A Look at 3 Types of Skin Discoloration

little boy with medical braceletSkin discoloration is a broad term that encompasses numerous distinct skin conditions. While some are genetic conditions that are difficult or impossible to prevent, others are largely influenced by your lifestyle habits. Here are three common types of skin discoloration and some tips for treatment, protection and prevention.

1. Vitiligo

Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder in which the cells that produce pigment are destroyed by the immune system. While not dangerous, vitiligo can be cause for self-consciousness and low self-esteem.

There is currently no cure for vitiligo itself, but there are treatment options that can help to create a more even skin tone. If you’re struggling to cope with this skin condition, talk with your dermatologist about the best treatment method for you.

2. Melasma

Often called the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma is a common skin condition characterized by brown or gray patches on the skin. In most instances, these patches of discoloration appear on the face, but can occasionally show up on the neck or arms. Although the exact cause of melasma is unknown, it seems to be linked with hormone fluctuations. This is why it’s so common among pregnant women. Sun exposure is also a critical factor

Often melasma will go away on its own over time.

If your melasma persists, your dermatologist can prescribe topical medications or may recommend other professional treatment options.

3. Age Spots

Age spots, or sun spots, are small patches of skin discoloration caused by years of sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays can permanently damage skin cells, resulting in discoloration and other signs of aging. The best way to prevent age spots is to wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine, for skin protection.

Not only will this help to protect your skin from developing skin cancer, but it can also help you maintain smooth, youthful-looking skin.