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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 have two small, round brown spots on my cheek that appeared last year while I was sitting in the sun. I am 38 years old and have been told they are age spots. Can you recommend a product that would at least fade them?

A: It sounds as if you have what is called hyperpigmentation. This can be caused by an irritation of the skin from acne, sun damage, or hormonal changes (such as pregnancy, birth control pills, and changes of your estrogen level during menopause). The darkening is caused by the skins' increased production of melanocytes, which contain melanin ( an natural coloring pigment in the skin.

The way to fade them is to use a bleaching cream. You can go to the dermatologist, who will give you a prescription for hydroquione (Glyquin, Lustra, Melanex). These will contain 4% hydroquione. Hydroquione is a bleach, and you must be careful being in the sun when using it (use LOTS of suncsreen!). It will also bleach any part of the skin it touches, so you must be careful to treat only the spots. It is a slow process. It can take several weeks to notice any improvement.

There are also products that are available from cosmetic companies (non prescription) that I think work just as well. These products use a lesser amount of hydroquione (usually 2%) in combination with other ingredients, such as kojic acid, lactic acid or citric acid. You might try:

Sage Bleaching Lotion with Kojic Acid (at
Philosophy A Pigment of Your Imagination (at
pHaze 13 Pigment Gel (at
Peter Thomas Roth Lightening Gels - comes in varying strengths (at,,

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