Pigmentation disorder


Pigmentation disorder causes irregular dark or pale skin area. What is its cause and what is the best treatment for this condition?

Skin color, from the darkest to the fairest, is created by melanin, a brown pigment produced by melanocytes cells located on the top layer of skin. Without these cells, all human skin will be various pink shades due to blood under skin.

When melanocytes cells are damaged, they will produce either too much or too little melanin, resulting in dark streaks of melasma or white patches of vitiligo.

Irregular dark skin is called hyperpigmentation and irregular white skin is called hypopigmentation. Though most of pigmentation disorder has no effect on our health, they severely impact our apperance as well as our confidence, especially when they appear in large area. Most of these brown and white patches are treatable.


Melasma is hyperpigmented patches commonly found on upper cheek or forehead, upper lip and nose.

Melasma is dark patches caused by change in hormone and more common in women. Women with brown skin type are particularly susceptible to developing this condition as the result of sun exposure.

Though more common during pregnancy (that’s why it is sometimes called “mask of pregnancy”), melasma can affect any men and women, especially those who are exposed to the sun.

In addition, inflammation and lesions such as healed cuts, burns, scrapes or acnes may also cause melasma.

Vitiligo is depigmented patches commonly occuring around mouth, eyes and hand back. It also can occur on elbows, knees and genitals. Vitiligo is related to autoimmune disorders, including thyroid disease, and more common in people with diabetes, Addison's disease and pernicious anemia.

Albino: A genetic disease caused by the absence of melanin. Although albinism is most common in white people, it can affect anyone of any race, and the result is a lack of pigmentation in skin, hair and eyes.


Apart from the uncurable albino, other pigmentation disorders can be treated with various treatments.

For melasma:

You should use creams which contain synthetic ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoic acid, hydroquinone or mild tretinoin and azelaic acid for your skin.

If melasma is ingrained into your skin, you should talk to Medilas doctor to be consulted more on:

Microdermabrasion / Peels / Laser therapy / Autologous stem cell transplantation

For vitiligo:

. Optical therapy: This therapy helps stimulate melanin production.

. Psoralens: it makes skin more sensitive to light, often combined with optical therapy.

. Excimer laser therapy: a new treatment, using B ultraviolet light.

In severe cases, vitiligo can be treated with skin grafting, including grafting melano fat from the unaffected areas, or skin bleaching by hydroquinone in unaffected areas. Skin discolouration can upset patients. Treatment can help minimize the appearance of streaks of dark or white skin, making skin look better.

The choice of therapy depends on many factors such as your skin type and your desires.

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