Growing up in Florida, I stubbornly resisted my mother's futile attempts to shield my face under large-brimmed hats and thick white sunscreen. Then one day, this sun-worshipping tomboy turned into a self-conscious teenager. I could handle a mouth of metal and awkward haircuts, but my freckled nose was a source of sensitive shame. So I secretly saved up my allowance and bought a freckle-fading cream at the local drugstore. After months of dotting it over my dark spots and seeing no results, I gave up. With time, the freckles faded on their own, but I now have a whole new pigmentation issue to come to terms with: age spots.
While my childhood fading cream most likely contained hydroquinone, I decided that my older and wiser version would have to do without, since any amount of age spots is preferable to potential cancer and skin disfiguration. Nowadays, there are a number of hydroquinone-free products on the market, but one in particular caught my attention- PRESCRIBEDsolutions [Customized Skincare]. This line of potent anti-aging skincare products is sold exclusively in medical offices and adapted to each patient's individual skin needs. After a full consultation and examination of your skin, a physician will use his/her medical knowledge to boost selected products with one of ten condition-specific additives.
To take care of my age spots, I was recommended the Bolt of Lightening skin brightening serum, to be preceded by the Starting Up/Face glycolic cleanser and followed by the Correction Fluid anti-aging night cream. From the get-go, I was impressed with the precise patient information and usage instructions stuck to each product's label, just like a prescription received from a pharmacy. While the serum is suggested for two daily applications, the face cream is limited to a PM regimen and the cleanser is supposed to be used only twice per week, until the skin has grown accustomed to its high glycolic content.
The Starting Up/Face cleanser is formulated with 7% glycolic acid, a concentration adequate to sting blemishes or abrasions in the skin. This alpha-hydroxy acid, in tandem with salicylic acid, promotes the peeling of the top layer of skin and the opening of plugged follicles, increasing cellular turnover. It also is known to intensify skin's sensitivity to the sun, a danger which is offset by the inclusion of protective botanicals. Lutein, a nutrient found in dark green leafy vegetables, prevents UVB-induced photodamage, while another antioxidant-rich extract, derived from green tea, inactivates free radicals. The cleanser's gelatinous consistency transforms into a foaming layer of actives as it is massaged onto the face, and its powerful exfoliating effects might cause slight peeling. A follow-up moisturizer is necessary...which is where the Correction Fluid comes in.
The lightweight, skin-colored cream of Correction Fluid blends in easily, smoothing over imperfections and coating the face in a blend of vitamins and anti-agers. In addition to some vitamin E, there is a high concentration of Stay-C 50, a patented vitamin C complex clinically proven to reduce skin roughess by 15% and diminish age spots by 25% after 2 months. It has also been shown to block the three free radicals most culpable for cell membrane damage (superoxide, singlet oxygen, and hydroxyl) and to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. While a small amount of glycolic acid provides light exfoliation to reduce skin roughness and hyperpigmentation, alpha lipoic acid both softens the skin and enhances the antioxidant performance of other actives.
Other standout ingredients include arginine, a vital amino acid that inhibits the breakdown of protein in aging skin and has been linked to the release of the Human Growth Hormone, bisabolol, an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory derived from the Chamomile plant, and DMAE, proven to improve skin tone and texture. Most products housed in a tub or pot get contaminated by repeated finger dipping. Correction Fluid's container boasts an ingenious design that has a depressable lid with a hole in the top, from which its unadulterated fluid squirts up over the flat surface. Emitting an innocuous fragrance, the cream absorbs quickly and hydrates sufficiently.
Before I started using the cleanser and the cream, both items had been enhanced with the PRESCRIBEDsolutions Brightening Booster. This blend of tyrosinase inhibitors, such as licorice, scutellaria, and grape seed extract, breaks up melanin deposits to diminish brown spots and promote an even skin tone. All without one drop of hydroquinone! I am thoroughly impressed by PRESCRIBEDsolutions's skin-lightening line and am convinced that it is effective, not only because it is administered under the supervision of a physician but because its formulas are both safe and potent. My next post will cover the second step in the brightening regimen- the intensive Bolt of Lightening serum- and my experience with the system as a whole.
Ingredients in Starting Up/Face cleanser:
Water (Aqua), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycolic Acid 7%, Ammonium Myreth Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Salicylic Acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid), Ammonium Hydroxide, Xanthophyll (Lutein), Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Peel Extract, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis, Panthenol, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Quaternium 15, Methylparaben.
Ingredients in Correction Fluid:
Water (Aqua), Isopropyl Palmitate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (STAY-C 50), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG–100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Arginine, Sodium Hydroxide, Ceteareth–20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Pyridoxine HCl, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Thioctic Acid (Alpha Lipoic Acid), Emu Oil, DMAE, Allantoin, Beta–Glucan, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Oil, Ethoxydiglycol, Disodium EDTA, BHA, Urea, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.