Melanin is a pigment that is a primary culprit behind the color of our skin. The more you have it, the darker your skin gets but, as always in life, things usually aren’t so clear cut. You see, sometimes, people get a skin pigmentation disorder which causes them to get much more or less melanin than is normal. Sometimes, this affects your entire body, while in some other situations this is transparent only on some patches of your skin. Reasons behind this are numerous and while some of them are genetic others are caused by a damage to your skin cells. This being said, here are a few of the most common causes of skin pigmentation disorders, as well as several things you should know about them.

1.      Skin injury

The first known cause of a discolored skin patch is a skin injury. This usually manifests itself in one of two forms, either as a cut or as a scratch but in both cases, the skin cells on the area in question damaged. Furthermore, this injured area usually gets scared which usually shows a great discrepancy in color from the rest of your skin. In the worst case scenario, the wound might even get infected leading to further complications. While avoiding risky behavior may reduce the risk of skin injury, being 100 percent safe from them is completely impossible. Still, with the right treatment, this injury doesn’t have to leave a permanent mark.

2.      Sunburn

The most benign, yet most common skin pigmentation disorder is caused by a sunburn. This is a form of radiation burn that affects living tissue and causes a condition known as the suntan. Even though it can lead to a skin tumor, in most cases, sunburns are quite benign (even though they tend to be painful). Still, the main reason why these are not considered so dangerous is due to the fact that a type I cell-death gets triggered in a matter of hours (or days), which causes damaged skin cells to be completely replaced.

Woman raises her sunglasses revealing her sunburn

3.      Melasma

The condition known as melasma is a condition that causes brown to gray-brown patches to appear on one’s body. Most commonly affected areas are one’s face and other parts of the body that get directly exposed to the sun. The reason behind the development of this disease is usually a hormone disorder, which sometimes gets caused by a hormone therapy or even contraceptive pills. Sometimes, this even occurs in pregnancy. In these situations, however, it is possible for the issue to withdraw on its own. If this is not the case, Q-switched laser treatment might be your safest course of action.

1.      Vitiligo

Finally, one of the most widely known skin pigmentation disorders is the so called vitiligo, which causes white patches to develop on one’s skin. The afore-discussed melanin gets formed by cells called melanocytes. Vitiligo simply destroys these cells, making it impossible for them to do their job. While this particular color may not be race-related (it is common amongst all races), it is much more transparent with people who have a darker complexion. While not hazardous to one’s health directly, vitiligo may cause certain cosmetic issues, which in turn might have an impact on one’s self-esteem.


As you can see, while all of the above-listed four issues have different causes and differ greatly in nature, all of them create a certain degree of discomfort amongst those who suffer from them. Luckily, some of these issues are more than treatable, while others are quite common or temporary. As for those that can’t be affected by a medical procedure, one has to embrace their nature and realize that beauty comes in all forms.