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Cosmetic Procedures, Birthmarks, and Other Abnormal Skin Pigmentation

Skin Pigmentation Disorders continued...

Melasma

Melasma (also known as chloasma) is characterized by tan or brown patches on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Melasma most commonly develops during pregnancy or while a patient is taking birth control pills or other hormones.  Although this condition is typically termed the "pregnancy mask," men can also develop this condition. Melasma may go away after pregnancy but, if it persists, can be treated with certain prescription creams and some over the counter skin care products. Remember to consult your doctor or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis of this condition before you choose to treat it yourself. If you have melasma, use a sunscreen at all times because sunlight will worsen your condition.

Pigmentation Loss From Skin Damage

If you've had a skin infection, blisters, burns, or other trauma to your skin, you may have a loss of pigmentation in the affected area. The good news with this type of pigment loss is cosmetics can be used to cover the area.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) are destroyed. As a result, white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. The cause of vitiligo is not known, but some possible causes include physical injury to the skin or certain diseases such as diabetes or thyroid problems. There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are a few treatments, including light treatment with ultraviolet light that can be done by your dermatologist.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Emmy M. Graber, MD on June 01, 2012

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