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Discolored skin patches

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Discolored skin patches
Discoloration of skin: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis
By Research Staff
Discolored skin patches

The best way to understand the way that skin discoloration occurs is to understand how the skin gets and maintains its color. The epidermis, the outer layer of your skin, contains a bunch of cells called melanocytes. These cells have many functions, but one of their main jobs is to protect the skin. When it comes to protecting the skin from the sun, the melanocytes do so by darkening it with a pigment called melanin.


Melanin is responsible for making the skin look darker when you are exposed to the sun, but the body, for some reason, will either stop producing melanin in specific areas of the skin, or put its production into overdrive. Sometimes the skin discoloration can affect the entire body, a specific part of the body, or it can occur in just a few random places on the skin

There are many causes for this problem that can sometimes leave you feeling self conscious. Some reasons may be as uncomplicated as applying sun block unevenly, while other causes require medical treatment. Some of the main causes of skin discoloration include the following conditions:

Melasma- a skin discoloration that derives from the irregular production of progesterone and estrogen. The condition is most commonly found with pregnant women, as a result of hormone replacement therapy, or birth control pills.

Exposure to sun- as the skin ages, small, dark blotches called liver spots can emerge. The spots are not dangerous, and can usually be treated with a doctor’s care. Also, sun exposure can flare up already-existing issues with discoloration.

Vitiligo- a condition where the cells producing the skin-coloring pigment melanin stop functioning or die. It manifests itself by white patches that spread across the surface of the skin.

Tinea versicolor- a fungal infection that causes dry, flaky, and discolored skin. The condition is aggravated by humid temperatures, a compromised immune system, or hormone level fluctuations.

Skin cancer- melanoma can present itself in many ways. If you notice skin discoloration that changes shape, skin texture, or color, you should talk with your doctor to rule out cancer.
Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis of vitiligo by looking at your skin during a physical exam.

There's no known way to prevent or cure the condition. But you can improve the appearance of affected skin with cosmetics and corticosteroid creams. Your doctor can also try re-pigmenting the white skin using UV light therapy or lightening the skin in unaffected areas, or a skin graft.
The main symptom of tinea versicolor is the appearance of scaly, discolored patches of skin on your back, neck, upper arms, and chest. The patches grow slowly and are more noticeable after you’ve been in the sunlight. Your skin may itch.

The skin color (pigment) inside the patches may appear lighter or darker than your other healthy skin. 
http://www.thedermreview.com
https://www.webmd.com
mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org
Discolored skin patches

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