Friday - - Beauty -

Q I’m a 64-year-old woman. Four months ago, I no­ticed a dark tri­an­gu­lar shaped spot on my cheek. What could it be?

ADark spots on the face can mean sev­eral things, depend­ing on the race, com­plex­ion, ge­netic or fa­mil­ial his­tory, age, his­tory of sun ex­po­sure or sun­burns, his­tory of tak­ing cer­tain med­i­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly oral con­tra­cep­tive pills, his­tory of phys­i­cal or chem­i­cal in­jury to skin, or his­tory of any ag­gres­sive/ab­la­tive skin treat­ments etc. or preg­nan­cyre­lated fa­cial skin dark­en­ing con­di­tions such as melasma or cholasma in women. How­ever, in your case, the sud­den RASHI CHOWD­HARY ap­pear­ance of the spot and your men­tion of its in­crease in size is of some con­cern.

At your age, ap­pear­ance of pig­mented se­b­or­rhoeic ker­ato­sis (SK) is com­monly seen in fair com­plex­ioned in­di­vid­u­als, par­tic­u­larly those with a pos­i­tive fam­ily his­tory of sim­i­lar skin erup­tions. Th­ese le­sions are of a be­nign na­ture and noth­ing to worry about. At the same time very sim­i­lar-look­ing brown­ish-black le­sions called lenti­gens – or com­monly known as liver spots – can cause con­fu­sion in its clin­i­cal di­ag­no­sis. Th­ese le­sions also mostly ap­pear un­der a ge­netic in­flu­ence, but carry the rare risk of trans­form­ing into a skin cancer called lentigo ma­ligna melanoma. In a vast ma­jor­ity of suf­fer­ers, doc­tors re­main de­ceived and end up di­ag­nos­ing them as freck­les, which are to­tally be­nign.

My best ad­vice is that you con­sult an ex­pe­ri­enced der­ma­tol­o­gist as soon as pos­si­ble. In ad­di­tion to a close clin­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion, your pig­mented le­sion needs to be as­sessed through mole map­ping as well, which is the most mod­ern di­ag­nos­tic tool that can help in the early de­tec­tion of ma­lig­nant melanoma. A skin biopsy might also be re­quired to con­firm or rule out any of the sus­pected di­ag­noses.

Af­ter rul­ing out all se­ri­ous con­cerns, if the le­sion is de­ter­mined to be a sim­ple pig­men­ta­tion al­ter­ation, then we can ef­fec­tively take care of it with one of the many avail­able treat­ment modal­i­ties. DR IKRAMULLAH AL NASIR

is a lead­ing spe­cial­ist der­ma­tol­o­gist based in Dubai

60 is a nu­tri­tion­ist, di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor and creator of The Pro­tein Bake Shop

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