“A stain or shadow on the upper lip is a frequent reason for consultation as soon as the first rays of sun appear”, notice Caroline Pouget, dermatologist and doctor ishétique at the Rénécia dermato-aesthetic center in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. “It can be a more or less dark shadow and more or less homogeneous in terms of color”, adds the expert.
But how does it appear? What to do to avoid it, treat it and prevent it from coming back as soon as you are exposed to the sun?
Among the factors that promote the appearance of these small Brown stains, number one is hormonal fluctuations in the sun. “It’s called melasma,” says Caroline Pouget. “This little brown tablecloth is usually about women exposing themselves to UV rays and having had a birth control pill introduced with estrogen hasover the past year, and also pregnant women (the famous pregnancy mask) or postpartum”.
And to add: “SIf there is a tendency to have spots on other areas of the face beforehand (cheeks, nose, forehead…), we can expect to develop them on the upper lip as well. Good prevention will therefore be all the more necessary for “at risk” profiles.”
These small brown spots can also be post-inflammatory spots, consequences in particular of hair removal in the upper lip area. “If you expose yourself to the sun just after waxing, there can actually be a potential inflammatory reaction,” confirms the dermatologist. “It is not melasma but rather hyperpigmentation linked to the fact that we have just attacked the skin. This scenario is easier to deal with because it is not necessarily a chronic phenomenon.”
Shade on the upper lip: cosmetic tips to avoid its appearance or reduce it
A preventive cosmetic treatment can prevent the appearance of these small unsightly spots which return quickly with the beautiful days. The first instinct? “Apply a sun protection against brown spots every morning on the top of the lips, from the first rays of spring, and renew the application throughout the day, especially during strong exposure to the sun”, recommends Caroline Pouget.
Many dermo-cosmetic brands have developed ranges dedicated to the problem of hyperpigmentation. “This new generation of sun care includes, among other things, tinted mineral pigments because we realized that visible light was better blocked when the sunscreen was tinted“, teaches us the dermatologist. “Before, we advised to put an SPF 50 combined with a foundation on top. Now, these new products make it possible to kill two birds with one stone with a real barrier role”.
In the evening, do not hesitate to apply a depigmenting treatment, which is not contraindicated in the sun. “There are many ranges sold in pharmacies, equipped with active ingredients compatible with sun exposure, indicates Caroline Pouget. You can put it on every night, even before the stain appears if you know you are prone to this phenomenon. When the hyperpigmentation is already installed, these treatments will make it possible to attenuate the shadows but will not make them disappear completely”.
The ideal cosmetic routine? “Before applying your sunscreen to the targeted area, you can opt for a treatment based on vitamin C: a concentrated serum in winter, and a light cream in summer”, advises our expert. “In the evening, you can alternate between a depigmenting serum and a serum based on niacinamide (an active ingredient renowned for brightening the complexion and reducing the appearance of brown spots, editor’s note), then apply a moisturizer”.
Spots above the lips: treatments in a dermatology office to make them disappear
When the shadow on the upper lip persists beyond the beautiful season, winter is the best season to treat it because of the low level of sunshine (excluding stays in the mountains). “We can prescribe a hydroquinone-based cream (a powerful depigmenting agent, editor’s note), with a dosage that varies according to the phototype, explains the specialist. “A high dosage on a very fair phototype with thick skin, an intermediate dosage on a sensitive skinand a minimal dosage on dark skin”.
At the dermatologist, the reference treatment is the medium peel. “This protocol acts on both the epidermis and the dermis, which allows the task to be treated more deeply”, indicates Caroline Pouget. The skin must be prepared 2-3 weeks before, with the regular application of exfoliating active ingredients such asglycolic acid. After the treatment, the skin may fluff and take about ten days to recover.
“Although stains can be completely removed with the medium peel, there is always a risk that they will come back the next summer”, warns the dermatologist. “This is why we must remain cautious and resume a preventive routine as the sunny days approach”.
What if I don’t want to wait for winter to treat it? “In summer, it is possible to carry out a superficial peeling but we will only have a superficial attenuation of the stain“, continues the aesthetic doctor. “This will make it possible to fade but we will not be able to really treat the deep pigmentation, only to smooth the superficial part”. Moreover, it is not recommended to expose yourself to the sun for 15 days after the superficial peeling , and it is strongly recommended to always apply SPF 50 sun protection.
Melasma above the lip: what about natural solutions?
Lemon juice on dark spots? Beware of this false good idea that circulates on many websites and on social networks. “These homemade beauty recipes, based on lemon or carrot, should be taken with a grain of salt because they can cause even more stains”, warns Caroline Pouget. “They will also act in a very superficial way and will therefore not necessarily be effective”.
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