It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive if you’ve noticed a discoloration in your skin. Many individuals tend to think the worse and jump to conclusions as to the cause of the change, but in all actuality, there are several different factors that may contribute to skin discoloration. Understanding some of the common causes of discoloration as well as the available treatments may put you a bit more at ease if you recognize changes in your skin’s color or texture.
1. Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune issues can affect the body in a number of ways, so it should come as no surprise that this is one of the many causes of skin discoloration. In an autoimmune disorder, your autoimmune system begins to attack your body, and in this case, your skin.
The immune system ekes out autoantibodies that attach to and destroy healthy cells, resulting in changes to the skin in this case. Psoriasis is one such condition that often manifests as red or white, scaly skin patches. Diet changes as well as some medications can be effective for providing some relief to autoimmune concerns.
2. Bleeding Under the Skin
If you notice purple or reddish areas in your skin, it could be an indicator that you have bleeding under the skin. This condition often presents as small dots or large flat patches. This issue is typically caused by an injury to the area that is affected.
In many cases rest, elevation, and ice can treat the issue. However, it is important to seek your doctor’s opinion as if the bleeding has not stopped or is linked to a more serious issue, the condition could cause significant damage.
A chronic condition, rosacea affects more than 16 million Americans alone. Rosacea occurs in four subtypes but is generally characterized by small, red, pus-filled bumps. The condition typically occurs on the facial skin, specifically in the nose, cheek, and forehead region.
The cause and cure are currently unknown; however, there are several treatments that help minimize the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Dietary changes, such as avoiding spicy food, and improvements to your daily facial care routine may help. Likewise, certain medications are available to help control the condition.
4. Seborrheic Keratosis
A seborrheic keratosis is a common type of growth on the skin that often looks like a dark, overgrown mole. The condition is generally not harmful, but they can be unsightly. And, it may be difficult to differentiate a growth from melanoma, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. While the growth doesn’t actually require treatment in most cases, some individuals may choose to have them surgically removed for physical or emotional discomfort or if there is a medical concern.
5. Skin Cancer
One of the most dreaded causes of skin discoloration, skin cancer is a legitimate concern if you do notice significant discoloration in your skin. It is always best to allow your doctor to do the diagnosing, however, so if you notice an unusual discoloration in your skin, schedule a consultation as soon as you can.
Skin cancer can manifest as several different skin changes, including red or pink rough patches, waxy bumps, red scaly skin, or misshapen moles with irregular borders or new colors. Your doctor will determine the best treatment approach depending on the type of skin cancer you have.
6. Tinea Versicolor
Tinea versicolor is one of the causes of skin discoloration that is linked to an overgrowth of a fungus or yeast normally on the skin. The condition can cause the skin to look lighter or darker than the surrounding skin and may be dry, itchy, and/or scaly. While doctors are unsure exactly what causes the overgrowth, it appears that conditions such as humid weather, excessive sweating, oily skin, a weak immune system, and hormonal changes may contribute to the issue.
Some individuals may choose to follow at-home treatments for the condition, such as antifungal shampoos or creams. Your doctor may prescribe more aggressive medication either in the form of a cream or a pill. Unfortunately, even once you begin treatment, your skin may remain discolored for several weeks or even months.
If you notice that you are overall paler than normal, it could be the result of several different conditions. Generally paleness affects the entire body, including the eyelids, palms, fingernails, and tongue. Conditions that cause this change in skin color include anemia, shock, and low blood sugar. In any of these instances, it is important to work with your doctor to determine the causes of skin discoloration as well as the best treatment option for you.
8. Pregnancy Mask
Pregnancy causes a number of different changes in the body, including dramatic changes in hormone levels. With these changes can come differences in the appearance of your skin. One such change is known as melasma, or the pregnancy “mask.” This condition often presents as the darkening of the skin on your face and may be made worse by sun exposure. While the condition does not typically require treatment, avoiding sun exposure and using effective sunscreen while in the sun can help prevent it from worsening.
Vitiligo is one of the causes of skin discoloration that develops as white patches in the skin. The color loss is a result of a loss of pigment. While there is no cure for the condition itself, there are treatments that can restore the natural pigmentation of your skin. Your specific options for treatment will vary depending on the severity of your condition, the location and size of pigment loss, and number and places of patches. Your doctor will help you determine what medical or surgical treatments are right for you as well as suggest any mental/emotional supports that may help you cope.
While changes in your skin tone may seem alarming, there are several known causes of skin discoloration – many with extremely effective treatment options. To avoid risking any threatening skin conditions, you should consult your doctor if you experience any significant changes in the appearance of your skin and document any precursory events to the change. In many cases, the concern associated with the different causes of skin discoloration are minimal and well treated.