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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: I am 20 years old and am of South Asian background with medium dark skin. I am noticing fine lines around my mouth, and the area near the lines is darker than the rest of the skin on my face. What could be causing this, and what should I do to prevent it?

A: First, I would ask if you smoke, because smoking will definitely cause the fine lines to appear around your mouth. You are too young to have age wrinkles. Could it be dryness? If that is the case then I would recommend using your eye cream that fights wrinkles around the mouth and see if that helps.

Normally the darkening around the mouth and sometimes other areas of the face as you age is hyperpigmentation. The darker your complexion, the more common this condition becomes. It can be caused by hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, sun, etc.

There are several products to use to "bleach" the skin. A couple that I would recommend:

Sage Bleaching Lotion with Kojic Acid (at
Philosophy A Pigment of Your Imagination (at
Peter Thomas Roth Potent Botanical Skin Brightening Gel Complex (at,,

When bleaching, follow these recommendations:
• Apply the bleach only to the darkened area. Continued use on normal areas will lighten the normal skin tone also.
• Bleaching should be stopped when desired effects are received. Continuing could cause the skin to become too light.
• Sun protection is an absolute MUST! The bleaching product will make your face more sensitive to the sun, and it will try to darken the areas you are working on to bleach.
• Be patient! Bleaching is a slow process. The darker the areas, of course, the longer it will take.

Hydroquinone is probably the most used bleaching agent until recently. It is available in non-prescription form (2%) and prescription form (4% - Glyquin, Lustra, Melanex) from dermatologists. There are people who cannot tolerate hydroquinone, so for those people, kojic acid works very well. There are also products that combine kojic acid with glycolic acid. Check out the ingredients if you know you are sensitive to any of these I have mentioned.

Hope this helps!

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