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    Dark spots on my face
    lovemy4babies posted:
    I am a mother of four & every time I have become pregnant, I ended up ggetting dark spots in various places on my body. These dark spots have never gone away & my oldest child is 10 now. I have been dealing with this problem for a while now because all of the spots can be hidden by clothing. But, now I have these dark spots on my face that came up with my last pregnancy. (Baby is 6 mo.) It looks like dirty spots on my cheeks & upper lip. I have tried several products for age spots & other things but nothing seems to work. Please help..... Also, I dont know if it matters but I am 29 years old.
    Mary Ruth Buchness, MD responded:
    Congratulations on your 4 babies! It sounds like you have a condition called "melasma." This occurs when a person is exposed to sun when they have high levels of estrogen, such as during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills. What happens is that the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the skin get "revved up," and start overproducing pigment in response to sun exposure. It usually affects women and causes poorly defined areas of increased pigmentation that make the skin look dirty. Women with melasma often develop what looks like a mustache in the summer time. Unfortunately, we don't have a way to turn the pigment cells off, even when the estrogen is lowered to a normal level. This is one of the most frustrating conditions to treat, both for the patients and the dermatologist, because sometimes the methods used to decrease pigmentation, such as laser, can make the melasma worse.The first step in fighting the problem is to wear a broad spectrum sunblock every day. I recommend a mineral sunblock which contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These block both UVA and UVB. Fluorescent lights emit UVA, so it is important to wear the sunblock even on cloudy days, and even indoors. There are prescription bleaching creams containing 4% hydroquinone. These will lighten the darker areas with regular use. Chemical peels are effective in some women, especially those with fair skin. If you decide to try a peel, do not use an over-the-counter or a spa peel. Go to see a doctor who is familiar with the treatment of melasma. You do not want to make the problem worse by getting burned by someone who is inexperienced. There are also a variety of milder skin lighteners and brighteners which are available in a physician's office. Expect the treatment, whatever you choose, to be prolonged. It takes months of treatment to see improvement. Good luck, lovemy4babies!
    lovemy4babies replied to Mary Ruth Buchness, MD's response:
    Thank you so much for your suggestions, I have been dealing with this problem for a very long time & didnt know what else to do. I had never heard of melasma before. Thank you so much for your help!!!
    Majita79 replied to lovemy4babies's response:
    I have tried so many creams and sometimes they just won't go away. I run from the sun, I have never tanned and they just show up. I hate it! I have been using creams with Hydroquinone 4% and Tretinoin plus another component and nothing works, at least they usually don't get worse. But during the summer, it's just a matter of hours outside taking the train to work and just walking on the street for them to get darker. I use 100 spf everyday and reapply 45 powder spf during the day, nothing. I wish I had the money to get laser or a chemical peel. :( I miss those days of going out without make up or cover up.
    amiz66 replied to Majita79's response:
    OK, I am a Licensed Medical Esthetician, which means that in addition to being a certified and licensed Esthetician, I am also certified and trained to operate certain types of skin care machinery and advance chemical peels. With that said, I developed horrible melasma on my face, 3 yrs. ago the day after my son was born. I have been battling that melasma ever since.
    In those 3 yrs., I have spent thousands of dollars, and that is at wholesale prices! I have done the IPL Laser treatments (which only broke up the melasma and made it incredibly splotchy), I have done the YAG and Fraxel Laser treatments, I have done the Melanage Chemical Peels performed by my Dermatologist, I have used his prescription Tri-Luma cream and all of his other suggested prescriptions, I have been a sun scared freak using NIA 24 sunblock and Elta MD and every other sunscreen out there (like Majita79 said, a minute in the sun regardless of sunblock use, just makes it darker), I have used every Lightening Brightening Whitening gel, serum and cream available through all of my prestigious spa/salon brand companies. I have also used every makeup company's concealers and foundations that is available to me through my license and I have yet to find one that even can cover it!
    So from 3 yrs. of frustration, my Dermatologist said to me "Well it's just a hormone issue and there is really nothing else that can be done about it." Which absolutely infuriated me. I highly doubt if a celebrity had this problem, their Dr. would tell them there is nothing that can be done about it! Hormones or not, why are us "normal" women left to just accept this condition on our faces? And why should the average woman either have to pay thousands of dollars just to try and get rid of it with no guarantees or just be forced to live with it? It really makes me sick. And yet there are no answers, no guarantees, no reasonably priced effective products and no one to help us!
    So until someone or some company that really cares about us comes around to help, Yes, we are stuck living everyday with this mess on OUR faces!
    ExRunr replied to amiz66's response:
    Try Obagi New Derm - although very expensive, it is the only product that controls the production of melanin. It does, however, have hydroquinone. So, if you are opposed to using products that contain that, then it is not for you. Otherwise, you will definintely notice a huge difference. Good Luck.
    amiz66 replied to ExRunr's response:
    As an Esthetician, of course I have used Obagi products, I have tried Nu-Derm and the protocol from their C line. As well as numerous other products containing hydroquinone, including Dr. prescribed hydroquinone prescriptions, such as Tri-Luma, as previously stated. I have basically tried it all, everything that is at my disposal through my license, and nothing has worked! I have not seen any difference, much less a huge difference! Post-partum melasma is stubborn and refuses to go away!

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