gun (which freezes the spots off), or a needle roller, and to dab on a few chemicals.

 

Even more extraordinary is the sheer density of mumbo jumbo with which the websites of these salons describe their operations. It has the effect of making the business of removing a few dark skin spots sound super-technical and scientific, when in my opinion it is just the opposite. This applies even to physician dermatologists.

 

One thing I noticed when reading the websites of such practitioners was that the chemicals they apply with peels or abrasions are always the important-sounding ones: glycolic acid, salycilic acid, trichloracetic acid, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, etc. There is a scrupulous failure to mention such things as Vitamin C, Niacinamide, and Vitamin E, which have also been shown to help reduce hyperpigmentation (as well as being useful healers).* I suspect the professionals do not want to give the game away that DIY age spot removal can be done for little expenditure at home, using inexpensive materials.

 

As for infection, there is no more likelihood of an infection from age spot removal than from other superficial skin wounds such as cuts and grazes. And most of us already have treatments for those in the cupboard.

 

 

* See Neil Sadick & Mary Lupo, Cosmeceutical Science in Clinical Practice, 2010


Edited by Gerrans, 28 August 2015 - 08:30 PM.


#13 Mrs Miggins

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 04:47 PM

Youre right, they are all different ways of doing the same thing. I think scatching them is good because you remember to do it. I used my home fraxel on mine & it has made a difference, but I did it once then forgot about it, so the little spots are reduced but not gone.

 

FYI I bought TCA online for home peels, including several strong ones. Just before summer I peeled my lower legs & feet, hands, around my eyes & parts of my chest. My hand & legs/feet were the most aggressive & were relatively easy & pain free. It took a full 2 weeks for the skin cells to turn over (first your skin looks burnt, then more wrinkled, then starts coming off bit by bit as new skin replaces it underneath) & I had to keep moisturing my hands all the time but I could still carry on life normally. But most importantly it has made a SIGNIFICANT difference in the quality of my skin & blitzed my age spots. The peel around my eyes (including my upper eyelids) was a complete success too & has taken a good 5 years off me.

 

I highly recommend this very cheap approach, but be careful not to do too many. 2 in the first 3 or 4 months then leave it for at least 6 months. There is a lot of imformation online (some of it from doctors) as to best peel protocols. TCA has proved a great deal better than glycolic/salycylic. Its not an immediate peel but it excellent for used all over.



#14 Mrs Miggins

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 04:52 PM

Re mole removal..

Not sure how the ACV is going for moles for you, but I believe the idea is to keep the mole wet with ACV on a cotton wool ball (after you have scratched it to break the surface) till it falls off. A friend of mine tried with several moles & got a lot of inflammation. Removing them by laser or surgery seems to be best though.

 

I found this comment from a doctor re surgical mole removal which might be helpful re technique if you want to tackle it at home..

 

At one time surgeons cut them out down to their roots, a surgical procedure that required stitches and bandages and often left stitch tracks and unsightly scars and irregularities in pigmentation.

Today, instead of cutting deeply into the skin, cosmetic dermasurgeons angle the scalpel horizontally beneath the projecting portion of the mole to "sculpt" it away. The wound is then covered with a drop of liquid bandage and left to heal by itself. It usually takes seven to ten days for the crust to fall off and a few weeks for the color to fade toward normal.

Patients can return to work immediately following the procedure. The risk of any kind of scarring with this method are very small, since no deep cutting is performed. In the course of healing, normal skin from the surrounding area generally grows over the wound, which lends to a very nice color match in most cases.

It is extremely important that the removed surface specimen be sent to the laboratory to be one thousand percent certain that the mole being removed for cosmetic purposes is nothing more than just a benign birth mark and not a hidden melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.

For this reason, I strongly advise against moles being removed by destructive methods, such as burning, cauterizing, acids, and lasers. These methods destroy the removed specimen and do not permit a laboratory evaluation.



#15 Gerrans

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 04:09 PM

Re mole removal..

Not sure how the ACV is going for moles for you, but I believe the idea is to keep the mole wet with ACV on a cotton wool ball (after you have scratched it to break the surface) till it falls off. A friend of mine tried with several moles & got a lot of inflammation. Removing them by laser or surgery seems to be best though.

 

I found this comment from a doctor re surgical mole removal which might be helpful re technique if you want to tackle it at home..

