10 Common Causes Of Skin Discoloration

By Tiffany Tseng. May 7th 2016

Skin discoloration is probably one of the top reasons why an individual can look much older than his or her real age. It can affect men and women of all ages, and can sometimes be an indicator of other health complications. Here are ten possible causes of skin discoloration.

1. Sunburn – Red Skin

When the skin is exposed to the ultra violet (UV) rays of the sun, it can become red and inflamed. If protection is not sought, the inflammation can result in sun damage, or sunburns (which can cause further redness and inflammation, accompanied by peeling of the skin). During this time, melanin rushes to the exposed skin to shield UV rays, so you can also get tanned skin post sunburn and sun exposure.

2. Jaundice – Yellow Skin

Jaundice of the skin occurs most frequently for infants during the first two weeks of life, and is characterized by a yellowish cast on the skin, starting from the face. Although it is rarely fatal nowadays, it is still smart to keep an eye on it just in case. Jaundiced infants usually recover quickly after they start breastfeeding or become exposed to the sun. For adults, medical attention should be sought to help remove the excess bilirubin from the body.

3. Vitiligo – White Patches

This non-contagious skin condition occurs due to the death of melanocytes in our skin, which are responsible for giving the skin color. Symptoms include patches of light colored skin. The presence of vitiligo may indicate an autoimmune or hormone disorder, so be sure to see a healthcare provider for a solution or treatment.

4. Scar discoloration – Concentrated Dark Areas

Since the skin inflames when it is hurt, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation usually occurs after it heals. Any type and size of skin scarring, including surgeries, injuries, acne scars, and even bug bites, can significantly darken if not properly taken care of during the healing phase. Be sure to limit sun exposure and moisturize diligently to minimize hyperpigmentation.

5. Rosacea – Red, Flushed Skin

Rosacea is a common skin problem that plagues many with Celtic ancestry. Ranging from flushed skin characterized with small, dilated blood vessels to rough patches with little bumps, there are many potential causes for this condition. Be sure to see a doctor for relief and to rule out other potential underlying autoimmune problems.

6. Cirrhosis – Spider-Like Small Blood Vessels On Skin

Other than rosacea, other medical conditions not related to the skin can have spider-like small blood vessels on the skin as a symptom. One of such conditions is cirrhosis, which is the scarring of the liver due to excess alcohol consumption or chronic hepatitis C infection. It is important to see a doctor if you suspect you have cirrhosis to prevent the condition from worsening.

7. Cyanosis – Bluish Skin

Bluish lips, fingernails, or skin usually indicates a lack of oxygen in the blood. This condition is known as cyanosis, and can occur slowly or suddenly. Cyanosis can indicate underlying problems with the lungs (such as lung disease, drowning, or COPD) or the heart (such as heart defects, blood clot, or heart failure). Be sure to see a doctor if you are feeling blue, literally.

8. Birthmarks – Varying Shapes And Discoloration

If the bluish skin discoloration is on other open body parts other than near the mucus membranes of the body, it may just be a harmless birthmark. Birthmarks can vary in size and color, and can appear anywhere on the skin. Some cases, such as the Mongolian blue spots, may fade as the infant grows larger, but most stays forever. While most of them are harmless, you may seek removal options with your doctor for cosmetic purposes.

9. Hormone Imbalance – Dark Patches

If you are experiencing dark patches on the face and the skin around connecting joints, it may be due to hormonal changes in the body. The infamous “mask of pregnancy,” also known as melasma or chloasma, can darken in the sun, but usually fades after delivery of the baby. If you are not pregnant and have patches of dark, uneven skin, you may want to see a doctor in case it is due to adrenal diseases, such as Addison’s disease.

10. Infection – Multicolored Discoloration

Sometimes, that greenish, yellowish patch on your skin from a cut a few days ago is simply a result of bacterial infection. Viral infections may also cause rashes on the skin. Be sure to see the doctor as soon as possible, as skin infections can be easily treatable in its initial stages.

Now that you have some information on skin discoloration, make sure you get them checked out by your family doctor or dermatologist for tips on correcting them and protecting yourself.


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