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Fashionable leopard spot prints look glamorous on gloves and scarves, but not so good on you. Melasma is a condition that causes the appearance of dark patches of skin, most commonly on areas exposed to the sunlight, such as your face. Cocoa butter is a common home treatment for many skin conditions, but don't expect it to bleach your dark spots.
Although all skin types can develop blotchy spots, hyperpigmentation most commonly affects women with darker skin tones. Sunlight can trigger melasma, increasing your odds of developing that animal-skin print across your cheeks and jaw line. These areas of hyperpigmentation commonly occur in areas of skin damaged by acne breakouts.
Long treasured as a culinary ingredient, cocoa butter is an element in many cosmetic products such as lotions, soaps, lipsticks and creams. This emollient is naturally rich in vitamin E, a substance that helps hydrate and protect your skin, says Botanical.com. Although this rich moisturizer can add a touch of glam by creating an affluent sheen over your dry skin, there is no scientific evidence that indicates it fades dark spots.
Sunscreen plays a major role in preventing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Lose your leopard skin look by shunning the sun, or at least wear a sunscreen that contains an SPF of 30 or more. Some of these sunscreens contain cocoa butter as a moisturizing agent. Fade your freckled look with a product specifically designed for treating melasma. Over-the-counter creams, as well as prescription strength products, may contain varying strengths of hydroquinone, an ingredient that helps fade dark patches. Like all good things, these treatments require patience, often taking as long as three to six months to lighten your skin. Professional skin treatments such as laser resurfacing and chemical peels may help rid you of your spots.
Don't mistake cocoa butter as a substitute for sunscreen. Although many women slather on the cocoa butter to enhance the allure of sun-kissed skin, this emollient can't protect you from the sun's damaging rays. Cocoa butter may help hydrate dry skin but can exacerbate acne, a condition that can result in further skin discolorations known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These types of spots commonly occur when your skin produces additional melanin in response to an inflammatory reaction or an injury.