 

At one time surgeons cut them out down to their roots, a surgical procedure that required stitches and bandages and often left stitch tracks and unsightly scars and irregularities in pigmentation.

Today, instead of cutting deeply into the skin, cosmetic dermasurgeons angle the scalpel horizontally beneath the projecting portion of the mole to "sculpt" it away. The wound is then covered with a drop of liquid bandage and left to heal by itself. It usually takes seven to ten days for the crust to fall off and a few weeks for the color to fade toward normal.

Patients can return to work immediately following the procedure. The risk of any kind of scarring with this method are very small, since no deep cutting is performed. In the course of healing, normal skin from the surrounding area generally grows over the wound, which lends to a very nice color match in most cases.

It is extremely important that the removed surface specimen be sent to the laboratory to be one thousand percent certain that the mole being removed for cosmetic purposes is nothing more than just a benign birth mark and not a hidden melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.

For this reason, I strongly advise against moles being removed by destructive methods, such as burning, cauterizing, acids, and lasers. These methods destroy the removed specimen and do not permit a laboratory evaluation.

 

I have just removed a mole with a tag band. I will write about this in the next post.
 



#16 Gerrans

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 05:35 PM

My mole-removal attempts are going surprisingly well. But before I mention them, I should (in case everything here sounds suspiciously rosy) note a few failures.

 

*

 

For about six weeks I have been applying oils to the back of my right hand to see if I can fade the age spots there. I cannot see any effect and shall give this up, since I know I can scratch them off when I want. I started for three weeks with castor oil and tea tree oil and then continued just with rose hip oil, but neither treatment worked. To be fair, the reports of this approach suggest it can take a long time, such as six months, to get anywhere--but it has become too tedious to continue, so I will never know if that is true.

 

*

 

I also had a go at a lump on my neck and my biggest mole on my arm, by soaking them in various oils and liquids and placing packs over them. I have read online accounts of this sort of thing working, but I got nowhere with it. Worse still, when I turned from tea tree oil and castor oil to cider vinegar, it inflamed my skin (as Mrs Miggins suggests it might). Vinegar is very acid and gradually irritates the whole area under the pack, including innocent-bystander skin. There came a point when I had to give up because my skin felt so sore, and for no reward.

 

*

 

Anyway, now to the successes, which I am very excited about!

 

The area where I planed off the mole on my left wrist has healed much better than I could have hoped. The replacement skin bears no trace of the mole at all, unless you look at it from an angle, when you can see a very slight circle shape (but this is a normal pink, no brown in it). This total eradication of the mole has surprised me, because I only took off its raised layer. But I am hopeful it will not repigment brown, because at my age moles grow less brown anyway, and because I noted at the time of shaving the mole off that its exposed underpart seemed pink, not brown. So this is all very gratifying: I cannot stop gazing at that wrist, which harboured the banished mole as long as I can remember.

 

Some unexpected collateral advantages spread onto the surrounding skin. This lower part of my left wrist was probably the most mole- and age-spot-speckled part of my whole body. I was using large plasters to cover the mole-wound area (it was under my cuff, so I could not leave it uncovered) and dripping copious vitamin C, castor oil, and tea tree oil on the plaster, such that it was saturated. As a result, after a couple of weeks the covered area of skin had spent a protracted time laced with these substances, held against it by the waterproof plasters. This must have had somewhat the effect of a chemical peel, because the age spots pretty much started lifting off with the plasters.

 

I decided to take advantage of the dissolving state of the epidermis to scratch off the other marks there, including not only age spots but little flat moles. The result is that not only have I removed the target mole from my wrist but also the many other blemishes there (and my tan as well). I think this shows that Vitamin C, castor oil, and tea tree oil do have a peeling effect on the skin, but that a prolonged period applied under a plaster will produce effects where just dabbing some on each day will be insufficient to make much difference, at least in the short term.

 

*

 

I mentioned a large mole on my inner left forearm that I failed to disturb with various oils and even with cider vinegar packs. This large mole--about 1cm wide--has always been particularly odious to me because it is raised more than 50mm from the surface, with the appearance of an ugly growth. I have some other big moles, but none significantly raised. About a week ago, I decided to try to do something about this monster with Tag Band, which is a product used for tying off skin tags. I do not have any skin tags, but it struck me that with this method I might be able to tie off the raised part of my mole, since the principle is simple--to squeeze the growth so tightly that its blood supply is cut off and it dies.

