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Help! Why Is the Skin on My Upper Lip Turning Dark?
A: At least you can be grateful that it's not an actual 5 o'clock shadow, right? What you've got sounds like melasma, which is commonly caused by genetics or an excess of estrogen or sunlight, says Wendy E. Roberts, MD, a dermatologist in Rancho Mirage, California. (Roberts also mentions a host of other possible causes, among them a course of tetracycline, waxing, or a harsh microdermabrasion treatment.) She recommends using a prescription skin-lightening compound containing either hydroquinone, kojic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, retinols, or Lumixyl. A series of Fraxel laser treatments may also help fade the discoloration.
Keep in mind: Wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen every day will help prevent your 5 o'clock shadow from reappearing.
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