What is Hypopigmentation?

Hypopigmentation occurs when there are not normal amounts of melanin in the body. Melanin is the chemical that gives skin its colouring. Hypopigmentation is caused by disease, illness, burns, injury, and trauma to the skin. Hypopigmentation is referred to as loss of skin colouring, and can be known as skin depigmentation. Anyone can have hypopigmentation, however, it is more common in those with darker skin tones.

What causes Hypopigmentation?

Hypopigmentation is most commonly caused by an injury to the skin. Pimples, blisters, chickenpox, and scrapes, as well as improperly administered skin treatments (laser peels, chemical peels, and other treatments) can also lead to hypopigmentation. Other causes of hypopigmentation include albinism (colourless hair, skin and eyes due to skin cells that produce very little or no melanin), seborrheic dermatitis (an inflammatory skin disease in which the skin is covered with itchy, red, scaly patches where the skin tends to be oily), Vitiligo (patchy loss of skin colour due to melanin skin cells dying or stopping production due to an unknown causes), pityriasis alba (colourless, patchy skin that effects mainly children), and tinea versicolor (yeast infections with scaly, itchy patches of skin that is light or pink in color). Other conditions that are associated with hypopigmentation include leprosy, leucsim, Angelman syndrome, and idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis.

What are Hypopigmentation Symptoms?

Signs that one has hypopigmentation include one or multiple areas of white or lighter areas on the skin. They can be any shape and size that depends upon what effect caused the hypopigmentation. Should you feel that you have hypopigmentation, you will want to stop the use of any products that contain benzoyl peroxide or strong cortisone. Medical attention will be needed if multiple lighter spots are left on the skin, if there is no known cause for injury to the skin and it is producing lighter spots, or if there is an area on the skin that is light that is going numb or has lost feeling.

Hypopigmentation Treatments

There are a variety of treatments for hypopigmentation. There are many topical creams that can be prescribed. These may include Hydroquinone or TriLuma. These will bleach the skin so the hypopigmentation is easily blended into the skin. If hypopigmentation effects over half the body, depigmentation of the entire body could be used effectively. Some hypopigmentation is unresponsive to medications, so camouflaging the area with a permanent makeup could be an option. Treatments that have been used by skin specialist successfully to treat hypopigmentation include IPL (intense pulsed light) and the Fraxel laser. Microdermabrasion or chemical peels will treat hypopigmentation. Just look for a skin specialist that was trained properly to perform any procedure to reduce the risk of having a procedure administered improperly. At Advanced Dermatology medical clinic located in Sydney we offer a range of treatments that can help with Hypopigmentation, for more information please contact us or call us directly on 1300 788 800.

There are some at home remedies that may assist with easing the symptoms of hypopigmentation include the use of fresh ginger. Simply take a small piece of fresh ginger and dab it on the area of skin that has hypopigmentation. Do not rinse this off. Do this twice a day. It will take time to work but within a few months, scars will have faded away completely. This has not been tested by our skin specialists and we recommend other treatments for hypopigmentation.

How to prevent Hypopigmentation?

There is not a way to prevent hypopigmentation but one can take preventative measures.  Always take good care of the skin, making sure to wash it on a regular basis, as well as exfoliate and moisturise. Treat acne and other skin issues right away, and use a high quality sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.

9 replies
  1. Rach
    Rach says:

    I have tinea versicolor. It occurs on areas that are oily on the skin, such as the chest, back, and upper arms. Mine happens to be on my back. Many do not realize this but the spots can be either lighter or darker than the skin tone. Mine, happens to be lighter. The spots are small and oval shaped that form over a period of time. I have had it for a while now, and at first my doctor was a bit puzzled as to what it was. I was referred to my dermatologist where we figured out the condition through exams and questions, and are on the path to creating a plan to treat it.

