Skin discoloration can take a variety of forms, and sometimes it indicates a more serious underlying health issue. Whether a patch of skin is lighter or darker than your normal skin tone, or even if it’s a strange color like red, gray, or blue, it’s important to figure out the root cause of discoloration and to seek medical attention if necessary. Here are a few possible causes of skin discoloration.
Birthmarks and Pigmentation Disorders
Among the most harmless causes of skin discoloration are birthmarks and pigmentation disorders. As their name implies, birthmarks are patches of discoloration that exist from birth, and they can appear as red patches, spots of blue or gray, or even as moles, which are generally harmless unless you notice them changing size, shape, or texture. Skin pigmentation disorders include melasma, vitiligo, or albinism, which all tend to affect larger areas of the body and are caused by genetics or certain hormonal factors.
Rashes are a little more serious as they usually cause discomfort. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes raised red patches and painful lesions. Psoriasis, which likely results from immune system problems, leads to white or red skin that is flaky and itchy. Like psoriasis, eczema also causes dry, itchy skin that may ooze pus and crust over.
Infections and Cancer
On the more serious end of the spectrum, skin discoloration may sometimes be caused by infection or skin cancer. Infections such as tinea versicolor and ringworms tend to appear in tighter patches that are itchy and uncomfortable. The symptoms of skin cancer vary, from the fleshy, pearl-like bumps of basal cell carcinoma to the dark, mole-like spots of melanoma. It’s important to see a dermatologist immediately if your skin shows signs of a serious condition.
For over 70 years, The Dermatology Clinic has provided Baton Rouge-area clients with a wide range of dermatology services. To meet with one of our experienced dermatologists, request an appointment online or call (225) 769-7546.