 

Whoever invented Tag Band must be sitting in a mansion somewhere feeling (quite rightly) pleased with themselves. For £16, all you get is a couple of pieces of plastic, 10 tiny elastic bands, and some small sachets of swabs. But you are paying for the genius of the idea.

 

You place the tiny elastic band on the very narrowed end of a cylindrical length of plastic, and you roll it down the plastic, which broadens to about the diameter of a biro, so that the elastic band becomes stretched out. The wider end of the piece of plastic is like a Bic biro with the ink piece taken out, as we did for pea-shooting purposes at school. The second piece of plastic has a hole in it which fits over the piece with the plastic band on it. You place the hollow end of the latter over the tag--or, in my case, raised mole--and as you push the piece of holed plastic down it, it forces the tag band off the end of the biro-like piece of plastic so that it snaps tight over the base of the growth. That moment actually quite hurts--but it is fascinating to see your large mole all squeezed at its base like a chef's hat.

 

After that, things moved very fast. First the mole filled with dark blood, and within a day it was completely black. After another day or two, it shriveled so much that the elastic band flicked off, so I put another one on and trapped it in place with a plaster. The next morning I started pulling the plaster off and the mole and band half came off with it. I gave it a tug and the mole pretty much ripped out of my arm. This was not the ideal scenario (the dead mole falls off gently), since obviously I had caused some damage to the skin. But it was very exciting, because, looking down, I saw that what had come out of my arm was the whole body of the mole, leaving a small crater. I did not expect that, because I had pictured that a leveled version of the same mole would remain after its raised part had been killed. I think what must have happened is that the mole fibres were more attached to each other than to the surrounding skin.

 

This was only yesterday, so it is too early to say what the final result will look like. The area on one side of the crater still has a rim of (unraised) brown mole pigment, about a millimetre wide (presumably, the band had not been perfectly centred). I was tempted to cut this off there and then, but I have left it to heal with the rest. My hunch is that mole pigment is generated from a central cluster of melanin cells: so if they have been removed, maybe this remaining small fringe of brown skin will grow out, to be replaced by normal, non-mole skin. That remains to be seen; but since I now know how to scratch out small areas of brown skin, I shall eventually dispose one way or another of anything brown that chooses to remain.

 

Of course, there are worse scenarios, such as the regrowth of the mole. In that case, though (at least to begin with), it would not be raised. But also, I suspect if that happened the result would not be brown but pink, as all my main moles have got pinker with age, my skin being no longer able, it seems, to generate dark pigment as promiscuously as it did when I was young.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot use this method on any other moles, because none of those remaining protrude sufficiently to give the Tag Band purchase.


Edited by Gerrans, 28 September 2015 - 06:08 PM.


#17 Mrs Miggins

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 04:57 PM

Wow, Im not sure which Im more excited about, the Tag band or the planing. You mention you shaved one off I assume thats the one you refer to here -

 

The area where I planed off the mole on my left wrist has healed much better than I could have hoped. The replacement skin bears no trace of the mole at all, unless you look at it from an angle, when you can see a very slight circle shape (but this is a normal pink, no brown in it). This total eradication of the mole has surprised me, because I only took off its raised layer. But I am hopeful it will not repigment brown, because at my age moles grow less brown anyway, and because I noted at the time of shaving the mole off that its exposed underpart seemed pink, not brown. So this is all very gratifying: I cannot stop gazing at that wrist, which harboured the banished mole as long as I can remember.

 

What did you shave it off with? Did you use an anesthetic? Im not sure Ive the stomach for it. But then.....



#18 Gerrans

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 06:56 PM

Wow, Im not sure which Im more excited about, the Tag band or the planing. You mention you shaved one off I assume thats the one you refer to here -

 

The area where I planed off the mole on my left wrist has healed much better than I could have hoped. The replacement skin bears no trace of the mole at all, unless you look at it from an angle, when you can see a very slight circle shape (but this is a normal pink, no brown in it). This total eradication of the mole has surprised me, because I only took off its raised layer. But I am hopeful it will not repigment brown, because at my age moles grow less brown anyway, and because I noted at the time of shaving the mole off that its exposed underpart seemed pink, not brown. So this is all very gratifying: I cannot stop gazing at that wrist, which harboured the banished mole as long as I can remember.

