7 Causes of Skin Discoloration
Discolored or inflamed skin is caused by a variety of conditions and presents an array of symptoms, such as peeling, cracked patches, birthmarks, or skin cancer, which must be treated by a dermatologist. Disease, illness, poor circulation, or overproduction of melanin (pigment) are common culprits. Here’s a quick guide to skin discoloration and what causes it.
What Causes Skin Discoloration?
- Autoimmune Disease Inflammation, swelling, and redness are common symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as Grave’s Disease or Lupus. Skin lightening or darkening is also indicative of an autoimmune disorder. Vitiligo is an example of a condition caused by an autoimmune response that destroys melanocytes, the skin cells that create melanin.
- Skin Cancer Skin cancer forms when skin cells are damaged and grow out of control. Types include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous), and melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest form and appears as a mole that is usually irregular in size and shape and has more than one color. If you have a mole that has these features, see a dermatologist immediately.
- Birthmarks Birthmarks are discolored, harmless skin patches that appear at birth. Common types of birthmarks include strawberry nevus, Mongolian blue spots, port wine stains, and moles. Many birthmarks will disappear over time.
- Hormones Changes in hormone levels can cause discoloration in the skin. Melasma is an example that typically affects the face. It is harmless and may disappear on its own over time. Pregnant women or those with dark skin tones are more likely to develop melasma.
- Infection Infected wounds or fungal infections can affect skin color and cause inflammation and itching. Tinea Versicolor is an example of a fungal infection characterized by slow-growing patches of white, tan, pink, red, or brown spots on the skin that may appear seasonally. The skin may also present areas that do not tan or burn in the sun or are dry or itchy. Ringworm and candida are two infections that can affect the skin.
- Sun Damage Sunburn, liver spots, and eventually skin cancer are all examples of discolored skin caused by the sun. Liver and age spots develop from an excess of melanin production that is linked to sun damage.
- Allergy Allergies can cause contact dermatitis, eczema, and chronic irritation of the skin characterized by rashes, lesions, bumps, and dry, oozing patches. Allergies can be controlled by identifying the trigger and using medication.
Asheboro Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center offers Asheboro, Thomasville, Albemarle, and West End, NC, a full range of dermatology services, including treatment for skin conditions. Their dermatologists also offer mole removal, skin cancer treatment including Mohs mircroscopic surgery, and acne treatment services. Call (336) 625-8410 to reach the Asheboro office, (336) 475-8410 for the Thomasville location, (704) 982-8410 for the Albemarle office, or (910) 673-8410 to contact the West End team about an appointment with a dermatologist. Visit their website to learn more about their services.