A pigment disorder can affect people of any age and also manifests itself in different forms and forms. For example, the entire body can be affected by the disease or just individual parts of the body. Some forms can be prevented, while other types of pigmentation disorder can be treated but not prevented.
What is a pigment disorder?
A pigment disorder occurs when too much or too little melanin is produced, causing the actual color of the skin to change. Normally, the melanocytes ensure that the melanin is formed and the skin gets a slightly brownish color. See dictionaryforall for Hernia in Dictionary.
In addition, the color pigments block UV rays so that they cannot penetrate deep into the skin. In the case of a pigment disorder, on the other hand, there is a change in the skin color on individual parts of the body or on the whole body. Basically, the pigment disorder can be divided into two types: melanin excess and melanin deficiency.
The most common form, hypermelanosis, is characterized by an excessive coloration of the skin, while hypomelanosis shows a reduced melanin content and therefore a weaker coloration of the skin. In extreme cases, the lack of melanin can lead to complete depigmentation as no melanin is produced at all.
Depending on the type of pigment disorder, the causes can also be different. Hereditary factors often play a major role and favor albinism or freckles, for example.
But certain medications or cosmetics can also be a trigger. Women in particular are often prone to pigment disorders due to hormonal changes, such as when taking the pill or during pregnancy.
In addition, prolonged exposure to cold or heat to the skin can disrupt the formation of color pigments. Triggers that have a stimulating effect on melanin production, such as UV rays or inflammation, should not be underestimated.
Typical Symptoms & Signs
- Lack or excess of melanin
- lens spot
Diagnosis & History
The suspicion of a pigment disorder should of course be checked by a dermatologist. He will first look at the discoloration of the skin, as this can be a very clear sign.
A biopsy from one of the discolored areas of skin can provide additional certainty. Questioning family members can also be helpful in making a diagnosis if it is a hereditary pigment disorder.
Depending on the cause, the course of the disorder also varies, but in most cases the disease is harmless and does not cause long-term damage. Milder forms can resolve on their own over the course of a lifetime, while an inherited pigment disorder often persists for life.
As a rule, a pigment disorder does not lead to any particular complications or other serious health problems. The life expectancy of the patient is not negatively affected, so that those affected can lead an ordinary life. However, a pigment disorder can have a negative effect on the psyche, so that patients suffer from reduced self-esteem or possibly from inferiority complexes.
Depression and other psychological upsets can also arise from this and thus have a very negative effect on the quality of life of those affected. Furthermore, skin cancer can occur more easily due to the pigment disorder, so that those affected are dependent on regular examinations by a dermatologist. With early diagnosis and treatment, however, no particular complications or symptoms occur.
In children, the pigment disorder may cause bullying or teasing from those around them. Treatment of the pigment disorder is usually not necessary. These disorders can possibly be compensated for by cosmetic applications, but this is not possible in every case. The aesthetic complaints of a pigment disorder can also be masked by various care products, so that the affected person feels comfortable with their skin.
When should you go to the doctor?
A pigment disorder does not necessarily have to be treated by a doctor. A doctor’s visit is necessary if pigment spots or other skin changes are accompanied by other symptoms. Itching or reddening of the skin can indicate a serious skin disease. If you feel unwell or have hormonal problems, this can indicate skin cancer. A visit to your doctor or a dermatologist is recommended. Specialist medical help is also necessary if the unusual skin patches cause psychological problems such as an inferiority complex or social anxiety.
Those affected should contact their family doctor or a therapist. The further diagnosis is made by the dermatologist, who can determine the cause and initiate suitable countermeasures. People who already suffer from skin problems or have a sensitive skin type should have pigment disorders clarified by a doctor as soon as possible. If the typical measures have no effect, the doctor must be informed.
Depending on the cause and effect of the pigment disorders, an internist or a psychologist can also be consulted. In most cases, pigment disorders are unproblematic and do not need to be treated by a doctor. Injuries to the skin or a badly healing sunburn are also warning signs that require rapid medical clarification. It is best for those affected to speak to their family doctor if the pigment spots do not go away on their own after a few days.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment from a medical point of view is only necessary in the rarest of cases, as a rule a pigment disorder is harmless and has no negative effects on the body. For many sufferers, however, the disease is a major problem for cosmetic reasons.