 

What did you shave it off with? Did you use an anesthetic? Im not sure Ive the stomach for it. But then.....

 

I just distressed it with a pick and took it off with a Stanley knife. It was only slightly raised, so this did not amount to anything drastic. It did not hurt. I have discovered that the nerve cells are not really in the epidermis itself, which only feels a limited amount of pain.

 

Myself, I am more excited about that tag banded one, because it was big and horribly raised. It is healing so fast now, it is ridiculous. A couple of days on and I have already given up plasters and am just dabbing on a little vaseline. (It is up my sleeve, so I want to put something on it that will not all rub off.) I am thrilled that this horrible thing that has been with me all my life has now gone, at least for the moment.

 

I know there are some potential dangers with this. What if it was cancerous? I have taken a risk there, but it felt very harmless. I have read that moles should not be tied off, because their remains would be embedded under the skin where, if they became cancerous it would not be detectable. But, famous last words, I am assuming that if it does become cancerous it will show above the surface. Skin cells migrate naturally to the surface, so I think it would be natural for a mole to express itself externally. Lets hope so, anyway.

 

I am being very cavalier with the risk of infection. I need to keep a check on myself for overconfidence, because my health feels so good these days that I find myself thinking my body can cope with anything. This may be a complete illusion. I certainly do not want anyone to copy me. I know there are young people reading this forum who are not necessarily in the best of health; and I think it would be very risky to mess with one's skin if one was not in good condition.



#19 Mrs Miggins

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 10:56 PM

I think with a mole that has been there forever and hasn't changed you are fairly safe. I'm going to try the tagging, a skin infection is pretty easy to catch and heal. There's no reason why it should get infected in the area is kept clean. How long would you say the process takes?

#20 Gerrans

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 09:21 AM

I think with a mole that has been there forever and hasn't changed you are fairly safe. I'm going to try the tagging, a skin infection is pretty easy to catch and heal. There's no reason why it should get infected in the area is kept clean. How long would you say the process takes?

 

Online you can read of accounts between a few days and several weeks. But it my case it has been a few days. The wound is actually pretty small, because it is not going to be wider than the very tiny band itself--though in my case, pulling the mole off probably added a little tearing. I think if the tag band is properly applied, it makes sense that it should work very quickly indeed, because without its blood supply the tag cannot live. The blood inside the the tag cannot get back into the body, so it dries, turns black, and goes crisp. The tag is no longer a living part of the body, which gets on with life by sealing up the place where it was and healing it over.



#21 Boopy!

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 05:22 PM

why not just use c plus hydroquinone four percent?   Or tretinoin?   Or tca peel?   They work pretty quickly with little problem.   I should know as I was a former sun worshipper and now people think my skin is glowy and great.   Well,  it sure wasn't ten years ago.   



#22 aconita

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Posted 02 December 2015 - 12:25 AM

My two cents....

 

I did some moles and age spots removal few years ago therefore I know by now if they come back or not: they don't, at least if removed the way I did.

 

First lets write about an experiment I did a really long time ago.

 

I was maybe 5 or 6 years old when I decided that I didn't like a mole on my forearm, it was a flat mole and I did cut it off with a pair of scissors, a quite straightforward approach i suppose. :)

 

The mole went and I am not sure when it happened but in its place a slightly raised bump formed, same skin color.

 

The lesson here is that cutting off a mole may not be the best solution to the issue from an aesthetic point of view: mole is gone but a raised bump is left..

 

After some 45 years I came back to it scratching it lightly in order to injury the superficial skin layer, one drop of SSKI on it twice a day for maybe a total of 4-5 times and a quite deep hole was left, probably it was not necessary to go as deep but I wanted to make sure to catch all of the unsightly growth.

 

The hole healed very quickly and no scar has formed, the new skin is just a little whiter (I have quite dark skin) therefore discoloration is the only trace left but it should get better with time.

 

I treated hundreds of flat moles on my arms, shoulders and front torso with TCA 50%, just a little drop on the mole and a second drop when the skin goes frosted white (about 1-2 minutes).

 

The tricky part is that TCA is water like in color therefore very difficult to see where the drop is, if it runs off or if covers a bigger area than needed.

