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Home » The Vine

The Vine: June 20, 2014

Submitted by on June 20, 2014 – 8:05 AM11 Comments


I have a skin issue and I need a bit of help.

I have a few spots of discolouration on my face. Two are near my eyes and the other one is on my upper lip. I don’t know if they are age spots (I’m in my late twenties). They aren’t very dark, but my skin is very pale, so they are noticeable. And the one on my upper lip kind of looks like a wee moustache!

I have been looking for a cream to lighten the spots, but I am unsure of what exactly I need. The internet, man. So overwhelming. The age-spot stuff and the whitening creams seem very harsh. I don’t need anything that simultaneously treats acne, either.

I’m not currently living in an English-speaking country, so I can’t ask the Sephora ladies.

Do you or the nation have any recommendations?

Thank you!





  • Ashley says:

    Melasma can develop from sun exposure, but it can also be associated with hormonal changes from pregnancy or birth control pills (and if it’s the latter will sometimes go away if you discontinue use. I guess if you discontinue pregnancy too?) so that may be something to assess. Hydroquinone is one ingredient to look for; here’s some info about it from Paula’s Choice, which I think of as a reasonably BS-free assessor of skincare, although they do sell their own line of products too, so, grain of salt.

  • Krissa says:

    You may want to make sure they aren’t liver spots, which are different than sun spots; have your LDL cholesterol tested if possible – I realize depending on where you are it may not be easy to get medical tests done, though. Liver spots CAN be from oxidized cholesterol buildup, especially from trans fats. (I’m not trying to be a fear monger and even though that shit is nasty, any time I say it I want to put scare quotes around it.)

    If you can’t or don’t want to go to a doctor for testing, try cutting seed and grain oils (they oxidize very quickly and are generally very low quality) and consume healthy fats – coconut oil, butter (yes, butter), olive oil, etc. when you cook. As with any dietary change, any results would not be immediate – but if it is a buildup of oxidized cholesterol in your body it will certainly help in the long run.

    For topical treatment, high-quality vitamin E oil is a great place to start.

  • Ang. says:

    Given your age, I’m guessing it’s a hormonal thing, but it could also be sun damage. Check with a dermatologist.

    I can’t recommend Paula’s Choice products–or her skin care information–highly enough. I’ve been following her advice and using her books for at least a decade, and I love her products as well. I’ve always had pretty good skin, but it’s very sensitive and reactive, with occasional acne and prone to redness and irritation. Paula’s Choice BHA 2% liquid, night moisturizer w retinol, moisture gel, and especially the original antioxidant serum with the vitamin C booster have all transformed my skin and kicked it up a notch. Between those and my daily SPF (I like Elta MD daily 40) and Fresh’s seaberry oil, my skin looks so good that I use undereye concealer and a little powder and that is it. I don’t have the dark spots you mention, OP, but I know that Paula’s Choice site has information you should follow (linked by Ashley, above) and will have quality products you should try. I can absolutely vouch for those products, and I tell everyone who asks me about my skin about them, too. At least read her information, even if you don’t want to buy.

  • Beth C. says:

    So, if at all possible get your tail to a dermatologist before doing anything. Like others have said, it can be hormonal or cholesterol based and you might want to take action for things other than just discoloration based on what they turn out to be. Also, you want to make triple sure it isn’t melanoma or other major-issue type thing.

    Once those things have been ruled out, something with hydroquinone will usually take care of it. just be sure to keep it on just the discolored places and slather on the sunscreen while using it. It can be really irritating, so be sure to monitor how it’s going for you and lower the percentage or the frequency you apply it if it hurts or causes other issues.

  • misspiggy says:

    Rosehip oil is pretty good for facial discolouration and marks – I put on quite a lot at night and find it helps with my broken veins and so forth.

  • Jen L says:

    Once any medical issues are ruled out, I cannot recommend Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil enough. I started using it for a couple of dry patches I had, when I suddenly noticed that an extremely dark age spot that was next to a dry patch was also disappearing before my eyes. So, I started using it directly on the spot every night before bed, and after a couple weeks it is now barely noticeable. It’s miraculous. I bought a tiny bottle on Amazon, and I don’t even need to use full drops – I just wipe a clean finger along the dropper to get a wee bit and rub it on the spot. The bottle should last me months.

    Whatever you end up using, I wish you the best of luck – I know how self conscious these weird things can make a person. [My mom suffers from vitiligo and my dad has a ton of age spots, so I am pretty sure I doomed to have various kinds of skin discoloration forever.]

  • ct says:

    C here.
    Thanks so much for the advice and product recommendations.
    I will find a dermatologist asap.
    In the meantime, I’ll be spending too much on Paula’s Choice.
    Thanks again!

  • Maria says:

    It’s probably melisma as others have noted. A dermatologist can give you a prescription cream that will lighten it faster than anything you can buy OTC. It will mean being diligent with sunscreen. I’m really liking Neutrogena Healthy Defense daily moisture sunscreen. It’s not draggy like creams for the rest of the body are.

  • Sharon says:

    If it’s an age spot, I can’t recommend Paula’s Choice enough! I had 2 spots on my jaw that I used several products on for years, and then after using the Resist Dark Spot Eraser 7% for a few weeks, they are almost GONE. The stuff is really affordable, too.

  • bettygolightly says:

    Just for what it’s worth, liver spots have absolutely nothing to do with the liver or cholesterol levels. Of course, it’s always a good idea to consume healthy fats and limit exposure to bad fats and the sun. And always have a dermatologist examine anything with our skin that is troubling to rule out bad things like melanoma. But, liver spots and age spots are the exact same thing. True liver spots are just a build up of melanin after years of UV exposure and nothing more.

  • Holly Hunt says:

    My daughter has this same problem. We use a lot of moisturizing creams and it helps, but it’s not a perfect solution. We are going to start trying some all natural facials that I have found online. She is very sensitive too products so we have to be careful about what we try.

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