Sunburn leaves woman with permanent dark facial marks

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One woman is making headlines after she was left with permanent scars after going just a few hours without sunscreen. (WPVI)

One woman is making headlines after she was left with permanent scars after going just a few hours without sunscreen.

Fair-skinned Kaitlin Menza is always careful in the sun, wearing her big hats and slathering on sunscreen.

"My skin reacts in the sun very poorly. I can feel sizzling, and itchiness within ten minutes," said the Kaitlin, who is a Contributing Editor for MarieClaire.com.

But one day she didn't reapply her sunblock and her face was permanently damaged. Her fair complexion now has dark marks on her face from just a few hours without sun protection.

She wrote about her experience on MarieClaire.com, writing: "It was a very typical sunburn. It wasn't especially bad, it didn't look like one of those third degree burns that you see online. But then as the weeks wore on, I realized that this mark around my eyes from my sunglasses wasn't going away."

It's called Melasma, a common skin disorder that causes discoloration of the skin. Kaitlin's dermatologist, Dr. David Colbert, says Kaitlin is an ideal candidate for it.

So what put her at risk? Her fair-skinned, Irish complexion, her lack of sunblock that day and surprisingly - her birth control pill.

"The estrogen that she was on can actually make the pigmentation after a sun burn much worse than it would have been. It played a role in the darkening of the skin after her sunburn," said Dr. Colbert.

"To have this damage is really embarrassing. It's your face. It's what people are looking at all day, so it's been really tough," said Kaitlin.

Luckily, there are many products on the market to mask this kind of damage.

"If you have some more specific dark spots or acne or scarring then you can apply some concealer right on the spots where you have that damage," said Joanna Douglas, Senior Beauty Editor at Yahoo Beauty.

It's not been two years since the burn, and while Kaitlin has tried a number of treatments, she's still stuck with the discoloration.

"I was surprised that it only takes one day, one afternoon, one really bad sunburn to damage your skin," she said.

To read Kaitlin's full experience, click here.

Related Topics:
sunscreenskin carehealthcheckhealth
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