Dermatologists provide treatment for a wide variety of pigmentation disorders, and they’re specially trained to find the actual cause of the unwanted variation in skin pigment. In some cases, it’s related to another type of health condition; in other cases, it’s less complicated and more easily treated.
Melasma – Most people associate melasma with pregnancy because the darkening of the skin on a woman’s face during pregnancy is very common. Women who are not pregnant, as well as men, can also develop melasma, especially on areas of their skin that get a lot of sun exposure. Depending on the areas affected and how deeply the melasma penetrates, your dermatologist may recommend one of several topical medications, a chemical peel, or another type of procedure to help restore your skin’s even.
Pityriasis Alba – Pityriasis alba is a skin condition that usually affects children and young adults, and many patients outgrow it eventually. Most people affected by it first notice red, scaly patches on the skin, and when those patches go away, they leave behind a patch that has lost pigment. For patients with darker skin, the loss of pigmentation is more noticeable and may be a source of self-consciousness. In many cases, topical medication will help.
Vitiligo – Vitiligo presents itself with patchy loss of pigmentation on the patient’s skin and is more noticeable in people with darker skin. The cells that produce pigment in the skin, called melanocytes, die off or stop producing pigment, so the skin lightens or may even turn white. This can be caused by an autoimmune response, by heredity, or by an event like chemical exposure or severe sunburn. Your treatment options for vitiligo depend on the cause and extent of your pigmentation loss, but medication and light therapy are two common forms of treatment.