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When your skin, or large portions of it turns an unusual shade, or natural pigmentation disappears.

What causes discoloration?
Skin color is influenced by the amount of pigment, or melanin, that is produced by the skin. Natural pigmentation is nature's way of protecting itself from ultraviolet light, and thus most discoloration is in some way associated with sun exposure. However, sun exposure is not the sole cause of discoloration and rashes, acne spots, injury, medication, hormones and genetics may also contribute to discoloration.

Types of discoloration:

Sun Spots
Also called Lentigos (commonly referred to as liver or age spots), are a product of cumulative sun exposure, not directly related to sun burn from a single day. Common affected areas are the face, neck, upper chest and arms.

Freckles
Medically names ephildes, freckles develop in fair skin individuals as a skin's natural defense to protect itself from sun exposure. Freckles will often fade when skin has proper protection from UV light.

Post Inflammatory:
A common occurrence after injury to skin, or severe irritation that may be a result of acne, bad chemical peels, rashes or laser surgery.

Vitiligo:
A condition in which pigments cells are destroyed resulting in irregularly shaped white patches.

Melasma:
The darkening of the skin's pigmentation, caused by the female hormone estrogen. Normal in pregnancy (pregnancy mask), this brownish discoloration of the face can also be caused by birth control pills that contain estrogen. This is common among relatively young people.

Hyperpigmentation
Skin discoloration, often referred to as age spots, is almost completely caused by long-term sun exposure. These dark brown patches usually found on the hands and face is concentrated pigment. Other causes of skin discoloration include birth control pills, pregnancy, hormones and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Treatments for skin discoloration include, skin peels with AHA?S, Jessner skin peels, TCA peels, photo rejuvenation (IPL), Lasers and appropriate lightening agents for home care.

Though there is no cure for Discoloration, there are several effective methods to treat it:

Professional Care:

Many people have success combating discoloration with acid peels, laser therapy or micro-dermabrasion treatments. The best place to start is generally to find a knowledge professional to advise you on the best method of treatment for your skin, and help put you on the right track to fade discoloration.

Home Care:

Use gentle products, as skin irritation may trigger an increase in pigmentation and worsen Melasma.

Products containing natural lighteners retinoic or kojic acids have been proven to be effective in combating discoloration. These products are especially effective in combating discoloration, as they gently exfoliate the top layer of damaged skin cells while working to repair the under layers of skin, so that newer, brighter skin may come to the surface.

Above all wear sunscreen ALL day, EVERY day!!! Be sure to use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, and provides broad spectrum protection against both UVA & UVB rays, such as 365 SPF 30 or waterproof 365 Sport.
 
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