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Identifying and Treating Skin Pigmentation Disorders

By September 20, 2016May 2nd, 2023Dermatology, Skin Care

skin discoloration image - The Dermatology ClinicSkin pigmentation disorders may arise from a variety of sources, including hormonal changes, prolonged sun exposure, and certain diseases. The name of the pigment in skin is melanin, and it is produced by special cells called melanocytes. An abnormally low amount of melanin causes the skin to become lighter in color, which is called hypopigmentation. In contrast, hyperpigmentation is when skin becomes darker due to an abnormally high amount of melanin. There are several different treatment options available for these disorders, such as sun protection, chemical peels, and laser treatment.


Vitiligo is an example of a skin pigmentation disorder that causes a lightening of the skin. The ultimate cause is unknown, but it is characterized by patches of white skin due to the destruction of melanocytes. Albinism is a genetic condition where little or no melanin is formed, resulting in extremely pale skin. Sun protection is highly recommended for both of these conditions.


Abnormal darkening of the skin is often due to prolonged sun exposure or hormonal changes. Hyperpigmentation can be treated with sun protection or skin bleaching creams, but more severe cases may require chemical peels or laser treatments. Examples of these skin pigmentation disorders include melasma and Acanthosis Nigricans. Symptoms of melasma include irregular patches of darkened skin, usually on the face. Acanthosis Nigricans presents itself as dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases.

Treatment options

A chemical peel is a technique used to exfoliate the skin by causing old, dead skin to peel off. This allows new, healthier skin to be generated. There are three levels of treatment (superficial, medium, and deep).

Laser treatment is a method for improving the appearance of skin with the help of resurfacing lasers. There are a variety of different laser treatments methods used by dermatologists designed for skin pigmentation disorders. Most require little to no downtime, heal fast, and can be used on difficult to reach areas.