Don’t Let Dark Patches On Your Skin Bother You! Here’s How You Can Reduce Them

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Don’t Let Dark Patches On Your Skin Bother You! Here’s How You Can Reduce Them

This article explores the reasons why dark patches occur and what can be done to treat the same.

Don’t Let Dark Patches On Your Skin Bother You! Here’s How You Can Reduce Them

Image Source: Dinodia

While pimples and blackheads are really the bane of good, clean skin, the other bothersome issue is that of dark patches on it. More often than not, people spot dark patches on their faces, foreheads, cheeks and even around their mouths.

According to Dr. Aanchal Panth, MD, Dermatologist, the following can be sources of dark patches: 

  • Saliva around the corners of the mouth is the biggest cause of dark patches. If the saliva gets stuck in the angle of the mouth while chewing or speaking, it leads to darkening of the corners. The drooling of the saliva that occurs when one is asleep is also one of the biggest causes of dark patches around the mouth.  

  • The act of pursuing ie bringing the lips tightly together, or licking the lips frequently also causes darkening of the lips and the area around the mouth.

  • Habitual rubbing of the skin around the mouth leads to darkening due to friction that is created. Perioral dermatitis is a benign eruption mostly in middle-aged women that leads to darkening and redness around the mouth as well. The primary symptom is a red rash around the mouth.  

  • The use of steroids on the skin, even for minor conditions like irritation or scaling around the mouth, is one of the biggest causes of dark patches.

  • Dark, patchy skin can also be attributed to a skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans. This skin condition is characterised by dark, velvety patches in body folds and creases. Along with darkening around the mouth, if there is darkening on areas of the forehead, side of the face, neck, armpit and groin, this could be acanthosis nigricans. The skin appears to be velvety and thick in this condition.

  • Another skin condition that causes dark patches is called macular amyloidosis, wherein the dark patches appear on the upper back, forearms, around the mouth and forehead. In this case, darkening around the mouth is the result of the accumulation of a substance called amyloid that gets deposited in the upper layer of the skin. This is what is known as hyperpigmentation, and it can be difficult to treat as it is hereditary.

  • Cosmetics, toothpaste or any lip care product can also cause dark patches if someone is allergic to them. The chemical agents in these products can often lead to irritation, redness and darkening around the mouth over time. 

  • Certain medications are also responsible for dark patches around the mouth area. This is known as a ‘fixed drug reaction,’ wherein certain drugs or antibiotics cause skin reactions. 

  • Lastly, the dermatologist mentions that some of the skin darkening could be constitutional, which means that there are no underlying causes, only that the skin tone is uneven. This is a hereditary condition and occurs around the eyes.

Different Types Of Treatments For Dark Patches 

  • For drooling, apply a thick moisturiser around the mouth before going to sleep. Dr. Aanchal states that applying a bland moisturiser such as Vaseline petroleum jelly around the mouth will help in protecting the skin against the contact of saliva or darkening.

  • If one has the habit of pursing, rubbing or licking lips, the dermatologist warns that it is time to break the pattern. That is the only way the skin can heal and the darkness can lighten over time.

  • If you have perioral dermatitis, then it is advisable to be on certain anti-inflammatory tablets or creams such as tacrolimus, which can be applied for about a month to six weeks until the lesions resolve.

  • In the case of contact dermatitis, which is caused by cosmetics and toothpaste, Dr. Aanchal recommends avoiding those products and using a bland moisturiser instead. One can also use non-fluoridated or fluoride-free toothpaste to avoid reactions.

Are There Creams That Help Reduce The Darkening Of The Skin?

Dr. Aanchal suggests that creams containing kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide or Vitamin C can be used to reduce the darkening around the mouth. These creams have to be used diligently for about two months to see the desired results.

If one has darkening along with redness around the mouth, use creams that help in reducing the inflammation. These help in calming the skin too.

Irrespective of why they may occur, dark patches can be unsightly and do bother us a lot. While some of the causes for them can be hereditary, negligence and unhygienic lifestyle are also contributors to the same. So, one needs to start paying attention to certain habits. It all requires a little bit of learning and unlearning to improve your skin.  




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