What Causes Skin Discoloration? By Joseph M. Brown, MD, FACS on September 02, 2020

Several genetic conditions can cause noticeable skin discoloration. Vitiligo, eczema, and rosacea are just a few that you may have already seen or experienced yourself. However, we cannot ignore environmental factors when it comes to causes of skin discoloration. Even genetic conditions can be aggravated if steps aren’t taken to address nutrition, sun exposure, and potential allergens. For most people dealing with mild to moderate skin discoloration, paying attention to these factors is crucial.

For those without a genetic condition, skin discoloration starts long before its visible. The causes of skin discoloration are subtle. It begins when we ignore our parents shouting for us to put on more sunscreen. It starts when we forget to wash our faces after soccer practice, and it starts when we push our least favorite veggies around our plate until we can sneak them to the dog. UV protection, regular hygiene, and proper nutrition are three of the key factors that help maintain our skin’s health. Unfortunately, you may not realize your skin is damaged until you begin to see discoloration decades later.

Treating Skin Discoloration

If you are starting to notice patches of discoloration on your skin, your first step should contact a licensed dermatologist. During your appointment, your doctor will be able to professionally evaluate your skin and identify the cause of the discoloration. If the cause can be treated with at-home care, then your dermatologist will suggest a regimen that is most likely to work for you based on your skin’s specific needs.

If your dermatologist suggests brands that are currently out of your reach, then be honest. They can help you find a more reasonably priced product with the same or similar levels of the active ingredients that will help treat your skin. Consider a gentle cleanser and a hydrating moisturizer your first priority. Toners, chemical peels, masks, and serums certainly help, but cleanliness and hydration are key. For added benefit, ask for a moisturizer that contains sunscreen.

Turning Back the Clock

Once you know the causes of skin discoloration, you can work against them. A solid skincare routine can do a lot to dull the appearance of redness and dark spots over time, but it is unlikely to remove them. If you are looking for a dramatic change in your skin, you may need laser skin resurfacing. This treatment uses laser technology to remove redness and age spots while tightening skin to provide a more youthful look.

The treatment works by performing two simultaneous functions. At the skin’s uppermost level, the laser works to remove dead and damaged cells from the skin’s surface, bringing newer cells to the forefront.

Meanwhile, the laser is also heating the underlying layers of tissue, called the dermis. The heat produced by the laser stimulates collagen production. This gives your skin a youthful appearance by filling in problem areas where wrinkles have begun to set in.

Choosing Your Treatment

Now, the extent of your results will depend largely on the type of laser skin resurfacing treatment you decide to pursue. Based on your skin’s condition, your general health, and the level of natural pigmentation, your plastic surgeon will recommend the treatment that is best suited to your needs. For deeper wrinkles, Dr. Brown may suggest deep laser skin resurfacing in Tampa. However, if you’re simply looking to address sun damage and acne spots, a MicroLaser Peel or NanoLaser Peel may suffice.

Although all of these treatments feature limited risks and minimal downtime, you will see some variation in pre and post-op care based on the option you choose. Before undergoing the procedure, make sure to fully understand what your cosmetic surgeon in Tampa requires from you. Keeping detailed information on what to expect and following their instructions carefully will ensure you get the most from your laser skin resurfacing treatment.

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Dr. Joseph Brown

Plastic Surgery

A board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Joseph M. Brown strives to provide patients with transformative, yet natural results in a safe and comfortable environment. When you choose him as your provider, he will develop a patient-doctor relationship based on honesty, trust, and a clear understanding of a common goal. He is affiliated with organizations such as the:

  • American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
  • Florida Medical Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American College of Surgeons

To get started, request an appointment using our form or call (813) 258-2425.

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