Treating hypopigmentation mainly deals with correcting its different forms that may occur in people. Know about the different forms of this skin condition and how they are treated, from the write up below.
Hypopigmentation refers to a condition that is characterized by loss of the natural skin color, or lightening of the skin. In the term ‘Hypopigmentation’, ‘hypo’ means below normal, and ‘pigmentation’ refers to color. Our skin and hair get their color from what is known as melanin. This chemical is a pigment that is produced when an amino acid called tyrosine gets metabolized. However, this chemical might get depleted when the cells in the bottom layer of the skin’s epidermis (known as melanocytes) are decreased. And when this happens, melanin production becomes insufficient or too low thus, causing hypopigmentation. There are mainly three types of this disorder; vitiligo, albinism, and it also occurs as a result of skin damage.
This form of hypopigmentation is mainly characterized by the formation of milky-white patches on the skin. Besides this, it also causes premature whitening or graying of hair, discoloration of the inside of the mouth, and loss of color even in the retina. People between the ages of 10 and 30 are the ones who are commonly affected by this condition, although anyone may contract it.
The treatment in this case may not be required as for most people, the skin color becomes normal. Even following some simple self-care measures such as protecting the skin from the sun may also help in improving its appearance. However, some people may have to resort to medical treatment, which mainly aims in either helping the skin to get back to its natural color, or by getting rid of the remaining color. This is done in order to bring the skin tone to an even level. The treatment may include:
- Use of topical corticosteroids; these drugs have been known to aid the skin to return to its normal color tone. The results may take as long as three months to appear.
- Another treatment method is the use of immunomodulators. These drugs, as the name suggests, affect the body’s immune system and help in treating depigmentation. This is especially helpful for people with hypopigmentation on face, neck and other smaller areas
- Photochemotherapy is another method that is included in the treatment. It uses ultraviolet light A (UVA) for the treatment. However, it is reserved for patients who suffer from less than 20% of depigmentation in their body. It is also known as topical psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA)
- And for people who have more than 20% of their body depigmented, oral psoralen photochemotherapy (oral PUVA) is used.
- A kind of hypopigmentation laser treatment for vitiligo is the use of excimer laser. This device projects controlled beams of ultraviolet light B (UVB) on small areas that have been affected by vitiligo.
- Another important treatment procedure for people whose half of the body have suffered hypopigmentation, is depigmentation. Here, the unaffected parts of the skin are caused to become lighter so as to match the areas that have already lost color.
- Some people may require the aid of surgery to correct the problem.
Hypopigmentation can also be inherited in nature, and when it is, it is known as albinism. This genetic disorder is a repercussion of no or insufficient production of melanin in the body. And due to this, the affected people’s hair, skin and even eyes exhibit a complete lack of pigmentation. People affected by this problem basically have a gene that inhibits the production of melanin. The main signs and symptoms of this problem may include milky white skin, changing hair color (might range from very white to brown), translucent eyes, sensitivity to light, myopia or hypermetropia, and astigmatism.
Albinism treatment mainly includes relieving and managing the symptoms for, due to its genetic nature, it is irreversible. For instance, many children with albinism are required to wear glasses to correct their vision problems. And they might also need to go for regular checkups by an ophthalmologist. In rare cases, surgery may also be included. Adults with this disorder are recommended to go for regular eye check ups and skin exams once a year.
This is about an area of the skin losing its natural color due to skin infections, injuries caused by burns or trauma, formation of blisters, etc. And unlike the above two conditions, this hypopigmentation stays for a shorter time, and is fortunately, not permanent. Once the injury gets treated, the skin returns to its normal color, although it might take a long time for the process of re-pigmentation.
And that does it for the treatment options taken up for hypopigmentation based on the common types of the condition as described above. To conclude, in cases when the condition remains unresponsive to medications, people opt for permanent makeup.