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Dark spots on cheeks?! AAAHHH!

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Old 05-17-2009, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default Dark spots on cheeks?! AAAHHH!

I have been on met and various types of birth control for over a year now. In the past month or so, I have started to notice a hyperpigmentation on both cheeks, about as big around as a fifty-cent piece, just under each cheekbone. They look like dirt on my face. I am very fair-skinned, and so these are very noticeable. Even my awesome concealer that hides my undereye circles does nothing to cover these. Does anyone else have this? What is it from? I do not want to resort to skin lightening cream, but I will if I have to. Is there a natural way to make these disappear?

Oh, and I have an olive tone to my skin (irish and british, how did that happen?), so wearing a foundation is out of the question as it is impossible to match pasty olive. My concealer is close, but it only works because it is neutralizing the dark circles, not because it inherently matches my skin.

I tried to do some research, and I read two things: One, that they may be from insulin resistance and losing weight will help (I have been steadily losing weight over the past year, so I find it odd that I would get this now). Second, that it may be because of my birth control pill's estrogen content. I also think this does not apply to me because several months ago I developed a breast cyst--it was attributed to taking seasonique and I was switched to the lowest-dose birth control pill with the least amount of estrogen possible. I have no other spots on my body, besides the occasional mole or freckle.

Experience? Advice?
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:44 PM   #2
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Afraid I don't have any experience but it seems like something you should take seriously and continue to research and maybe talk to a doctor about it? What got my attention was that they are appearing on both sides of your face. Symetrically placed. And you are much too young for age spots? Pharmacists can be helpful to ask - they tend to know more about drug interactions than doctors often.

What I can tell you my father has diabetes and I had some weird stuff going on with my body after I started dieting. I was afraid that I had maybe started dieting 'a month too late' so to speak. So I did my research and took my buns to the drug store and bought a glucose tester - here in the states at Walgreens I found one for $10 that had a full rebate - and came with everything it needs including the test strips and the little glucose control to test your monitor out with for accuracy. So basically I got it for free. Then I read carefully (I had been tested before - Dad tests me every time I go visit - so knew what to expect) sucked it in and started pricking my poor little fingers. It really wasn't that bad - fascinating in a way. After several days of before breakfast (fasting or fbs), after meals and random times I was able to reassure myself my blood sugar was just fine. So don't be afraid to take it upon yourself to rule it out. It's controllable but can be devastating ultimately if you don't deal with it. Good luck - hopefully someone has had this and can relieve your mind. Post and let us know what you find out?
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
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I don't have PCOS (or if I do, it's borderline) but it could be melasma from previous sun damage, I used to tan alot back in the day outside and in tanning beds even, before we knew about the ozone etc. Now I have it too, I'm very very fair and I don't tan on my face, I get big brown blotches, very nice... UGH. It gets worse in the spring and summer when the sun is out more. The best you can do is be vigilant with the sunscreen, wear a hat, avoid the sun on your face like the plague. That's my experience anyway... hope it helps.
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Old 05-17-2009, 04:52 PM   #4
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I've never come across anyone else with this problem apart from me before!
I have the hyperpigmentation (good word, I've never known how to describe it) down the sides of my face, from temple to chin, from right at the hairline to maybe an inch in.
It started when I was on birth control meds many years ago, and, although I haven't used any for year but the miscolouration is still there. Not on ordinary days but when I've been out in the sun for a prolonged period of time. Not sunbathing, I don't do that, but just being in a hot climate for a couple of weeks will do it. Once it comes up it stays there until the skin renews.

At first I mentioned it to the doctor but she wasn't interested. I've kind of just put up with it ever since and tried to wear sunblock.
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Old 05-17-2009, 04:56 PM   #5
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Like Leeesa, I have brown spots from sun damage; they are benign but make me self-conscious. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get them lasered off. (My boss did this and you can't even tell where hers were.) My mom gets brown spots that are basal cell carcinomas (non-malignant skin cancer--nothing to worry about, but they need to be removed by a dr. or they keep getting bigger), which are also related to past sun damage (gotta love that California sun). You should probably go to the dr. to get them checked out just in case.

