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Hypopigmentation is a condition that causes some skin tones to be lighter than the surrounding skin tone. Hypopigmentation is caused by a lack of the pigment melanin, the natural substance that gives skin its color
Hypopigmentation can be caused by various skin conditions. Most cases of hypopigmentation are not serious and can be treated. However, in people with dark skin, hypopigmentation will be more pronounced and can trigger feelings of insecurity, especially if it occurs on exposed skin.
Recognizing the Causes of Hypopigmentation
The common cause of hypopigmentation is a history of damage to the skin tissue, such as skin infections, abrasions, burns, to other trauma to the skin. However, genetic disorders may also cause hypopigmentation.
To find out more clearly what causes hypopigmentation and what its effects are, consider the following explanation:
Hypopigmentation can be caused by vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to pigment-producing cells. As a result, fine white patches appear on the skin. This disorder can last a long time and cause white patches to enlarge. In some people, these patches can appear all over the body.
Albinism is a rare genetic disorder in which the enzyme that helps produce melanin is not produced.As a result, melanin production is limited. An albino (albinism sufferer) has less pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes. This disorder is more common in white people.
3. Lichen sclerosus
Hypopigmentation can also be caused by lichen sclerosus, a skin disorder that often attacks the genital area and anus. Lichen sclerosus can happen to anyone, but postmenopausal women are more at risk for it.
Lichen sclerosus not only causes white patches to appear on the affected skin area, but also causes the skin to become wrinkled, itchy and bleed easily if scratched.
4. Pytiriasis alba
Although it is known not to be classified as an infectious disease, until now the exact cause of Pytiriasis alba is not clearly known. This condition is thought to be a mild form of eczema or a skin allergy.
Hypopigmentation in ptyriasis alba most often occurs on the face, but can also occur on the neck, chest, back and upper arms.The appearance of hypopigmentation is often associated with sun exposure. Initially, the hypopigmented patches are not immediately pale or white, but pink and scaly.
Complaints of hypopigmentation can also be caused by an infectious process, including pytiriasis versicolor or often known as tinea versicolor and leprosy which is also known as leprosy.
Panu is caused by a fungal infection that grows on the surface of the skin and causes hypopigmented patches, while leprosy is caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, which in the early stages is characterized by numb hypopigmented patches.
6. Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation
Scars that heal after inflammation can be hypopigmented. This can occur in wounds caused by skin diseases or injuries, especially burns, such as exposure to exhaust, scalding hot water, or chemical irritation.
Treating Hypopigmentation Properly
Doctors can diagnose hypopigmentation based on the appearance of abnormalities on the skin, ranging from the shape, size, location, and nature of the spots. The doctor may also recommend investigations such as skin scrapings and laser scans to help diagnose the cause of the hypopigmentation.
Here are some treatments that the doctor may give you:
Giving topical medication
Doctors may recommend topical medications for hypopigmentation. In patients with lichen sclerosus and pityriasis alba, for example, anti-inflammatory creams may be prescribed to moisturize and speed up the healing process.
Meanwhile in the case of hypopigmentation caused by tinea versicolor, an antifungal cream will be prescribed to kill the fungus that lives on the skin so that the hypopigmentation can gradually return to normal.
In some cases, such as hypopigmentation caused by scars, laser therapy can help restore skin tone. The reason is, laser therapy is able to stimulate the production of new skin cells to replace damaged skin cells.
Some cases of hypopigmentation can be treated with chemical peels. This treatment procedure is done by applying a chemical solution to the hypopigmented skin area. With this chemical solution, the skin layer will be exfoliated and replaced with new, he althier skin cells.
The series of hypopigmentation treatments above cannot be applied to all cases of hypopigmentation because the treatment given must be based on the cause. Leprosy treatment must use antibiotics and be monitored for a long time.
In cases of hypopigmentation caused by vitiligo, the doctor may recommend other treatments such as ultraviolet light therapy, high-strength corticosteroids, or skin grafts if the vitiligo is very large.
As for the hypopigmentation experienced by people with albinism, until now there has been no treatment to overcome it. However, people with albinism should use sunscreen at all times as they are more prone to skin damage and skin cancer from sun exposure.
Hypopigmentation can be caused by a variety of skin conditions whose diagnosis requires careful examination. In addition, not all treatments can be done with over-the-counter drugs. Some conditions even require quite complicated therapy.
If you have hypopigmented patches on your skin that are enlarged, disturbing your appearance, or are accompanied by a number of other complaints, you should check with your doctor, so that a proper diagnosis can be found and with that, treatment can be adjusted according to the cause.