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Fair skinned, darkness around chin and neck area. No improvement with Azelaic cream. Better options?

Dec 2013
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Answered by

Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 4127 Questions
Hi my name is XXXXXXX I am 28 years old. My skin color is fair; however, my chin and neck area (beard area) is becoming darker for some years now. I don't know if beard is the reason. It started first around my chin area and day by day after regular shaving it is spreading in my neck area(only in the beard area). Recently I visited a dermatologist who advised me to use an Azelaic acid cream 20%. I have been using it for around 3 weeks now,
but cannot see any difference. Can I seek a better advice from you.
Posted Mon, 3 Jun 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 1 hour later

Welcome and thanks for posting your query to XXXXXXX

Myself Dr S K Kanodia and will try to provide you the best of information regarding your query.

After reading your query and thoroughly the most important thing to tell you is yours is a simple problem of of hyperpigmentation (darknessof the area) due to the things related to shaving.

To explain you elaborately, we know that we males are doing shaving everyday and if not everyday then at least alternate days. Due to continuous shaving there is a irritation over the shaving area due to razors, shaving cream and after shave lotions with other of cosmetic cream usage. These things cause mild inflammation (irritation) of the affected areas ( beard area) and leads to over-activation of the color giving cells known as melanocytes. These melanocytes slowly produce more color and it leads to greyish or darker than normal skin in beard region.

Your doctor has rightly prescribed you azelaic acid cream. As it is used only for 3 weeks so the effect would not be perceptible. It need at least 3-4 months of continuous usage for visible results.

Other than that I am suggesting you certain measures which will help you out in reducing the problem:
1. Do your shaving after taking bath. It is important because after taking bath the hair are smooth and easily razed.
2. Use new razors frequently and if possible triple blade razor.
3. Do shaving in the direction of the hair and not in the reverse direction
4. Do shaving softly and not deeply as it can irritate your skin.
5. Stop the use of any after shave lotion or any cosmetic cream after shaving or otherwise also.
6. Use mild shaving cream with least of fragrance in it.
7. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Though it is not the main cause but sunlight do have effect in increasing the activation of melanocytes and thus the darkness of the affected areas.

Now probably you can get that the most important factor in your dark area chin and neck region is because of the shaving and the things related to shaving. So as soon as you are getting better of all the above enumerated you would see faster improvement with the azelaic acid cream you are applying.
Lastly you have to understand the important fact that it took almost multiple of years to for so also it would be taking some of the months to get good improvement.
Have patience!!
Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be happy to help.
Wish you good health.

Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia
(MD- Dermatology & STD)
For the remedy and other of
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Fair skinned, darkness around chin and neck area. No improvement with Azelaic cream. Better options? 12 minutes later
Thanks for your expertise. The answer is satifying and I hope after following the advised instructions, the problem would get resolved. However, I require expert advise from you. I was using gillette mach3 to shave off the beard; however, for around 1 year now I have been using philips trimmer and shaver to shave off the beard. Do you think using a trimmer/shaver is OK or shall I start using gillette Mach 3 again. Please share your expertise.
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 23 minutes later

Thanks for your prompt reply young man.

Regarding usage of trimmer verse razor- I would suggest you to continue your trimmer as it causes least of injury to the skin. As you are already using it from last 1 year so the good thing to tell you about it is, atleast your trimmer is not doing further aggravation of the problem. So you can continue the usage of trimmer.
You would definitely get good benefit by following above as well as your dermatologist's advice.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be happy to help in future also. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer.

With good health and glowing skin wishes.


Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia
(MD- Dermatology & STD)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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