Discoloration of Skin Pigment

by Shauna Heathman ; Updated September 28, 2017

There are several causes to skin discoloration.

Skin care. Beauty. image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com

Discoloration of skin pigment is a common skin disorder that can have minimal or significant impact on the skin's appearance and health.There are several causes of skin discoloration, some as simple as age and sun exposure. However, discoloration can also be a genetic disorder that offers no cure. In any account, preventive steps and practicing a healthy skincare regimen is always the best way to ensure you're taking the best care of your skin possible.


The pigment melanin is produced in the top layers of your skin when you are exposed to the sun. The more melanin that is produced, the more pigmentation in your skin. When there are no skin issues or when you are healthy, your skin will appear normal in color. If you are experiencing discoloration of your skin, it could be the cause of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.


One type of discoloration of skin pigment is called hyperpigmentation. This occurs when certain cells release more pigment, causing a darkening of the skin. Usually, hyperpigmentation is seen as tan or brown patches, commonly on the facial skin. It can frequently just disappear over time or can be treated with prescription creams. Wearing sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure is a preventive step for hyperpigmentation.


When there is a reduction of pigment in the skin, this is called hypopigmentation. Two types of hypopigmentation include vitiligo and albinism. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that causes white patches are found all over the body. Cosmetic cover-ups, creams and light treatments are used to treat this disorder. Those suffering from albinism have no pigment in their skin because their body restricts the skin cells from producing melanin. It is an inherited disorder that has no cure.


There are many causes for skin discoloration. Estrogen and progesterone can cause hyperpigmentation known as melasma, especially in woman who take oral birth control pills or who are pregnant. Sun exposure can also lead to discoloration of the pigment. Skin discoloration can also be caused by certain medications. General aging of the skin is a common cause for discoloration. Other obscure skin disorders can also be a cause of discoloration of the skin.

Discoloration Placing

Discoloration of skin pigment can affect your skin in specific spots or can be very widespread. If the discoloration is widespread, it is referred to as generalized. If the discoloration appears on just one side of your body, it is called segmental. If you have discoloration in one or just a few places on your body, it is called focal.

Photo Credits

  • Skin care. Beauty. image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Shauna Heathman is a certified image consultant with a passion for writing, and has been writing since 2006. She has maintained a blog of her own for three years in which she writes on topics concerning self development, appearance, style, etiquette and communications. Heathman has a bachelor's degree in communication studies and an entrepreneurship certificate from the University of Iowa.