Put simply, skin discoloration is discolored patches of skin. They are associated with a lot of different causes and can come in many different types and forms. Discolored skin patches are seen as irregular and come from roots causes such as illness, inflammation, acne scars, and injury.
Skin discoloration can cause things such as lower self-esteem, lower self-confidence, and increase feelings of worry. It can cause feelings of embarrassment and shame and it can also be difficult to find the root issue causing the skin discoloration.
Let’s Learn About Melanin and Your Skin
Melanin is what gives our skin color, simply put. It protects our precious skin cells from the sun and gives people their unique skin color. It also gives pigment to the human hair and eyes.
People with higher amounts of melanin have darker skin. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, melanocytes produce more melanin to protect your skin against harmful UV rays.
Did you know that concentrated spots of increased melanin cause freckles? When skin discoloration occurs, sometimes it is because there is an increase in melanin production.
The Many Causes of Skin Discoloration
Skin discoloration can be caused by a multitude of different reasons, ranging from sunburn to rosacea to contact dermatitis to eczema. It can be an either very easy or very hard to diagnosis skin discoloration and its root cause.
Where are here to break down the types of skin discoloration and what they look and feel like. We will also try to give practical and medically sound advice for treating skin discoloration, but make sure to head to your dermatologist or primary care physician if you think you have any of these ailments.
Sunburn might seem like an obvious thing to recognize and know, but it is definitely considered a skin discoloration. Sunburn is caused by over exposure to the sun without the use of skin protectant.
A sunburn is associated with redness, pain, and swelling – as well as dry and peeling skin. It is usually located on the outermost layer of skin unless it is a second or third degree burn, which is somewhat hard to encounter – but if you do – you should be seen by a doctor.
More severe burns that can happen from over exposed sunlight can cause blisters and huge welting burns and may need to be treated in the emergency room. Using natural sunscreens and UV protected clothing can greatly decrease the risk of sunburn.
Cooling down the affected area is the number one remedy for sunburn. Using aloe vera gel or directly applying the gel of an aloe vera plant can work wonders on sunburn. Avoid using ice, but getting in a cool bath or shower is a great remedy for helping ease the pain of sunburn.
Candida causes infection in the skin by hosting small amounts of the strain of fungus candida. It becomes a problem when it creates an overgrowth of these fungi and it is not treated. Types of candida include nail fungus, vaginal yeast infection, jock itch, diaper rash, oral thrush, and athlete’s foot.
Candida thrives in warm, humid, and moist environments. If you have cuts and abrasions, the candida is even more likely to multiply and overgrow. Poor hygiene and tight clothing can also lead to candida.
Symptoms of candida include itching, burning red rashes with a wet appearance, dry crusting edges, and a stinging sensation. Over time, candida can develop into cracked and sore skin with blisters or pus filled bubbles. Usually candida is found in places such as your armpits, behind the knees, under breasts, or between your fingers and toes.
Candida is easy to treat if it is caught at an early stage and taken care of immediately. It can lead to potentially life threatening illnesses if it is left untreated or if the person infected has a weak immune system.
Because candida is a fungus, anti-fungal creams work best but it is completely dependent on where the candida is located. Candida can sometimes be treated with over the counter topical creams such as ketoconazole or clotrimazole.
Contact dermatitis is a basic allergic reaction of your skin. There are three types of contact dermatitis, including allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and photo-contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to a foreign substance that it is allergic to and causes the body to give out inflammatory chemicals that cause many irritating symptoms.
Common cause of contact dermatitis include latex gloves, perfumes, chemicals in cleaning products or cosmetics, poison ivy and poison oak, and jewelry made of nickel - just to name a few.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis are red and itching rashes on the skin, dry and flaky skin, oozing blisters, swelling, extreme itching, swelling in the face, eyes or groin areas, burning, stinging, ulcerations, and open sores to name the most common.
Treatments for contact dermatitis are unfortunately just using different forms of pain relief as you wait for the contact dermatitis to subside on its own. Treatment starts by stopping contact with whatever you think might have caused the allergic reaction.
Apply bland petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to soothe the area and try the anti-itch goodness of calamine lotion or its brother hydrocortisone cream. Clean your skin with fragrance-free soap and semi-warm water - and try as hard as you cannot to scratch the irritated skin. If you are absolutely miserable, take a Benadryl to subside the itching.
The cause of eczema is not totally understood but the root of the skin irritant is thought to occur due to an overactive immune system reacting belligerently to the presence of irritants.
In cases of eczema, the immune system is no longer able to distinguish between proteins that are already apart of the human body and those that are considered invaders like viruses and bacteria.
Symptoms of eczema include skin that is dry, flaky, itchy, irrigated and inflamed. An eczema flare up is when two or more common symptoms are present. Flare-ups occur all over the body but most commonly on the arms, inner elbows, on the face, and on the backs of knees.
There is no permanent treatment for eczema but there are many over the counter creams as well as prescription strength ointments and steroids that can be used to help subside eczema flare-ups.
Common over the counter medications to help treat eczema include cetirizine, diphenhydramine, fexofenadine, and loratadine. Steroid creams (cortisone) can relieve the effects of itching and flakiness. There are many other non-traditional treatments and alternative medicines to consider when treating eczema as well.
More than 16 million Americans only are affected by the chronic skin disease, rosacea. Rosacea comes in four different types and the cause is completely unknown.
Rosacea has no known cause but it is likely linked to hereditary and environmental factors or a combination of the two. There are things that are known to make your rosacea outbursts worse, including consuming alcohol, the presence of cathelicidin, and eating spicy foods.
Rosacea is known for its appearance as small, red bumps on the skin filled with pus. The disease usually affects skin around your face, especially cheeks, foreheads, and noses. The flare-ups happen in cycles so that you may have symptoms for weeks or months at a time, they usually subside for a while, and then they will come back later in time.
There are four different subtypes of rosacea including subtype one (erythematotelangiectatic rosacea ETR), subtype two (papulopustular), subtype three (rhinophyma) and subtype four (ocular rosacea).
Each subtype of rosacea has its own symptoms but they all rooted around redness, swollen skin, acne-like breakouts, sensitive skin, stinging, itching, burning, dryness, flakiness, and many more.
There is no known cure for rosacea, unfortunately, but doctors and those affected by this chronic disease have found that avoiding certain products can help. They say to avoid alcohol, menthol, witch hazel, and all exfoliating agents.
Rosacea can be a heartbreaking condition to live with but there are 16 million people in America alone that deal with this disease, so it is important to not feel alone if you are diagnosed.
If you are diagnosed, get support from a local support group or an online support group that can help you feel validated in what you are going through. It is very nice to have people in your life that support you through the ups and downs of living with rosacea – or any other chronic condition.
It’s Just Skin
Skin discoloration and disease can be a hard thing to live with. Skin discoloration can be extremely irritating, uncomfortable, and painful. From wanting to scratch your skin off to wanting to have a solution, skin discoloration is not an easy ailment to cope with.
If you think you might have skin discoloration or a skin illness, go see a dermatologist or doctor immediately. It is imperative to catch these issues as soon as you can in order to subdue them and possibly prevent future outbreaks.