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Skin Care and Diseases

Skin discoloration

07/21/2005

Question:

Iam a 34 year old woman. I recently was exposed to the sun for a long period of time with out sun block. My face has a few freckles that are always present, more during the summer from the sun. But after this particular day I noticed over my top lip there was brown spotting resembling a mustache. This skin dicoloring is very bothersome to me. I have tried to cover it with make up but it is to dark. I now wear sun block to prevent any further damage. What can i use or buy to help repair my skin and get back to its normal color.

Answer:

The condition you have described is tanning from your exposure to ultraviolet light.  There are some parts of your body that are more sensitive to ultraviolet light than others and result in the pigmentation that you have described.  Chronic use of sunscreens that have a very broad spectrum, filtering both ultraviolet light A and B are really necessary to prevent further damage and to allow your skin to return to normal.  If you are under the care of a dermatologist you might use one of the compounds that contains hydroquinone.  These bleaching creams, when used carefully, may lighten the discoloration.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you use monobenzone.  This will destroy the skin pigment cells and leave you with severely abnormal coloration of your skin.  Mostly becoming very light, white, and is permanent.  Remember, any bleaching cream should be used under the careful supervision of your board certified dermatologist.  Wear your sunscreen, and over a period of months this will begin to fade nicely.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati