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Skin Discoloration

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200177744-001.jpgWhat is skin discoloration?
When your skin, or large portions of it turns an unusual shade, or natural pigmentation disappears.

What causes discoloration?
Skin color is influenced by the amount of pigment, or melanin, that is produced by the skin. Natural pigmentation is nature’s way of protecting itself from ultraviolet light, and thus most discoloration is in some way associated with sun exposure. However, sun exposure is not the sole cause of discoloration and rashes, acne spots, injury, medication, hormones and genetics may also contribute to discoloration.

Types of discoloration:
Sun Spots
Also called Lentigos (commonly referred to as liver or age spots), are a product of cumulative sun exposure, not directly related to sun burn from a single day. Common affected areas are the face, neck, upper chest and arms.

Freckles
Medically names ephildes, freckles develop in fair skin individuals as a skin’s natural defense to protect itself from sun exposure. Freckles will often fade when skin has proper protection from UV light.

Post Inflammatory:
A common occurrence after injury to skin, or severe irritation that may be a result of acne, bad chemical peels, rashes or laser surgery.

Vitiligo:
A condition in which pigments cells are destroyed resulting in irregularly shaped white patches.

Melasma:
The darkening of the skin’s pigmentation, caused by the female hormone estrogen. Normal in pregnancy (pregnancy mask), this brownish discoloration of the face can also be caused by birth control pills that contain estrogen. This is common among relatively young people.

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