Skin discoloration refers to any change in your natural skin tone. Causes of skin discoloration can include melasma, pityriasis alba, certain medications, vitiligo and post- inflammatory hyperpigmentation among others. Do you suffer from uneven skin tone, dark spots or age spots from sun exposure? You have Treatment Options at Dr. Carolyn Merritt’s Dermatology Office! Choose from Aesthetic treatments offered by SkinFloraVI like Chemical peels, Micro needling, Exfoliating Facials, and Laser treatments for age spots. Or try our new Ritual Skin Care Line which includes a variety of four different botanical products that target discoloration and hyperpigmentation. Dr. Merritt can also prescribe compounded skin lightening creams or recommend a Maintenance regimen with a variety of cleansers and Caribbean Sun Protection Sun Block if you are looking for a brighter more even skin tone.
Melasma is a skin discoloration that appears as dark, irregular-shaped patches with well-defined edges. Most people get it on their upper cheeks, nose, lips, upper lip, forearms, neck, and forehead. These patches often develop slowly but can last for many years. Sun exposure triggers melasma, so it often worsens in the summer and improves during winter. Melasma is a common skin problem. It does not cause any physical problems or symptoms beyond the discoloration.
Dermatologists diagnose (detect) melasma in most patients by visual examination or with a special lamp. In rare cases, other skin problems look like melasma. Your dermatologist may need to remove a small bit of skin to rule out other skin conditions. This procedure is called a biopsy.
Sometimes melasma fades on its own. This is especially true after the trigger is gone, such as after a pregnancy or stopping birth control pills. Some patients, though, have it for years or even a lifetime. If the melasma does not go away or a woman wants to keep taking birth control pills, the patient can receive treatment. Many treatment options are available such as: Skin lightening agents, Chemical peels, Microdermabrasion, Laser skin rejuvenation , Maintenance treatment , Sun protection
This is a common skin condition in children with skin of color. It causes round, light patches of skin that are covered with fine white scale. The patches can occur on any part of the body, but are most likely to develop on the face, neck, trunk, or arms. Pityriasis alba is often seen in children who have eczema. The patches often go away without treatment. Most children no longer have patches by the time they become an adult. Your dermatologist can determine if treatment would be beneficial. They also may recommend applying moisturizer to the skin, as well as protecting the skin from the sun.
Taking certain medicines can cause skin discoloration or dark patches, especially in people of African or Latino descent. Medicines that can cause discoloration include those taken for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. You should not stop taking a medicine without talking with your medical doctor. If you take medicine and notice discoloration, talk with your doctor who prescribed the medicine.
Vitiligo is a medical condition that causes the skin to lose color. Some people develop a few spots that lighten or turn completely white. Others have more widespread color loss. Vitiligo can develop on any part of the body. Sometimes, it also causes a patch of hair to turn white. Skin color may return on its own. For some people, however, the color loss can be permanent if not treated.
A dermatologist diagnoses vitiligo by examining the patient's medical history and skin. Medical tests are sometimes necessary. The dermatologist may remove a small amount of the affected skin. This is called a skin biopsy and the skin is numbed before this quick and easy procedure. If the diagnosis is vitiligo, blood tests may be recommended to look for other autoimmune disorders. An eye exam also may be recommended to check for uveitis, an inflammation of part of the eye, which sometimes occurs with vitiligo.
Treatment cannot cure vitiligo, but it can help repigmentation of the skin. Research shows that for people living with vitiligo, an even skin tone can greatly improve both psychological and physical well-being. The treatment that a dermatologist recommends depends on many factors. Some treatments work best on certain types of vitiligo or certain areas of the body. A dermatologist also considers how much skin is affected. The patient's preferences, age, and general health also affect what treatment can be used.
Treatment for vitiligo includes: Light therapy, topical treatments, skin graft, sun protection.
POSTINFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION (PIH)
This condition causes dark marks or dark patches on skin and often occurs as your skin heals from ache, eczema, or other rashes or even after a cut, scrape or mosquito bite. The dark marks are often referred to as "blemishes." PIH often fades, but the darker the PIH, the longer fading can take. Your dermatologist can help restore your skin's color more quickly. Prescription medicines containing retinoids or hydroquinone (an ingredient that reduces the production of melanocytes in the skin), and procedures, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, may help. Your dermatologist will also encourage you to wear sunscreen to avoid further darkening of the skin from sun exposure and prevent more PIH from developing.