Thursday, July 21, 2011

Avoid Skin Discoloration: Types, Causes and Remedies

The skin is the biggest organ in the human body. It is often considered as an insight on what’s happening inside it. Every square inch of the skin contains twenty blood vessels. Therefore, the manifestation of skin disorders specifically, discoloration is mainly due to any changes that locally occur in the blood and vascular system.

There are various presentations of skin discoloration. Sometimes, the skin may turn white, lighter, darker, yellowish, reddish, orange, or bluish. Normally, the skin contains melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for producing melanin, a substance which gives color to the skin. The color of the skin is determined by the amount of melanin produced and the amount of blood flow to the skin.

Types of skin discoloration

Skin discoloration can be of many types depending upon the color of skin that is developed. Listed below are some of the common skin discolorations that most individuals might experience. These types have corresponding reasons as to why color changes happen over the skin.

1. Hyper-pigmentation. It is a condition characterized by darker skin complexion that what is usual to an individual. Overproduction of melanin and overexposure to sunlight are some of the causes of hyper-pigmentation.

2. Hypo-pigmentation. This condition is caused by low or absent production of melanin in the skin. Melanin production is determined by genetic predisposition of an individual. Examples of this condition include albinism, vitiligo, and tinea versicolor.

3. Redness. The skin tends to turn red when the blood supply around the surface of the skin increased. Reddening of the skin is observed either in generalized areas or in localized areas of the body. Redness of the skin may be due to a viral infection, fever, allergic reaction, sunburn, dermatitis, eczema, or flushing.

4. Paleness. The skin appears to be pale due to low amounts of hemoglobin or low blood supply in the skin. Skin paleness might be seen in generalized areas or in specific areas, such as white patches and white fingers.

5. Jaundice. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, is mainly due to increased bilirubin in the body. Bilirubin is a byproduct of dying red blood cells. Once the bilirubin levels increase beyond its normal limits within the body, it creates a yellow tint on the capillaries that run along the skin’s surface.

6. Carotenodermia. Carotenodermia is a condition characterized by the orange complexion of the skin. This is due to consuming huge amounts of carotenoids-containing foods, like carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Also, this condition can also be a sign that the kidneys and the liver are not functioning properly.

7. Cyanosis. Cyanosis, or bluish discoloration of the skin, is due to lack of oxygen supply in the blood. It may be also due to abnormal hemoglobin production or a presence of toxins in the bloodstream.

    Causes of skin discoloration

    Skin discoloration is due to various reasons. Actually, each of the several types of skin discoloration is due to various abnormalities in the body’s metabolism. Listed below are some of the common causes of skin discoloration.

    1. Medications. Skin discolorations may be due to some side effects of the medications being taken. For instance, antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs may cause hyper-pigmentation to some individuals. Iron preparations, if not carefully taken, can cause staining of skin causing black discoloration of the skin.
    2. Pregnancy. In most women, pregnancy can cause hyper-pigmentation of the skin over the face because of the increased activity of melanocytes in the body. Hence, the term “mask of pregnancy”. Usually, the condition fades away after giving birth.
    3. Diet. Studies show that diet plays an important role in a person’s complexion. People who are fond of eating foods rich in carotenoids tend to have an orange skin. Also, people who are fond of eating parsley and lime increases skin sensitivity that results in skin discoloration.
    4. Diseases. Most cases of skin discoloration are due to various medical illnesses. For instance, liver diseases can cause jaundice (yellowish color), albinism (whitish and bleached color) which results to white skin or patches, anemia which causes paleness, and cyanotic heart diseases which causes bluish discoloration of the skin.

    Skin discoloration can be treated based on its origin. A person who manifest any of the types of skin discoloration should consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis of the skin condition. In addition, proper skin care must be observed. It is always recommended to avoid too much exposure to sunlight during the midday from 10am until 4pm, at the height of the sunlight.

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