 

Experience tells that it may be a good idea to mix some xantan gum in it in order to achieve a less runni substance to handle and maybe adding some sort of colorant to see better where exactly it goes.

 

TCA is very caustic of course and tends to spread its caustic action wider than just where it has been applied,,. a drop on a typical 3-4 mm mole will likely exert the caustic action on a much larger area resulting in a bigger "wound", it is better to avoid that, in my experience it is better a drop that is slightly smaller than the mole leaving room for the caustic action to spread a little outwards: it never occurred to me to only partially remove a mole but in most cases, in despite of being very careful, to end up with a larger wound than needed.

 

The moles will not return, period.

 

Scars are not really a big issue but color may be, especially for darker skins, what happens is that a pale skin will form where once the mole was, the destruction of melanocites means it will not tan as the surrounding skin, with time it will get better, in some case a darker than normal skin will develop around the pale dot (a well known issue with TCA peelings).

 

The bigger and deeper the wound is the more likely to develop color issues, in my case about 60-70% left no marks of any kind, 2-3% left a darker aura around a paler dot about the size of the mole once was there and the rest just the pale dot.

 

The lesson here is that TCA works but is a bit tricky to dose and control properly resulting in chances of pale dots, in the worst case scenario surrounded by a darker aura, there are ways of fixing this issues but that is another story, for now just lets try to not develop these issues in the first place.

 

Treating with retin A for a couple of weeks before applying the TCA should reduce dramatically chances of developing darker auras.

 

For shallower issues like age spots a TCA 30% peeling, maybe 2 layers or one layer glycolic acid 20-30% immediately followed by TCA 30% will take care with no unpleasant side effects if appropriate care is taken and tests performed.

 

Not all skins are the same, not all parts of the skin are the same (shoulder and chest for example tend to be more prone to develop scars, face can withstand more aggressive peeling that the rest of the body, etc... ), it is mandatory to experiment a little on a tiny spot in order to understand what the reaction will be, TCA can be nasty or friendly but sure enough demands respect  .

 

Any caustic will do but some are easier to control and control here is the trick in order to avoid discoloration.   

 

SSKI will not leave dark auras and because it needs repeated applications it may be easier to control, it stings really bad (just for a few seconds) and does nothing on intact skin therefore the need to previously injury the skin surface, it is very caustic but somehow friendly and forgiving.

 

Another caustic I did experiment with is hydrogen peroxide 20%, mixed with xantan gum powder 1% becomes like a gel, easy to handle and to control, I applied a tiny amount on a flat mole on my arm leaving it there until it dried out (maybe a couple of ours or so), once dried out it is like skin peeling of, left alone when it does come off the mole is gone with it leaving really a nice very shallow "wound" that is almost already healed, no discoloration whatsoever and mole gone forever.

 

It is not very caustic on intact skin, on age spots should work nicely as it will on flat soft moles, on raised moles or other imperfections probably it is not caustic enough and it may need to injury the skin first or to use stronger hydrogen peroxide (35%), I didn't try it that way therefore it has to be experimented.

 

 

       

 

 

 

 



#23 Ashley Young

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:06 PM

Age spots, or age related pigments, are caused by accumulation of lipofuscin. If you'd like to remove them and prevent more from forming from the inside out instead of topically, acetyl-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, and DMAE have been demonstrated to be effective in mice at reducing lipofuscin levels throughout the body. Lipofuscin is a compound that is associated with impairing some other biological processes too so you could potentially help yourself in more ways than just the aesthetic one. A causal relationship has not been definitively established between lipofuscin accumulation and impaired bio processes, but it is correlated and is still being investigated. At the very least, it definitively causes age spots.

 

Lipofuscin research: https://www.ncbi.nlm...pubmed/12208347

Acetyl-carnitine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.../pubmed/3221536https://www.ncbi.nlm.../pubmed/2589915

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): https://www.ncbi.nlm...pubmed/15247042

DMAE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.../pubmed/3361965

*Note: some people suggest pairing DMAE with acetyl-carnitine if you use it regularly.

 

General discussion of lipofuscin to be taken with a grain of salt: http://www.anti-agin...heory-of-aging/

 

*I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. 


Edited by Ashley Young, 22 February 2017 - 08:06 PM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: skin skincare uv agespots liverspots aging sundamage, sun protection, skin, age spots, aging, lycopene, carotenoids, retinoids, topical niacinamide, sun tan

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