Skin pigmentation disorders
Skin pigmentation disorders result in an abnormal darkening or lightening of the skin.
Learn what causes brown or white patches, and about the treatments that can minimize their appearance. Skin color – from the lightest to the darkest – is created by melanin a brown pigment produced by cells, called melanocytes, which are found in the top layer of the skin. Without these cells, all humans would be various shades of pink because of blood that flows to the skin.
When melanocytes becomes damaged, they can produced either too much or too little melanin, resulting in problem ranging from the brown patches associated with melasma to the white patches associated with vitiligo.
Abnormal darkening is known as hyper pigmentation, and abnormal whitening is known as hypo pigmentation. Although most skin pigmentation disorders are medically harsnless, they can have a devastating effect on your appearance and self – esteem, especially if they cover large areas. Fortunately, medical treatments are available to treat, most brown patches and white patches.
Getting to the root of skin pigmentation disorders
There are three main types of skin pigmentation disorders:
• Melasma, which is characterized by irregular, patchy areas dark skin, usually on both side of the face – although it can also affect the forehead, upper lip, or nose. Although Melasma often occurs during pregnancy – which is why it’s sometimes known as the “mask of pregnancy” – it affects both men and (non-pregnant) women, especially those who have spent a lot of time in the sun. Melasma can also result from inflammation or in furies, including cuts, burns and scrapes, or develop in healed acne lesions.
• Vitiligo, which is characterized by smooth, white patches of skin, usually around the mouth, eyes, or back of the hands – although it also can affect the elbows, knees, skin, and genitals. Vitiligo is associated with autoimmune disorders, including thyroid disease, and is more common in people with diabetes. Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia. It can be especially distressing in people with darker complexions.
• Albinism, an inherited characterized by an absence of Melanin. Although albinism is most common in whites, it can affect people of any race, and results in a lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes.
Treatment for skin Pigmentation disorders
With the exception of albinism, which is incurable, people with skin pigmentation disorders have many options for treatment.
For melasma, home treatments include concealing cosmetics and over – the counter creams containing the skin lightening agents’ hydroquinone. If the creams don’t reducer your brown patches within a few weeks, consult your doctor or dermatologist. After testing your skin with a woods lamp, a device that determines how deeply the Melasma has penetrated your skin, he or she may recommend.
• A higher – strength prescription hydroquinone creams
• A prescription cream containing a combination of hydroquinone, retinoic acid, and mild hydroquinone.
• A prescription cream containing a combination of tretinoin, kojic acid, and azelaic acid.
If the Melasma has penetrated deeper layers of your skin, your doctor may recommend.
• Micro desmabrasion or desmabrasion.
• Chemical peels
• Laser treatments
For vitiligo, home treatments include bronzers, skin stains, and make – up to darken white patches.
Medical treatments for vitiligo include.
• Photo therapy, which can restimu late Melanin production in more than half of patients.
• Psoralens, drugs that make skin more sensitive to light, often used in combination with photo therapy.
• Excimer laser therapy, a recent treatment that delivers ultraviolet B light.
In extreme cases, vitiligo can be remedied with skin grafts, including transplantation of melano cytes from unaffected areas; or bleaching of the unaffected skin with hydroquinone, or process that can take weeks or years. Skin pigmentation disorders can be upsetting for people gang complexion. But medical treatment can help minimize the appearance of brown patches or white patches, restore a more vent look to the skin. And reduce emotional distress.