Btw, what concealer do you use? My dark circles make me look like I have two black eyes. I hate them!
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:41 PM   #6
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Actually I have never tanned in my life, and I religiously use sunscreen and have for many years, so I'm pretty sure I can rule out past sun damage.

I use revlon concealer, the colorstay kind for blemishes. It has a bit of salycylic acid in it--not enough to be dangerous when used around the eyes, but enough to help with the acne I have newly developed since my early twenties. I highly recommend it--it does not have that orange tint to it like most other concealer has.

I plan to go to the doctor, but apparently a lot of people keep getting sick so I have to wait another couple of weeks before I can get in. I'll keep you all updated.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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Hi there!
From what I understand, this type of hyperpigmentation often happens with hormonal changes such as pregnancy or with birth control pills. It doesn't matter if it is a low dose, either, because they way these pills work is to change your hormonal level to the point where your body believes it is pregnant so you won't release eggs.
I think what you have is this form of hyperpigmentation. You can deal with it by using skin bleaching creams if you want. Some have tried laser treatment, but it might be an idea to research bleaching products first.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:31 AM   #8
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If the doctor's not concerned - it does sound like it's the birth control. So I'll throw my two more cents back in. I tried taking birth control twice in my life. First as a teenager - and it made me so miserable that I gave it up, and then again in my mid-30's. My dermatologist prescribed it for my acne. I told her my early issues so she gave me the lowest dose, it was so much less problematic now...blah...blah...blah. 30 days later I was suicidal. Couldn't sleep, absolutely crazy and crying ALL the time. Thing is I was so out of it I didn't even link it to the pills. My mother was the one the one who made the correlation. I immediately stopped them and was completely normal in a few days. Point being I don't care how low they say it is - it is potent stuff for your body. I have since found out another ten years later I have probably always been estrogen "high" - acne, intolerance to bc, mood swings, cravings, weight issues...etc. If you have underlying issues you may even be dramatically more sensitive.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:51 PM   #9
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I have these same spots on my cheek (2 dime sized ones). They came on when I was on birth control. I have very fair skin and have always worn sunscreen so I don't think that they are sun damage. I know that when I have a facial peel done it does lighten them quite a bit. Also I use mineral makeup which doesn't completely cover them but it does help to camouflage them.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:37 AM   #10
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Yep, sounds like melasma - a spotty darkening of the skin very common with bc pills. The worst is when it darkens the upper lip. It can be like a mustache that can't be waxed away... Wear lots of sunscreen!
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:07 PM   #11
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I agree that this must be melasma--but the strange thing is that I've been on birth control for about 8 years, and this just happens NOW? So weird. I think it was the seasonique I took for a year. It gave me breast cysts and made me so emotional I would cry at commercials. I'm still recovering from all the problems seasonique gave me--four periods a year is just not worth all the trouble!

I have keratosis pilaris on my arms, and I've noticed that I'm getting hyperpigmentation in the areas where it has flared up. I still wear sunblock, but I'm really concerned for my complexion--I've taken such good care of my skin, and it looks like I have age spots at age 24. yuck! Besides a skin lightening cream, I don't think there's much to do about it.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:20 PM   #12
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You should be able to get your doc to test your hormone levels. It's funny that most of the responses have to do with birth control, I have spotting from just below my cheekbones to my jawline and have always related it to the fact I've been in menopausesince I was 34 and stopped the hrt a couple of years later.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:44 PM   #13
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I have melasma on my upper lip that makes you look like you have a mustache It was one of the symptoms that I started getting before I was diagnosed with PCOS. I've never been on birth control and I didn't ever spend a lot of time in the sun. I saw a dermatologist when I first started getting it and she said it is caused from the hormones being out of balance. She basically told me that I just have to live with it and to keep it covered with sunscreen all the time. I also use the powder, mineral foundation over top of the powder concealer which I have found covers the best for me. She told me I could try the skin bleaching creams but she said they hardly ever work. I did try them and she was right, they didn't work. It seems that it is more noticeable at different times of the month for me. Usually right after my period starts, it is hardly noticeable but then it gets darker later on. If you have any question, let me know. I've been dealing with this for about 8 years.
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