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Is it Melasma? Or is it Sun Damage?

Ahhh the confusion. So much confusion. And for the love of God, please stop using the phrases "age spots" and "liver spots". These 2 things do not exist. Those brown spots that you see, they are one of 2 things, they are either caused by unprotected sun exposure (sun damage) or they are caused by hormonal changes and fluctuations (melasma).

What is it and how should you treat and prevent it?


Dark patches on the face due to hormonal changes, often during pregnancy. In women, melasma often fades on its own after pregnancy or after an affected woman goes off birth control pills.

-Exasperated by heat.

  • Keep your skin cool, never overheated. Avoid hot showers, saunas, etc.

- Shows up in a patch-like pattern, unlike sun spots, which show up as smaller round individual spots.

  • Knowing the difference will help you properly treat the skin.

-While melasma often fades on its own, it may not be that easy for you. Some people require a little more work.

  • Deep peels and skin lightening products will help break away melasma, as well as daily exfoliation and vitamin C.


Dark (usually round) spots on the face. They are caused by UV damage. They can be located anywhere on the face as well as other places on the body that have been exposed to sun without SPF. Sun spots are environmental and will not go away on their own.

-Exasperated by sun/UV.

  • Daily sunscreen is the best way to prevent sun spots and prevent the darkening of existing spots.

-Sun spots will never go away on their own, in fact, they will likely continue to get darker if they are not treated and protected.

  • Daily SPF is a must! Peels, lasers, and retinol are also great ways to treat existing sun spots.


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