Melasma, vitiligo and pigmentation conditions affect the color of the skin. Skin color comes from a pigment known as melanin. When the cells that make melanin become unhealthy or damaged, the production of melanin is affected, causing skin discoloration.
There are skin pigmentation disorders that just manifest as patches on the skin while others can affect the entire body. Two examples of skin pigmentation disorders are melasma and vitiligo, both of which we treat at the Millburn Laser Center in New Jersey.
What are Melasma and Vitiligo?
Melasma, also known as hyperpigmentation, is a common skin condition that causes tan, brown, gray-brown patches or darkening of the skin to appear on the forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip, and chin. It may also show up on areas that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the neck and forearms.
Melasma is sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” because it is common in pregnant women and it is believed to be triggered by the increase of hormones.
Vitiligo is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks the pigment cells that are responsible for your skin color causing white patches. These pigment cells are called melanocytes and no longer produce melanin. And without melanin production, areas of your skin lose their color or turn white.
The severity of the condition will vary from one individual to another. Some may only have small patches of pigment loss, while others may have vitiligo spread throughout their body.
Who Gets Melasma and Vitiligo?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melasma is more common in women. Only 10 percent of people who get melasma are men.
People with darker skin (e.g., African American, North African, Indian, Latin/Hispanic, Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent) are more prone to melasma.
Those with close blood relatives who have melasma are also at higher risk of getting the condition. Most people get Melasma on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip.
Vitiligo is more common than melasma. There are millions of people all over the world who have it. Almost half of those affected get it before they reach 21 years of age.
People of all races and genders have equal chances of getting vitiligo. Your risk of getting vitiligo increases if you have a close blood relative who has it or if you already have an autoimmune disease, particularly Hashimoto’s disease (a thyroid disease) or alopecia areata (hair loss).
The white patches may begin on your face above your eyes or on your neck, armpits, elbows, genitalia, hands or knees. They’re often symmetrical and can spread over your entire body. Michael Jackson is a known celebrity who had vitiligo.
Get Effective Melasma, Vitiligo, and Pigmentation Treatments At Millburn Laser Center
Dealing with skin pigmentation disorders can sometimes be discouraging. Therefore, it is essential to have a professional and compassionate skin care specialist who can guide you through your treatment.
Schedule a consultation with Millburn Laser Center’s board-certified dermatologists so you can finally find your path to clear, healthy skin. Contact us at 973.376.8500 today.
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Millburn Laser Center
12 East Willow Street
Millburn, NJ 07041
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