What Is Hypopigmentation?
Hypopigmentation is an umbrella term for pigmentation disorders resulting in white or pinkish skin over the body due to a reduction in skin melanin or the melanocyte cells.
The melanocyte cells are responsible for producing limited melanin proteins that decide our skin, hair, and iris color. They use an amino acid called tyrosine to form the melanin proteins. However, exposure to sunlight and some genetic conditions can also increase the amount of melanin produced in our body. Which is why our skin tans under the sun or becomes darker over a healing wound.
Since all three components, i.e., tyrosine, melanocyte cells, and melanin proteins, are essential for maintaining our skin’s tone, any decrease in their production causes the skin to lose its darker tones and become white. This paling of skin is known as hypopigmentation.
It can develop anywhere over the body, either as localized white patches or an entire organ whitening in tone. And though it can affect anyone, it is more apparent in people with dark skin tones due to the visible contrast it creates.
What Are Common Causes Of Hypopigmentation?
Some congenital disorders can directly or indirectly affect melanin production in our body, causing various types of hypopigmentation conditions, which will be discussed further.
It is more commonly caused due to a traumatic injury to the skin, such as burns, scratches, or cuts. Sometimes, blisters, acne, and skin infections can also cause abnormal skin melanin production.
Hypopigmentation is a common side effect of improper or failed skin resurfacing treatments, laser treatments, and chemical peels.
What Are the Different Types of Hypopigmentation?
Vitiligo: An autoimmune condition that disrupts the melanin production by attacking melanocyte cells, forming hypopigmentation on the face, arms, chest, or even within the mouth and over the hair.
Pityriasis Alba: It more commonly occurs in children as slightly raised patches over the face, and is supposedly linked with the development of eczema condition. Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis. Chronic sun-exposure leaves permanent hypopigmented patches on the lower extremities and arms which are untreatable. Judicious use of sunblock is recommended to prevent this from occurring.
How Does Dr. E Approach Hypopigmentation Treatment?
Hypopigmentation caused by vitiligo can be treated with topical creams and phototherapy. But when the causes are other underlying diseases or genetic conditions, they can’t be entirely cured. However, people with albinism are more prone to developing skin cancer, so seeking the right hypopigmentation treatment is essential.
Being one of the most sought-after family physicians who also treats skin disorders, Dr. Ebrahim has a deep understanding of treating these conditions in Canadians and people of other lineages accordingly.
Dr. Ebrahim’s hypopigmentation treatment is focused more on prevention as much as possible to ensure that it doesn’t hinder your social life or impact your physical health. Once you consult her, you’ll have a better understanding of your specific skin condition and what treatment course would best suit you.
Patients Before & After Consulting Dr. E
Frequently Asked Questions
Mild hypopigmentation cases caused by burns or accidents are known to disappear as the wounds heal. The time it would take to disappear may vary from person to person. However, most skin white patches caused by underlying problems require appropriate hypopigmentation treatment.
Severe acne conditions can develop acne scars, which can cause abnormal melanin production in the skin. So yes, acne can potentially cause hypopigmentation on the face, chest, or wherever they appear.