  2. researchGeek
    researchGeek says:

    I am going to add a few more causes for hypopigmentation. Those include a family history of pigmentation issues, fungal infections on the skin, an overgrowth of bacteria on the skin, fluctuations in hormone levels, an appearance of a rash, exposure that is excessive to heavy metals, heat or radiation, and sunburn. Many do not even realize that applying sunscreen unevenly could be a cause for hypopigmentation.

  3. olly
    olly says:

    I have done a chemical peel before for my hypopigmentation and loved the results that it gave me. I made sure that my dermatologist was well trained and asked all sorts of questions before he did the procedure. I just wanted to make sure that he was not going to do more damage to my skin. But as it turns out, the procedure really helped me out greatly. The chemical peel helped to neutralize my skin so the lightened patches were not able to stand out like they might have otherwise. I have never thought about using a self tanner before, but that is a great idea. I think that I might see about getting one of those spray on tans. Granted the chemical peel helped quite a bit but I still have some areas that I would like to downplay.

    • Sonie
      Sonie says:

      What chemical peel was if you had? I used a cream called melderm for a few weeks then stoppped using it and went to Bali, when I came back I started using it again and ended up burning me around the chin and giving hypo pigmentation lines down my nose.

  4. grace
    grace says:

    I am very leery about bleaching my skin. One thing that comes to mind is Michael Jackson. I am not sure what skin condition he had but his skin just did not look natural to me at all and I would hate for my skin to wind up that way. I have hypopigmentation on my arms. They have huge white spots all over them. I am darker in skin tone, so it is quite noticeable. I am very self conscious in a tank top, swim suit or anything that shows off all of my arms. Would it be possible for me to get a chemical peel or microdermabrasion done on my arms to help me? I have only heard about skin bleaching creams and really am not a fan of going that route.

  5. go natural
    go natural says:

    I have suffered from hypopigmentation before. Luckily for me it was only on my hands and was not a huge area. I tried ginger after a friend recommended it to me. I applied it faithfully everyday for a month, twice a day, even sometimes three times a day. Like it said, do not wash it off. It needs the time to sink into the skin. It really did work for me. I was skeptical of a home remedy that was as simple as that. But I am amazed at how well it did for me. It was safe and natural and did not cost a lot. I do recommend this to those that do not want to have to spend a lot of money, or those that like all natural ways.

    • Ahmed
      Ahmed says:

      Hey did your skin color actually went back to normal. Because I’m dark in color and i sustained mine on my head i will like it to go back black

  6. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    I’ve developed hypopigmentation on my chin and forehead after having tea cross done for acne scars! I’ve tried everything to blend it in and for a while laser and lightning my skin works but eventually my skin gets darker again and the white stands out! I’m naturally pretty light but I suffer from rosacha and red next to white is so noticeable! I’m depressed everyday about it and I don’t know what else to do! I’ve thought about skin camouflage permanent makeup but I’ve been told twice I’m not a good candidate. At this point I feel so defeated and more depressed! What else can I do at this point?

  7. GG
    GG says:

    My daughter acquired severe hypopigmentation from a horrible reaction to the sun, chlorine exposure, and apparently an infection from the Epstein Barr virus. It was the most bizarre thing. That combination occurring at the same time caused a horrible skin rash all throughout her body (face, arms, legs, back). When the rash cleared it left her with hypopigmentation – basically white spots everywhere (her complexion is tanned/medium dark skin). I feared it would be permanent but was told by dermatologists that this post inflammatory hypopigmentation would resolve on its own. Thankfully it did, but it took about 7 months for her skin to go back to normal again. I remember researching like crazy trying to find more information on how long it would take to resolve and if it would ever resolve. If you are on the same boat, just know that it will get better and will resolve in a number of months. Her condition was quite severe and I’m so glad that this problem is behind us now. We initially covered her skin up and tried to minimize sun exposure. We then gradually started introducing the sun again and her skin reacted well and started to tan again. Eventually the tan evened out and the white spots gradually went away. Phew!


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