Answers to Your Hypopigmentation Problems
Have you ever noticed lighter-colored patches of skin throughout your body? There’s a good chance it could be hypopigmentation.
Don’t let these discolored spots worry you. There are ways you can treat this condition, but you need to dig deeper into the root cause first. After you find out what’s causing these bleached areas, then you can find a way to get back your evenly toned skin color with the right treatment.
What Exactly is Hypopigmentation?
Hypopigmentation is a condition where you have patches of skin that are lighter than other parts of your body’s overall skin tone. This can appear in just spots on your body, or these light areas may cover large sections of your body.
You’re probably wondering how this happens, right? We get the color of our skin from a protein called Melanin. This is what gives our skin, hair, and eyes their pigment. Hypopigmentation is the loss of that pigment in the skin. That means there has either been a decrease in melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin, or there’s been a decrease in melanin itself.
What are the Causes of Hypopigmentation?
There are several known causes behind hypopigmentation. In most cases, this happens as a result of an injury or a trauma that the skin has went through, like a burn or an infection. This can also be something that has been present from birth due to a chronic condition.
Here are the most common types of hypopigmentation:
This is a rare inherited disorder where people can’t produce melanin at all due to a gene mutation. So, they have a lack of pigmentation throughout their entire body, leaving them with little to no color. Their skin and hair will appear white, and their eyes can even have less pigment in the irises. This condition only impacts about 1 in 20,000 people in the United States.
Unlike albinism, this condition doesn’t impact the color of the entire body. This is a condition which causes smooth, white patches of skin that can show up anywhere on the body, even inside of the mouth and in the hair. The exact cause of vitiligo isn’t known, but it’s believed that an autoimmune disease that impacts melanin production.
3. Pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba is most common among children with dark skin. They will get white patches on the face that are also slightly raised. This is another condition where the exact cause isn’t known, but it’s believed to be associated with hypopigmentation eczema. That’s because the spots often come from previous cases of red, scaly skin patches related to eczema. But the good news is, children often outgrow this condition as they get older.
4. Tinea versicolor
These scaly and discolored spots come from a fungal infection. The condition is pretty common with people that live in tropical or subtropical regions where fungus can easily thrive. However, you don’t just have to live in a tropical climate for this condition to happen. Those that sweat a lot or have oily skin are also prone to this skin condition.
5. Lichen sclerosus
This is a skin condition that is most commonly found in women who are experiencing menopause. These white patches can pop up in the anal and genital areas as well as on the breasts, arms, and upper body. These patches can bleed and leave a hypopigmentation scar.
6. Other causes of hypopigmentation:
- Atopic dermatitis – This is also known as eczema and causes red itchy patches. When the skin heals from this condition, the skin may look discolored where the eczema patches once were.
- Contact dermatitis – This is also a form of eczema that can be brought on by touching a chemical that your body is sensitive to. As your skin heals, you may be left with a discolored area of the skin.
- Blisters – When your skin heals from a blister, it has to flatten and grow back to normal. There’s a chance your skin could turn lighter or even darker in color after it heals.
- Infections – If your skin has an infection, the skin may grow back lighter as it heals.
- Psoriasis – This is a condition that causes your skin to produce new cells at an accelerated rate and cover parts of your body in silver and red patches. As this skin heals, it may appear lighter than the other area of your skin.
- Scars and burns – just like with the other conditions, as your skin heals, it may become discolored and look lighter than other areas.
How Do You Diagnose Hypopigmentation?
If you’re noticing discolored spots on your skin, then you’ll want to go to your dermatologist to get it checked out. They will be able to diagnose your condition during a physical examination of your skin and by gathering information about your family history.
In some cases, your doctor may need to perform a biopsy by scraping off a small area of the skin to send to the laboratory for analysis.
What Are My Hypopigmentation Treatment Options?
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of your hypopigmentation and recommend treatment if one is needed. In some cases, hypopigmentation can resolve on its own and won’t require any treatment, like if the condition is from a burn or scarring.
If treatment is recommended, there are several options that could bring some relief depending on the type of hypopigmentation that you have been diagnosed with.
Treatment options include:
- Chemical peels
- Laser treatments
- Lightening gels
- Prescription anti-inflammatory creams
- Antifungal medications and washes
- Surgery options
Make sure you talk to your doctor before beginning any treatment options to make sure it is best suited for your condition.
Hypopigmentation Laser Treatment Options
As we mentioned earlier, not all hypopigmentation cases require treatment. However, vitiligo patients have found laser therapy to be extremely helpful for their condition. In fact, many patients have their pigmentation completely restored during a laser treatment technique that is designed to treat their condition.
1. When will I see results from my hypopigmentation treatment?
Patients that have laser treatments done for their hypopigmentation usually see results within three to six months.
2. How long do the laser treatment results last?
Most patients have good results with laser treatments that can last several years.
Successful Hypopigmentation Treatment at Winston Salem Dermatology
Are you fed up with your hypopigmentation? Don’t be! Let the experts at Winston Salem Dermatology help. We understand that when you look good, you feel good! Whether you’ve experienced hypopigmentation from sun, scarring, psoriasis, or vitiligo, we want to help. We know that hypopigmentation can wreak havoc on your self-esteem, and we want to make sure you look and feel your best. Let us examine your hypopigmentation and develop a treatment plan to get fast results. What are you waiting for? Give us a call today at +1 (336) 774-8636 and discover your perfect skincare solution.