Skin pigmentation disorders affect the color of the skin. Skin cells produce a substance known as melanin, to give skin color. When skin cells become damaged it affects melanin production. Cell damage may be caused by the following reasons: skin treatment, spots, acne, sun ray damage, process of aging, rash. However, a high level of personal care and skin protection may reduce the harmful effects and preserve the skin from damage.
Symptoms and Causes
Changes in the color of skin of women may be caused by hormonal levels, and the use of birth control pills that may influence pigmentation as well along with sun exposure. If the body makes too much melanin, the skin gets darker, if it makes too little melanin the skin becomes lighter and even pale. Pigmentation disorders may affect some patches of the skin, or may appear on the whole body.
Patchy facial stains are the most common problem, especially in the female population. Before any treatment it is very important to diagnose whether those patches occur as a result of darker pigmentation or some other more serious condition like vitiligo, for example. Vitiligo is an autoimmune pigment loss. It happens when the body's immune system attacks pigment cells. Vitiligo appears as white stains usually presented around the mouth and eyes area, or on the back of the hands. In some rare cases, vitiligo can spread over the whole body. Dark facial stains may sometimes point to vitiligo, because the skin in the surrounding area might seem darker when compared to the smooth white skin patches.
A custom hormonally caused case of skin pigmentation is Melasma (also known as cholasma). It is characterized by brownish facial patches, usually symmetrical, shaped like a butterfly. It affects the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and around the lips, nose and chin. It is common in woman suffering from hormonal disorders, thyroid problems, during and after pregnancy as well in the premenopausal phase. It's often referred to as a "pregnancy mask", but men can also develop it. The main cause of melasma in men is stress. Hormonal imbalances combined with sun exposure may worsen this condition.
A proper treatment of melasma includes:
- A bleaching cream that helps fade pigmentation (Hydroquionone with Tretinoin)
- Laser treatment to remove skin blemishes
- Avoiding the sun exposure
- Use of a sunscreen lotions. SPF-30 is a minimum protection level.
- Use of mild soaps
- Fruit creams containing lactic acid, fruit acid or glycolic acid
- Reduced usage of make-up, creams or other products that irritate the skin or cause allergic reaction.
- Aloe vera extract has anti-inflammatory properties, it repairs damaged tissues and stimulate healthy cell growth.