Depigmentation is the lightening of the skin or loss of pigment. It can be caused by a number of local and systemic conditions. The pigment loss can be
1. Partial from injury to the skin
2. Complete, which may be caused by vitiligo.
3. Temporary from tinea versicolor ( fungal infection of the skin)
4. Permanent from albinism.
The main symptom of skin depigmentation is white spots and/or white patches all over the skin. These appear like milky white patches on the skin. Other less common signs may include premature whitening or graying of hair on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard.
Areas commonly affected:
These include armpits, genitals, groin, fingers, area around the mouth and eyes.
When the disease is of limited scale, topical treatments can be used but when a large surface of the body is affected, ultraviolet light (UV) therapy is recommended alone or in combination with topical treatments.
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Complications of skin depigmentation:
People with skin depigmentation may be at an increased risk of eye problems such as inflammation of the iris and hearing loss; they may also suffer from side effects of treatment, including dry skin and itching, sunburn and skin cancer, low self-esteem, low self-confidence and social and/or psychological distress.
Things to avoid:
1. Intense sunlight. Do not stay out in the sun for long because it may cause more discolouration.
2. Keep off sour juices. They tend to shift the pH of the body to acidic. Increase your intake of alkaline-based foods, which help in melanin production.
3. Avoid sea foods that contain contaminants such as mercury which aggravate the condition.