Hi Dr. N,
I am a 25 year old woman of Italian/Scottish heritage. Last May, my first day laying in the sun(with 15spf on), 2 spots appeared on each of my cheeks. I went to a dermatologist who gave me skin bleaching cream that faded the spots, but only a little.
I recently went on vacation and laid in the sun quite a bit. I covered my face with 30spf and put 45 on my cheeks and upper lip. Still though, the brown spots have re-emerged and darker. Though I could deal with the cheek spots, this time my upper lip is dark brown and looks like a mustache. HELP ME!
The spots are light, light brown and about the size of a quarter or smaller on my face. Only a portion of my upper lip is darker- mainly toward the direct center. I did some research today and realized this is probably the result of my birthcontrol. (Which I am stopping- NOW). Are there any suggestions you have for me? Specific, stronger creams or do you think I should have the lazer resurfacing? How much do you think it would cost me and do you have payment plans?
The first thing you need to realize is that “the sun always wins!” That means SPF 10 billion will not replace sun avoidance! What I am trying to say is that almost everyone thinks that by using sun screen with high SPF they will not be subject to the sun’s effects. That is a false premise.
So first, you have to stay out of the sun as much as possible. It sounds like you may have Melasma although I cannot say without seeing you. Hormonal changes and pregnancy and birth control pills can bring that on. You need to make sure these areas are just that and nothing more dangerous by seeing a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.
Stopping the pill is an option or switching to a different pill. Topical bleaching creams (Hydroquinone) are the main and initial form of treatment. It will take weeks to months to get better this way. There are other procedures such as a light chemical peel or IPL treatments but regardless the skin has to be light in color for these treatments (meaning no tan) and it should also be prepped with at least 4 weeks of a bleaching cream to avoid post-procedure rebound hyperpigmentation.
If you are close by I will be glad to see you for a consultation.