Hypopigmentation Treatment: Options For White Patches And Scars
There are a whole range of treatment approaches available. Which one is right for you depends greatly on the causes of hypopigmentation. Although it will also be greatly impacted by local availability and the advice of your medical professional.
So these are the treatments for hypopigmentation currently available:-
How To Treat Hypopigmentation
Hypopigmentation is a condition that occurs when there are patches on skin lighter than the rest of the skin. These patches don’t have as much concentrated melanin, which is what leads to the lighter color. They tend to develop when the skin cells aren’t producing enough melanin. Depending on the individual, the effects might occur in spots throughout the body, or the skin may get progressively lighter all over the body. Severe environmental conditions and genetic mutations can disrupt an individual’s melanin production. Before treatment can be utilized, the underlying cause must be determined. In fact, the first thing a doctor will do is diagnose the underlying condition causing hypopigmentation. Many of the most common conditions can be treated, and the skin will begin to produce melanin normally and smooth itself within a few months.
However, in the meantime, there are cosmetic treatments patients can undergo to reduce or eliminating lighter patches. Get familiar with some common treatments now.
Eczema Affects All Skin Colors
Eczema is a common disease affecting mostly children, and it does not discriminate against skin color. Light skin and dark skin tones are equally affected.
Similar symptoms appear in dark skin as in light skin:
- Changes in skin color on the eczema patch
- Thickening of the skin
In atopic eczema, which presents in flare-ups, skin also feels dry and tight, even in periods of remission. Intense itching can impede sleep and cause children to become irritable.
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Why Does Hyperpigmentation Occur After Acne
Hyperpigmentation acne marks form towards the end of the healing process or once the acne blemish heals.
Whiteheads and blackheads dont heal. Instead, the dead skin and the oil are eliminated, and the pore quickly returns to its normal state. Cysts and pimples, on the other hand, require some healing. This is where hyperpigmentation steps in.
One of the first steps in the healing process is to increase blood flow to the wound site. And acne, to some extent, fits the definition of a minor skin wound, so blood flow increases when acne forms.
The wound releases certain chemicals that travel through the bloodstream and begin the healing process but also cause inflammation. These chemicals stimulate the cells that produce the skins pigment.
Both researchers and dermatologists agree that inflammation plays a significant role in hyperpigmentation. But, theres a lot more to study what causes hyperpigmentation acne.
As you read earlier, melanin produces pigment and melanin is produced by melanocytes. The longer a wound takes to heal, the longer the stimulation of melanocytes and more the release of melanin. This is how acne turns into hyperpigmentation acne marks.
One of the biggest culprits of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by acne is picking zits. The best post-acne hyperpigmentation treatment is to avoid it in the first place.
When Should You See A Doctor?
If you notice changes in an existing spot, you should have a dermatologist or physician examine it.
Melanoma And Dark Skin
Although dark-skinned people have a natural protection against skin cancer, that doesn’t mean it can’t occur. It does — most frequently where skin is lightest, such as the palms, soles of the feet, and around the nail bed. This is most true for Asians, Native Americans, and people of African descent. In Hispanics, melanoma occurs most frequently on the legs.
Because it is frequently misdiagnosed as plantar warts , tinea manuum , or a condition known as talon noir or black heel, and because many people do not seek treatment early on, the melanoma death rate is highest among people with dark skin.
The lifesaving answer lies in awareness and early diagnosis.
SOURCES: Janumpally, S.R. Archives of Dermatology, 2002 vol 138: pp 634-637. Taylor, S.C. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2002 vol 46 : pp S98-S106. Taylor, S.C. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2002 vol 46 : pp S41-S62. Perry, P.K. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2002 vol 46 : pp S113-S119. Alaluf, S. Pigment Cell Research, 2002 vol 15: pp 112-118. Rahman, Z. Cutis, 2001 vol 67: pp 403-406. American Academy of Dermatology web site. Brownskin.com. National Vitiligo Foundation web site. National Eczema Foundation web site. News release, American Academy of Dermatology, Oct. 23, 2002. “Treating Skin of Color with Know-How,” The New York Times, Nov. 3, 2005 . Skin Inc. web site.
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Atopic Dermatitis: An Overview
REBECCA BERKE, MD ARSHDEEP SINGH, MD and MARK GURALNICK, MD, Kaiser Permanentes Woodland Hills Family Medicine Residency Program, Woodland Hills, California
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jul 1 86:35-42.
Patient information: See related handout on eczema, written by the authors of this article.
Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by pruritic, erythematous, and scaly skin lesions often localized to the flexural surfaces of the body . It can present with asthma and allergic rhinitis as part of an allergic triad an estimated 30 percent of children with atopic dermatitis develop asthma later in life.1 The onset of atopic dermatitis generally is before two years of age, with only 10 percent of cases diagnosed after five years of age.2 A 2003 survey of children in the United States estimated an overall prevalence of approximately 11 percent, and as high as 19 percent in some states.3 A 2007 U.S. population-based survey suggested an estimated 17.8 million persons are living with atopic dermatitis, and most cases have not been diagnosed.4 Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent significant morbidity from sleep disturbances, chronic postinflammatory skin changes, scarring from picking and scratching, and the development of secondary skin infections with Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and herpes species.5
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Emollients are a mainstay of therapy for atopic dermatitis.
