There I was, bronzed, post my two-week holiday in Spain, feeling relaxed and well, glowing, when eight words brought me right back down to earth: “Goodness, you really need to do your moustache”. Only my mum could say this to me, naturally. She thought she was talking about my upper lip fuzz (which I regularly get threaded). But in actuality, what she was referring to was my post-sun pigmentation, the dark line that insidiously appears every time I’m in the sun for more than 10 minutes, and makes me look like I have a thin, black moustache, worthy of a teenage boy in his first flush of puberty. It doesn’t stop there, though. It had also spread to my upper cheeks, making me look like I have dark under eye shadows, even after eight hours' sleep.
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I started Googling it, soon realising I had ‘melasma’, a common skin problem and a form of pigmentation. Melasma can appear on the face, and is especially common on the nose, cheeks, and upper lip. For me, this problem started eight years ago after the birth of my first child. I’d gone on holiday when my baby was six months old and I was still breastfeeding, and lo and behold, I came home with full upper lip shadow.
The good news was it did fade with my suntan, the bad news was it reappeared with a vengeance if I so much as looked at the sun. I tried every product I could get my hands on, every factor 50 sun cream, every dark spot corrector, even daily toners that claim to remove dark spots. The black shadow remained.
I booked to have skin laser, which claims to remove it. But when I questioned a bit further, despite the hefty price tag, the clinic couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t return the minute I went back into the sun. I was given a cream by my dermatologist, which made my skin peel so badly, I had to stop it.
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Just when I was nearing my wits end, someone introduced me to Sisley Sunleÿa G.E. Age Minimising Global Sun Care SPF 50+, 50ml. It claimed to ‘prevent wrinkles, dark spots...leaving the skin with a luminous tan,’ thanks to a combination of antioxidants and cellular DNA proteins, which have an anti-glycation effect.
Of course, my immediate response was cynicism - nothing will work and it’s just one of those awful things I have to accept. But then I went on holiday a few months ago, and in a last ditch attempt to prevent the pigmentation ‘tache, decided to smear it all over my face. I sat in the burning hot sun for an hour (I personally think a bit of vitamin D boost does you the world of good, as long as you are a responsible sun worshipper). And guess what? I looked in the mirror expecting to see my little friend rear his ugly head, but he was nowhere to be seen.
I was moustache-melasma free, I tried it again and again, every day checking to see if he’d reappeared. He hadn’t. I have since recommended it to so many other women and they have all said the same, the melasma-moustache is a thing of the past. It doesn’t remove any dark shadows already present, but it certainly does stops anything new from popping up.
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At £180 a bottle, this isn’t a cheap buy, but when I think of all the creams I’ve bought, tried, tested and cast aside, and the expensive and time consuming laser treatments I have avoided, it’s a bargain in my books. I can finally enjoy my holidays again, in peace.