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Brown patches on forehead

(12 Posts)
BaconSarniePlease Sat 10-May-14 09:24:52

They're not too dark at the moment or raised or anything, but they're definitely there. My GP took a look at them when I was in for something else and said they were just sun-damage and nothing to worry about, other than cosmetically. I have never courted the sun and wear an SPF every day but I am naturally very pale so anything shows up.

Apart from having a fringe cut, is there anything I can do about them or do I just keep having to lash the blemish concealer on?

VenusDeWillendorf Sat 10-May-14 09:50:19

Are they matt in texture bacon? They're called sun spots, (there's a fancy Latin name for them which they google to, if you dare!)

You could have them lasered off, and indeed should have them lasered off at some stage, if they thicken. Surprised your GP didn't recommend a trip to the dermatologist for a full body mole check.

You might need a wide brimmed hat, and be careful in the car too as UVB comes through the glass. Don't forget the daily sunblock on backs of your hands too.


Kundry Sat 10-May-14 10:03:57

Laser. Sunblock everyday at least SPF15 and UVA protection, even in winter.

If you don't want to go for laser, there is some evidence for retinol (obv prescription retin-A would be better) and there are various pigment control products, usually containing kojic acid like La Roche Posay Biomedic Pigment Control. Stronger creams would be prescription only.

If you are really concerned then a cosmetic dermatologist appointment would be the way forward.

Jinglebells99 Sat 10-May-14 10:07:59

I have these too, can't remember the name, but they can be a side effect of the pill. Really annoying as if someone had told me, I would have stopped taking the pill earlier!

I used to get a 'mask of Venus' pigmentation when I was on the pill. It went once I stopped taking it. It was on my cheeks and chin as well as forehead, though.

It seems to be more commonly called a mask of pregnancy, but the images I googled were more extreme than I had. Isn't that always the way with google? Are your patches symmetrical?

VenusDeWillendorf Sat 10-May-14 12:42:39

There are many types of brown pigmentation - some caused by hormones, like the pregnancy masks, and the pigmentation caused by the pill, but the OP has said that she has two brown patches on her forehead, not a mask of pigmented skin over her nose.

Taking what the OP has said I think she should ring her GP again and get a dermatologist appointment and see what she says about them.
My feeling is that are caused by the sun, and not by hormones.

The hormonal pigmentation is a separate medical phenomenon.

BaconSarniePlease Sat 10-May-14 12:44:28

Not symmetrical and not connected with either pregnancy or the pill. I wear SPF 25 every day, year round, so not much wiggle room with that.

They're just on my forehead at the moment and are exactly the same texture as the rest of my skin, just a bit darker.

AuntieMaggie Sat 10-May-14 18:14:13

There are other hormonal reasons you can get this type of pigmentation other than pregnancy and the pill - I have this over one side of my forehead in patches and not symmetrical and its one of the lesser known symptoms of PCOS in my case. I now never go out in the sun without a sunscreen less than SPF 50 to ensure it doesn't get any worse (used to wear SPF 25 before). Luckily for me its on the side my fringe is on and is easily covered with normal foundation.

If you're really concerned try to get gp to refer you or get a private dermatologist appointment.

EasterSundaySimmons Sat 10-May-14 18:18:14

EasterSundaySimmons Sat 10-May-14 18:19:45

Can melasma be cured?

No, at present there is no cure for melasma, but there are several treatment options which may improve the appearance. Superficial pigmentation is easier to treat than deep pigmentation. If melasma occurs during pregnancy, it may resolve on its own within a few months after delivery and treatment may not be necessary.

How can melasma be treated?

Melasma treatments fall into the following categories, which can be used together:

Avoiding known trigger factors, such as the oral contraceptive pill or perfumed cosmetics.
Adopting appropriate sun avoidance measures and using sun-blocking creams.
Skin-lightening agents.
Chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser treatment.
Cosmetic camouflage.
Sun protection

Skin affected by melasma darkens more than the surrounding skin with exposure to sunlight, so sun-avoidance and sun-protection are important. Broad-spectrum sunscreens, with a high protection SPF (SPF 30 or more) and a high ultraviolet A (UVA) star-rating (4 or 5 UVA stars), should be applied daily throughout the year, and broad-brimmed hats are recommended. In particular, avoidance and protection measures should be employed during the period of most intense sunshine. Sun-beds should not be used.

Skin lightening creams

Certain chemicals can reduce the activity of pigment-forming cells in the skin, and of these, hydroquinone is the most commonly used. Hydroquinone creams may cause irritation, and care must be taken to ensure that they are not used for too long in case they cause excessive skin lightening. Hydroquinone can, very occasionally, cause increased darkening of the skin by a process called ochronosis, especially in very dark-skinned people. Hydroquinone creams can now only be prescribed by doctors.

Azelaic acid and retinoid creams are mainly marketed to treat acne, but can also help melasma.

All these creams can irritate the skin and are therefore sometimes combined with steroid creams. Some skin bleaching creams contain a mixture of these ingredients.

Chemical Peels, Micro-Dermabrasion and Laser-treatment

Chemical peels can improve melasma by removing the cells of the epidermis which contain the excess pigment. These techniques should be undertaken by an experienced person as they have the potential to worsen the pigmentation, to make the skin too light or to cause scarring.

Some types of laser also remove the outer layer of skin, whereas others specifically target the pigment-producing cells. At present, the success of laser treatment is variable, and the possible side effects can be similar to peels and micro-dermabrasion.

These treatments are usually not available as NHS procedures.

Cosmetic camouflage

Cosmetic camouflage is a special make-up, which is matched to the skin colour of the individual and which will not easily come off. Your general practitioner or dermatologist may refer you to somebody with beautician experience to assist you in finding the right product and to teach you how to apply it. This service is provided by Changing Faces.

Self care (What can I do?)

The most important thing you can do if you have melasma is to protect your skin from undue sunlight exposure. This involves using sunscreens which protect against both UVA and UVB light, with a sun protection factor of at least 30, wearing broad-brimmed hats, and avoiding direct exposure to sunlight (see the ‘top sun safety tips’ below for more information).

If your melasma improves with treatment, in order for the improvement to be maintained you should continue to protect your skin from the sun.

Top sun safety tips

Protect your skin with clothing, and don’t forget to wear a hat that protects your face, neck and ears, and a pair of UV protective sunglasses.
Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunny. Step out of the sun before your skin has a chance to redden or burn. Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight.
When choosing a sunscreen look for a high protection SPF (SPF 30 or more) to protect against UVB, and the UVA circle logo and/or 4 or 5 UVA stars to protect against UVA. Apply plenty of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply every two hours and straight after swimming and towel-drying.
Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight.
The British Association of Dermatologists recommends that you tell your doctor about any changes to a mole or patch of skin. If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist – an expert in diagnosing skin cancer. Your doctor can refer you for free through the NHS.
Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection. No sunscreen will provide 100% protection.
It may be worth taking Vitamin D supplement tablets (available from health food stores) as strictly avoiding sunlight can reduce Vitamin D levels.

BaconSarniePlease Sat 10-May-14 18:57:07

Need to up the SPF factor then. I am not too concerned about them at the moment, just wondered if they was anything I could do to stop them in their tracks. Thanks everyone for their replies.

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