Treatment for Skin Discoloration

Skin discoloration refers to any type of unevenness or change of color in the skin. Age spots, vitiligo, freckles, and melasma are just some forms of skin discoloration. These conditions typically occur due to an imbalance of melanin, the skin’s natural pigment. Other times, they are the result of medication, sun exposure, and endocrinal diseases such as Addison’s disease. A serious depigmentation issue is also due to vitiligo and you can see vitiligo pictures here.

Causes of skin discoloration

Certain cases of discoloration are symptoms of diseases. Jaundice, the yellowing of the skin, is caused by liver disease while cyanotic heart disease causes the skin to appear bluish (cyanosis). Among women, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause hyperpigmentation of the face (melasma). Even diet may influence the color of the skin: psolaren-rich foods such as parsley and lime have been known to make skin more sensitive to sun light, thus causing discoloration from UV exposure.


Treatments

There are several safe treatments which address different types of skin discoloration.

1. Chemical Peels: Chemical peels employ the use of certain acids which are applied on the skin to remove the outermost layers so that new skin growth is stimulated. Depending on the strength of the acid used, chemical peels may cause reddening for a few days, after which the skin evens out in color and texture. The mildest peels use alpha hydroxyl acids derived from fruits, milk and sugar cane; the strongest, phenol peels, are derived from croton oils. Mild peels address problems such as skin discoloration, age spots, and acne scars. Phenol peels may permanently remove freckles and cause permanent skin lightening.
2. Bleaching: This process involves using lightening agents to affect melanin. The most common bleaching agents are:
a. Hydroquinone: This is a cream that halts the creation of melanin, and is used in the treatment of melasma, age spots and freckles.
b. Tretinoin: Derived from vitamin A, tretinoin speeds up the production of new skin cells and quickens the shedding of pigmented cells.
3. Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This treatment is for skin that has been discolored from overexposure to the sun. In this process, a psolaren solution is applied on the skin and left on for 30 minutes or longer. The treated area is then beamed with laser light, resulting in improved texture and a more even skin tone.
4. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is a known natural treatment for skin discoloration. 100 % pure aloe vera gel is massaged into dark areas of the skin in order to encourage skin regeneration. As an oral supplement, aloe vera juice can be taken as well.
5. Grapefruit Seed Extract: Another natural treatment, grapefruit seed extract pills or capsules may be taken to treat conditions such as melasma. The extract contains certain anti-fungal properties in this extract can treat melasma symptoms.
6. Papaya: The enzyme papain naturally occurs in papaya, and aids in the exfoliation of the skin. It may be used as a facial mask to treat freckles or sun spots. The mask is left on for about 15 to 20 minutes and then washed off. The exfoliation that occurs will help even out skin tone and possibly lighten it.

Before trying out any type of skin discoloration treatment—prescribed or natural—it is important to first seek professional advice. Since your skin is itself an organ, it should be given the same care and attention as any other vital organ. Always consult a dermatologist about your skin discoloration problems, no matter how minor they might be. Sometimes your skin can also be disolored after having skin rash because eczema, scabies and other skin conditions will leave marks. Often these will fade in time.

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