Who Gets Pityriasis Alba
Pityriasis alba is common worldwide with a prevalence in children of around 5%.
- Pityriasis alba mainly affects children and adolescents aged 3 to 16 years, but can occur in older and younger people.
- It affects boys and girls equally.
- The hypopigmentation of pityriasis alba is more prominent, and the condition perhaps more common, in dark skin compared to white skin.
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Important Note On Organic Vs Medicated Solutions
Its important to note that while I always advocate for organic products, I also think its very important to see a doctor and use medicated products if organic products arent working for you. Sometimes our bodies need that extra bit of help from medication, and we need to embrace the science behind these products to help us heal faster. Pigmentation is a very difficult problem to fix with organic products, so I would definitely suggest seeing your doctor or dermatologist for advice if Rosehip/Argan oils arent making much of a difference for you after a couple of months of use.
D Ayurvedic Diet For Eczema
Ayurveda recommends a complete change of lifestyle when dealing with eczema or Vicharchika.
- Consumption of wholesome foods that are high in vitamins and minerals such as zinc and magnesium are advised for faster skin healing.
- Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content help your body flush out harmful toxins.
- Foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C and Vitamin E help in skin renewal. Include carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs, seafoods, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, amla, tuna, almonds, soy, beans, pumpkin seeds, cashews in your diet.
- Omega-3 and Alpha-Lipoic Fatty Acids help in case of inflammations. Include fish oils, flax seeds, salmon, mackerel, soybean oil, yams, broccoli.
- Including Ayurveda suggested spices in your meals can further help reduce eczema symptoms such as inflammation, dryness and itchiness. Include spices like turmeric, ginger, clove, cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon, nigella seeds .
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Topical Pimecrolimus Or Tacrolimus
Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are a type of medicine called calcineurin inhibitors, which are usually used to treat eczema.
Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are unlicensed for treating vitiligo, but they can be used to help restore skin pigment in adults and children with vitiligo.
They can cause side effects, such as:
- a burning or painful sensation when applied to the skin
- making skin more sensitive to sunlight
- facial redness and skin irritation if you drink alcohol
However, unlike steroids, pimecrolimus and tacrolimus do not cause thinning of the skin.
The Physical Exam And Woods Lamp
The Woods lamp is a UVA light that looks dark purple, and its used by holding it close to the skin with all the lights in the room turned out. Its the same light used for highlighting fluorescent colors in the dark, like midnight bowling, fluorescent mini golf, and clubs in the 70s. So be careful when going to one of these places that uses a black light if you have vitiligo, because your spots will glow! Maybe youll think this is cool, and want to find one. . .
When a patient has vitiligo, the Woods light makes all of the white spots fluoresce bright white, making them clearly visible in contrast to the normal skin color, even if the normal skin is very pale. It has something to do with proteins in the skin absorbing UVA light and then emitting a longer wavelength thats in the visible spectrum, so your eyes can better see it. Its an incredibly useful tool for a dermatologist and vitiligo specialist, because very few other diseases turn the skin white like this. So, when the spots glow under Woods lamp, it narrows down the possibilities by a lot. Combined with other pieces of information gathered by talking with the patient, we can usually diagnose vitiligo without a skin biopsy.
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Your Dermatologist Can Help
Those arent ALL of the conditions that can cause white or light spots like vitiligo, but its most of them. Others are really rare and could require a lot of explanation better suited to residency training in dermatology, so I left them out! I dont expect that this description will be sufficient to avoid a visit to a dermatologist because theres a LOT more to diagnosing skin disease than knowing the names of diseases and a few lines of description, but it should help you wrap your mind around the possibilities and get some insight into how were thinking during a physical exam in our office. Remember, you could have BOTH vitiligo and another condition described here! Its helpful to know which is which, so that your dermatologist can determine when and how to treat them. Now you can go to your dermatologist appointment armed with knowledge, which should help both of you figure out what your white or light spots are, and how best to treat them!
* Images courtesy of VisualDx.
Answers To Your Hypopigmentation Problems
Have you ever noticed lighter-colored patches of skin throughout your body? Theres a good chance it could be hypopigmentation.
Dont 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 whats causing these bleached areas, then you can find a way to get back your evenly toned skin color with the right treatment.
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It Can Help Soothe Eczema
Aloe is a great ingredient for people who have dry skin or conditions like eczema, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Eczema is a common skin condition in which itchy, uncomfortable dry patches form on the skin, sometimes causing cracks and small wounds.
Aloe can help eczema by:
- Reducing inflammation: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm irritation caused by eczema.
- Soothing the skin:Aloe has also been proven to help soothe and heal patches of broken, wounded skin, Engelman says.
