08 July, 2011
Loss of pigmentation on your face can be the result of vitiligo or other skin diseases, some of which pose a serious health risk. It could also be due to sun exposure or a natural aging process of the skin. This problem affects millions of people the world over. While some conditions that cause a loss of pigmentation can be cured, others are completely incurable. In some cases, it could just be a harmless birthmark.
Problems relating to the loss of pigmentation arise when the melanin production in that area stops. There is no clear reason why it happens. Excess exposure to the sun may be responsible for causing white patches on the skin, which is the only symptom of pigmentation loss. At other times, a wound may leave a white patch, which heals over a period of time on its own; however, this depends on the extent of the injury. Other causes of pigmentation loss could be genetic disorders.
According to Cleveland Clinic, vitiligo is the most common condition that is caused by loss of pigmentation on the face and other parts of the body. It occurs when the immune system starts attacking melanin-producing cells in the body. Though vitiligo is not a communicable disease and does not pose any health risk, people suffering from vitiligo may face social problems because of the loss of pigmentation.
There has not been a lot of research in the area of pigmentation loss and cancer. Different schools of thought have different takes on the subject. The "New England Journal of Medicine" has found that vitiligo patches may increase the risk of melanoma, also known as skin cancer.
Other conditions associated with loss of pigmentation on the face and other parts of the body include genetic disorders such as idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, where pigmentation spots may have lesions. Skin disorders such as pityriasis alba and tinea versicolor also result in a loss of pigmentation. In pityriasis alba, the skin patches are similar to vitiligo patches but may be scaly and thick, while tinea versicolor is a fungal disease that can be treated by your doctor. Melasma, also known as chloasma, causes tan or brown patches on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, nose, and chin. It most commonly affects pregnant women but can also strike men.
Loss of pigmentation due to fungal infections can be easily treated, but if the cause is a genetic disorder, little can be done to restore the skin to its normal condition. The Cleveland Clinic and Vitiligo Guide have both mentioned that there is no cure for vitiligo; however, several treatments exist that can provide short-term treatment.