What Is Skin Discoloration?


Written by Nickie Fleming in Skin Care
Viewed by 34 readers since 06-13-2009

Skin discoloration can already be present at birth, but some dark spots only appear later in life. This can result from several factors. Some of the causes are natural, such as birthmarks. Other can be related to factors such as sun exposure or allergies. What happens is the skin becomes darker and people are bothered by it. The dark spots may go from disturbing to disfiguring.

Whatever kind of discoloration, most people want it gone. Dermatologists will attest to this. They often see patients with bothersome discolorations. Most of these can be rectified. Especially now with the arrival of laser beams and other innovative medical treatments.

As said above, there are various types of discolorations.

Birthmarks come in various shapes and sizes. They appear at birth in shades of red and brown. We do not know the exact causes, but they may be related to blood vessel deformities that occurred as early as the first month of the embryo’s life. Some birthmarks will disappear naturally. Others can be reduced by lasers.

Moles are brown to black blemishes on the skin. They can be flat or raised, and can grow or disappear with age. They are formed when the skin’s natural pigment (melanin) coagulates. Just like birthmarks, they can be removed with lasers.

Sometimes during the second half of pregnancy, women can get brown stains on the face or chest. Women taking a birth control pill can get them too. The production of melanin is increased by hormones and this can lead to discoloration. Sunbaths can enhance the staining effect, so it is advisable to stay out of the sun when you show this condition. Treatment options range from creams to acid peels, and the use of lasers for resistant remnants.

Dilated veins that manifest as fine red traces on the cheeks or legs appear more commonly in woman. They can be hereditary or a result of hormones, skin type, or injuries. Any thing that could increase pressure within the veins is a risk. Treatment is mostly with lasers, but another option is a surgical procedure in which a saline solution (or another chemical) is injected into the veins, shutting off the blood supply.

When people age, they get age spots. These mostly appear on the face, chest and hands. They resemble freckles, but are larger and more irregular in shape. Age spots will appear as a result of sun damage. You can use a lightening cream on them, or a chemical peel. Also laser treatment is an option.

And then there’s the total loss of skin pigment. This affects one percent of the population. Probable causes include abnormal nerve cells that hinder the body’s production of pigment or an autoimmune reaction in which the pigment cells are attacked. There are two ways to treat this problem. Those persons with a high percentage of lost pigment can take an oral medication to achieve a uniform lighter look. People with less pigment loss there is an ultraviolet therapy that sometimes restores a significant amount of pigment to the white patches.


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