- Preventing infection: It also has antimicrobial properties that can help prevent infections that sometimes arise in cracked skin, Engelman says.
Most of the research showing that aloe vera works well for eczema has been in animals. But a small 2020 trial found that eczema patients who used a combination of aloe and olive oil cream for 6 weeks had better results than those who used a standard steroid cream treatment.
How Do You Diagnose Hypopigmentation
If youre noticing discolored spots on your skin, then youll 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.
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How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation
If you are looking to get rid of hyperpigmentation at home, there are a few ingredients you should search for when analyzing the best skin lightening creams for hyperpigmentation.
- My favorite products include ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoids, glycolicacid, and vitamin C, says Dr. Susan Bard, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist. Ingredients such as glycolic acid and retinoids can help exfoliate and further fade the marks. Hydroquinone can decrease pigment production by over-activated pigment producing cells.
- I recommend products that contain kojic acid, retinol, licorice root extract, and niacinamide, adds Dr. Youn. These are very safe options to brighten the skin and reduce age spots.
It is important to take note of the type of hyperpigmentation you are dealing with when treating spots at home. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the most likely to fade with the use of one of lightening creams for hyperpigmentation at home. Those with melasma and sun spots may also be able to fade spots with creams or serums.
However, professional treatments may yield quicker and more effective results. Generally speaking, it will take at least a few months for hyperpigmentation to fade. Some will see results sooner, and some may need professional treatments to fully get rid of hyperpigmentation.
What Causes Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation follows damage to the epidermis and/or dermis with deposition of melanin within the keratinocytes and/or dermis.
Inflammation in the epidermis stimulates melanocytes to increase melanin synthesis and to transfer the pigment to surrounding keratinocytes . If the basal layer is injured , melanin pigment is released and subsequently trapped by macrophages in the papillary dermis .
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Hyperpigmentation: What Is It And How To Get Rid Of It
Though you might be surprised to learn it, dark spots and uneven skin tone are a common occurrence, and in most cases, harmless. However, it can be frustrating to have discolored patches of skin on your face, harmless or not.
Never fear, we arent leaving you on your own to figure out how to reduce hyperpigmentation. Keep reading for everything you ever wanted to know about those dark spots and what skin care products you should start using today to minimize this uneven pigmentation.
Why Dark Spots And Patches Appear
People who have medium to darkly colored skin get dark spots and patches because something triggers their skin to make extra melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. Many everyday things can trigger extra melanin in people who have skin of color.
Dark spots and patches often appear when:
A pimple or patch of psoriasis clears
A wound caused by an insect bite, cut, burn, or other injury heals
You take certain medications
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Pseudofolliculitis Barbae And Dark Skin
This skin condition is characterized by bumps under the surface of the skin, and is often confused with acne. But the problem actually stems from ingrown hairs. It most often occurs in black and Hispanic people, due to the distinct shape of the hair follicle.
If the bumps are squeezed or manipulated in any way, they can become inflamed or infected. But even when left alone, they can be difficult to cover and sometimes cause pain.
Recent studies have shown that laser hair removal is an effective treatment.
Because this condition is often confused with acne, it’s important to have your diagnosis confirmed by a dermatologist familiar with dark skin.
Gentle Soaps And Detergents
Laundry detergent can contain harsh chemicals that aggravate eczema.
Many body washes and cleansers contain detergents, which help provide a soapy lather. Detergents and other lathering agents can dry out the skin, especially in people with eczema.
Bar soaps can also be harsh on the skin because of their alkalinity.
Try using a gentle, no-lather, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating, as these can further irritate the skin.
Many people with eczema also find that switching to a more gentle, fragrance- or color-free laundry detergent can help improve symptoms.
Try skipping fabric softener, which lingers on clothes and often contains fragrances and chemicals that can cause skin irritation.
Sitting next to a fireplace or near a furnace may feel good, but it can make eczema symptoms worse. The hot, dry air can dehydrate the skin and aggravate the itchiness of eczema.
Use a humidifier during the dry winter months and avoid getting too close to heaters and fireplaces.
What Is Meant By Skin Hypopigmentation
Your skin derives its natural tone from a pigment called melanin which is synthesized by special cells known as melanocytes. However, some skin conditions, inflammation, infection, injuries and certain medications may affect melanogenesis, causing low melanin production and discolouration of your skin. This is known as hypopigmentation .
Hypopigmentation occurs when melanocytes in your skin lose their ability to produce enough melanin or there is a reduction in the number of melanocytes. This may affect the whole body or can be limited to specific skin areas giving you lighter or white coloured patches. The size and number of the patches depend on the condition causing hypopigmentation.
According to Ayurveda, amongst the three Doshas or bodily humours that govern our body functions, Bhrajaka Pitta Dosha determines the production of melanin. When an imbalanced Bhrajaka Pitta vitiates the Medho dhatu resulting in low melanin synthesis and patches of hypopigmented skin. Hypopigmentation is classified as a Kushta or skin disease and is referred to as Shwetakushta.