People of all ages come to me all the time to ask: Why is it that Caucasians and mestizas have pink elbows and knees while women of color, even the light-skinned ones, have brown or even grayish elbows and knees?
Don’t even get me started on underarm and groin areas.
It seems unfair, but honestly, the melanin (dark pigment) present in women of color is what makes their skin look younger for years to come. They translate into wrinkles a lot later in life but skin will be very resistant to freckling, which is a sign of skin damage.
But, of course, there’s a bad side to everything. Melanin-rich races are prone to dark areas that need only the slightest provocation from friction and hormonal imbalance for the darkness to surface.
The good news is there are products to check the darkness. The bad part: You still have to enforce discipline on yourself to stop bad habits and maintain results.
For aggressive treatments, consultation with the dermatologist or doctor might be needed to determine if the ingredients would suit one’s constitution.
Prices may be a bit steep so perhaps the high expenses would force us to discipline ourselves and stop resting on our elbows, knees and inherently dark areas.
Refrain from overdoing treatments. These are best used in the evening because the daytime sun’s rays may cause further darkening and possible blisters.
Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel —these pads contain glycolic acid as well as a rough and smooth side. One pad is enough for use on both knees and elbows. It exfoliates, smoothens and evens out skin tone.
Extraderm Maxi Peel Exfoliant astringent #3 or #4 —Contains tretinoin and hydroquinone. Tretinoin removes dead skin cells by drying the top layer of skin and peeling it off while hydroquinone lightens the dark spots.
Chat 2%—It contains clindamycin for pimples, hydroquinone for skin whitening (which fades dark spots and scars), alum aka tawas (which lightens and mildly exfoliates skin), and tretinoin 2 percent (which gets rid of thick dark dead skin cells and allows the pink, smooth, lighter baby skin to emerge).
Maintenance products that can be used as daytime treatment are Neostrata AHA 15 lotion and Belo Essentials Body Lotion.
They may also be used as night-and-day treatment by women who have sensitive skin and react badly to products from the aggressive line:
Reminders: 1. Stop leaning with your elbows on the table or any hard surface. Even if you wear long sleeves, the pressure and friction will cause calluses that darken. 2. When kneeling in church, bring those kneeling pads if the pew happens to be barely or not at all padded, so there is sufficient cushion bearing that weight. 3. As much as possible, do not expose treated area to the sun as it will be more sensitive to darkening due to the whitening ingredients. Wear long pants or long sleeves in dark color as whites and pastels allow the sun’s rays access. 4. Do not scrub the areas vigorously with a loofah, washcloth or scouring pad. It may seem like you are removing the dark skin layer but you are actually scarring the areas with excessive friction. They will first turn pink then it settles to a dark brown. 5. Apply Sunblock SPF 60 or above on these treated areas if you have no choice but to expose them to the sun, especially when you’re on the beach. I use Beach Hut SPF 100 or Hawaiian Tropic SPF 70, which I reapply every two to three hours as long as it’s daytime—rain or shine as you never know if the sun’s rays are penetrating those clouds somewhere.
Note: For the Neostrata AHA 15 lotion Plus, call (632) 2424242; for Chat 2%, call (632) 8993643.