Banish Those Brown Spots

Growing up in California, my friends and I spent a lot of our free time out in the sun trying to “get brown.” Little did we know those golden tans we aspired to would eventually lead to splotchy brown spots that seem impossible to get rid of-or even conceal. That's definitely not what we were going for. So now that we've paid the price, we turn to Cambridge, MA dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD, for some guidance.

“Melanin is what gives skin its color and in excess can result in the appearance of dark spots and discoloration,” says Dr. Hirsch. "This can be the result of UV exposure or subsequent to inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. Dark spots affect many skin types and can be quite upsetting to those affected.”

Indeed, especially since brown spots often occur in highly exposed areas-the face, hands and décolleté. Dr. Hirsch suggests two approaches to dealing with brown spots-use sunscreen to prevent more and try a concealer to cover current brown spots.

1. Prevention. “Wear sunscreen every day (yes, even in the winter),” Dr. Hirsch says. “Sunscreen defends your skin against brown spots in two ways: it prevents new spots from forming and stops pre-existing spots from darkening.” Here are a few we like: Vichy Capital Soleil Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion. It comes in SPF 30 for the face and SPF 60 for the body. And for the face: Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.

2. Concealer. “Dark spots caused by UV exposure will typically not go away without some sort of treatment,” Dr. Hirsch says. A product that contains a host of vitamins as well as salicylic acid will exfoliate and even the skin tone. Try Vichy ProEVEN Total Dark Spot Corrector.

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