Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
Stubborn blemishes, commonly known as "chubabas", are actually chloasma, and skin lighteners are not the only cause.
This skin condition affects women, but occasionally is seen in young men who use aftershave lotions, scented soaps and other toiletries.
Chloasma is especially common in women aged 20 to 40. It affects the forehead, cheeks and upper lips.
Chloasma is more pronounced during the summer months as a result of sun exposure.
It occurs frequently during pregnancy and is more common in dark skins than in fair skins.
It usually fades a few months after delivery. Repeated pregnancies, however, can intensify the pigmentation.
Chloasma also occurs as a side effect of taking contraceptive pills and injected depot contraceptive preparations.
It may also be noticed in apparently healthy, normal, non-pregnant women where it is presumed to be due to some mild and harmless hormonal imbalances.
Sun exposure, following the use of deodorant soaps, scented toiletries and various cosmetics can also produce this mottled pigmentation.
This is called a phototoxic reaction and is due to ultraviolet radiation being absorbed by chemical substances such as perfume, cologne and other types of fragrances on the skin.
This pigmentation often extends down to the sun-exposed areas of the neck and may be more pronounced on the right side of the forehead, face and neck due to sun exposure while driving a car. It can also be on the left side, if you drive on the right.
Discontinue birth control pill. If you are on hormonal contraception, consider stopping it. But any benefit from changing hormonal preparations is usually slow to become apparent.
It is very important to minimise sun exposure on the face. Use a broad-spectrum very high protection factor sunscreen of a reflectant type and apply it to the whole face. Alternatively, use a make-up with a sunscreen in it. Avoid irritating the facial skin
Shun strong soaps or abrasive cleaners, and use only a mild soap or cleanser for washing.
Repeated superficial chemical peels may be helpful. Deeper chemical peels run the risk of increasing pigmentation and causing uneven results, but may be recommended in severe cases.
Laser resurfacing is sometimes worthwhile, but should be performed cautiously as it can aggravate pigmentation. It is very important to follow up with careful sun avoidance and it may also be necessary to use hydroquinone.
Cosmetic camouflage. Another approach to chloasma is to use special camouflage cosmetics. - www.dermnetNZ.org