Melanin is a dark, brown pigment produced by cells called melanocytes. It has many functions,
the most important of which is to protect the body from harmful ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. It
also helps prevent DNA damage and promotes cell growth. Hormones or other chemicals can
also stimulate melanin production through increased melanocyte activity. This may cause an
excess of melanin production, which can cause skin discoloration. This article will discuss some
common causes of skin discoloration.
During cancer treatment, excess melanin can be released from melanocytes and deposited on
the skin as camouflage. This can cause the skin to look darker after treatment. For example,
radiation therapy can lead to uneven pigmentation on the face and neck due to brown patches
mistaken for normal skin pigmentation.
To prevent skin discoloration during treatment, cancer patients should be advised to avoid direct
sunlight and wear sunscreen. They should also use tinted moisturizers to cover any dark spots
that develop. This helps to prevent the spots from appearing darker or larger. Currently,
researchers are developing some new treatments that may reduce skin discoloration. For
example, a research study is being conducted to test the effect of imatinib mesylate on melanin
content in patients with metastatic melanoma.
Changing hormonal levels may cause skin discoloration, such as pregnancy and menopause.
The most common type of melanin is called eumelanin, which often causes skin discoloration
after undergoing a chemical change called oxidation. This is called post-inflammatory
pigmentation because it occurs when the skin pigment has been removed during an injury or
other tissue damage. This can be a problem in the form of a birthmark or tattoo, as it shows that
the skin has changed over time.
The hyperpigmentation that we see in the skin during pregnancy is called chloasma, which is
caused by an increase in melanin production. This can be a problem for women with darker skin
tones who do not usually have issues with pigmentation.
To balance this, women should apply a darkening cream such as black henna to their skin to
increase the amount of melanin. They should also avoid tanning beds, wear loose clothing and
hats in public areas, and avoid staying in the sun for long periods. Generally, women may find
themselves with darker skin after pregnancy, but this will fade over time as the skin returns to its
Certain drugs can cause discoloration of the skin. For example, dinitrophenol (DNP) is a muscle
relaxant and weight-reducing supplement compound. It is also contained in some rat poisons
and insecticides. DNP can cause the skin to lose its pigmentation by damaging the cells that
Chemicals can also cause discoloration, such as using coal tar products for severe psoriasis.
These products release a chemical that is responsible for causing pigment changes in the skin.
Although it may effectively reduce inflammation, it can form permanent brown patches on the
skin when used regularly over time.
To protect yourself from long-time exposure, it is always important to read the labels of the
drugs you are using and to follow all directions accordingly. It is also important to avoid
exposure to any chemicals that could cause unwanted skin discoloration.
Sunburn due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is another common cause of skin
discoloration. When UV light strikes the skin, it damages nucleic acids in the DNA of the cells.
This damages the DNA molecules and prevents them from repairing themselves after exposure
to UV rays. The skin may develop a slight tan, but this will fade as new ones replace the skin
Sunburns are a common occurrence around the summer months and may lead to temporary
skin discoloration if sun exposure is excessive. People with darker skin tones are more
susceptible to this condition. This is because they have less melanin in their skin to protect them
from UV rays, causing the cells to become damaged more easily.
Patients can also get plastic surgery for extreme cases of sunburn. Some surgery procedures
they can undertake are called chemical peels, which use salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin.
Another method, called a deep chemical peel, uses trichloroacetic acid to remove damaged skin
cells. Both of these procedures can help reduce skin discoloration, but they are not as effective
in improving the appearance of severe sunburn.
Sometimes contact with an irritant or allergen can cause discoloration of the skin. For example,
many plants, metals, and chemicals contain haptens. These are harmless when they are on
their own but can trigger allergic reactions when combined with proteins in the skin cells. This
may lead to redness, itching, and swelling if the skin is exposed to these allergens for a long
time. When the skin heals, it can leave behind a dark pigment.
Contact dermatitis can be prevented using the right skin care products and avoiding exposure to
irritants that may cause an allergic reaction. Many treatments are also available for people who
have already been exposed to contact dermatitides, such as topical steroids, antihistamines,
and immune suppressants.
An allergic reaction in the skin can lead to persistent inflammation and a flared red rash. The
redness can sometimes be mistaken for a rash of another condition, such as eczema. It is also
important to note that most skin discolorations are not due to illness or injury but a harmless
side-effect that can often be remedied or cured by ensuring good oral hygiene.
Eczema can be countered using cortisone treatments. As well, there are some natural
treatments which people can use to treat their eczema in the form of herbs and vitamins, which
may help to reduce the risks of permanent discoloration.
In conclusion, the most common causes of skin discoloration can be separated into that
improper diet, the natural production of melanin and contact dermatitis, and sunburn. This
shows that no single cause will cause abnormally colored skin pigmentation. Mostly it is a result
of a series of factors that may be triggered by a change in diet or lifestyle or an allergic reaction.
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