It is not uncommon for large areas of skin discolouration to be perceived as psychologically stressful, so that different measures can be taken depending on the cause. The basic requirement is that the affected person protects their skin and does not expose it to intense sunlight. In addition, cosmetics such as camouflage (make-up and make-up) are used in the treatment to cover up pigment spots in the face and neck area.
Other parts of the body can be treated with self-tanners or lighteners so that the color changes match the rest of the skin. However, bleach should only be used in consultation with the attending physician to avoid possible side effects.
If you suffer from a melanin deficiency, you can also achieve great success with radiation. In this way, an attempt is made to restore the formation of the color pigments over a longer period of time, so that the pigment disorder is reduced.
Outlook & Forecast
The term “pigment disorder” summarizes various disorders of skin pigmentation. The cause and course of the various skin pigmentation disorders must therefore be considered individually. A generalized prognosis is not possible.
In the case of pigment disorders such as albinism, the prognosis is negative because the entire skin is affected. This pigment disorder is hereditary and cannot be reversed. Age-related pigment disorders can only be corrected cosmetically. That worsens the prognosis. Freckles often fade in the cold season. However, under the influence of the sun, they multiply again.
In the case of the pigment disorder vitiligo, also known as white spot disease, in contrast to the above, progressive pigment loss can be observed in places. Over the years, the spots increase in quantity and extent. Spontaneous repigmentation occurs extremely rarely. Drug repigmentation is not yet possible. Therefore the prognosis is negative.
Pigment disorders can either increase or decrease skin pigmentation. The pigment loss leads to whitish skin. This stands out clearly from the normally toned skin. The pigment growth leads to brownish patches of skin, which is often seen in older people. In itself, pigment disorders of the skin have no disease value. They are disorders that affect skin pigmentation. However, if the extent of pigmentation disorders is large, it can put a lot of mental strain on those affected. Better sun protection is usually necessary on depigmented skin.
Whether a pigment disorder can be prevented depends of course on the causes. In any case, frequent visits to the solarium and exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided. However, hereditary or hormonal factors cannot be counteracted, so that at most an improvement in the pigment disorder can be achieved through appropriate measures.
Follow-up care relates to serious illnesses. It takes place regularly in cancer, which can return after some time. A pigment disorder, on the other hand, is not a life-threatening disease. It is usually harmless and turns out to be more of a cosmetic problem.
If treatment takes place, it is usually outside the area for which the general practitioner is responsible. The patient can use cosmetics to conceal the spots. In drugstores and beauty salons he receives sufficient information. If drugs have been identified as the cause of a pigment disorder, it can be expected that they will subside after they are discontinued. In this case, too, there is no need for medical follow-up care.
However, it may take several months for the skin to regenerate. On the other hand, pigment disorders, which lead to psychological stress, require treatment. Those affected then avoid social contacts, which results in depression. Doctors usually opt for radiation, which can take several months.
The dermatologist will inform you about the number of treatment appointments. In principle, follow-up care also aims to prevent the recurrence of an illness. In the case of a pigment disorder, the patient bears sole responsibility for this. As part of the initial therapy, he is informed that he must avoid exposure to strong sunlight.
You can do that yourself
People with a pigment disorder often suffer from an optical defect. Although there are no physical impairments or complaints, a pigment disorder can lead to emotional and mental stress. It is therefore often felt to be helpful if the person concerned seeks help and support from people they trust to stabilize their psyche . Conversations with friends, relatives or psychotherapists can bring new perspectives or insights to the person concerned. An exchange in Internet forums or self-help groups can contribute to the development of well-being and give new impulses in daily dealing with the pigment disorder.
By wearing clothing that helps to cover up the skin abnormalities, the person affected can help themselves in everyday life. Accessories or fashionable clothing accessories can distract from the pigment disorder. This is perceived as a relief by many of those affected. If you have freckles or other unwanted skin changes on your face, you can cover them up with cosmetic products.
Despite the possibilities, it is important to strengthen your own self-confidence when dealing with the pigment disorder in everyday life. In the case of a lack of melanin, melanin formation can be stimulated with creams that contain enzyme extracts from milk flora or with the right diet. The consumption of gooseberries and licorice root has a stimulating effect on the organism and can be used by those affected.