We’ve had many comments and queries and concerns with regard to skin pigmentation. Women are often affected by pigments problems during pregnancy and we’ve had some questions come in with regard to that and what should you do. So, the pigment problem that occurs in pregnancy, it looks a bit like you’ve smudged your make up. You can get pigmented patches on the chin, on the cheeks and on the forehead. The good news is the generally tend to resolve once your pregnancy has been completed and interestingly this is also a common problem with people who take the contraceptive pill. Again, it tends to disappear if you come off the contraceptive pill or you change the pill.
Many of you have posed questions about white patches on your skin where it looks like the brown pigment has simply disappeared and we sometimes see this in a condition called vitiligo where your body actually rejects the melanin, the dark pigment in your skin. It can be associated with other conditions like thyroid problems or pernicious anaemia. So it’s what we think is an auto-immune condition where you’re literally rejecting your dark skin cells.
We’ve had lots of questions from people with darker skin who are worried about pigment patches and this is a particularly problematic area for ladies. One thing I would say to you is, just because your skin is darker, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear sun block. Sun block is very, very good in preventing the sun rays aggravating pigmented patches. It’s also very important to keep your skin well moisturised. In addition to that, if you have to apply any creams and things to your skin, make sure if your are applying something say like a steroid cream or a scented body cream that you minimise the use, because very often these again will encourage pigmentation.
Sometimes pigmented patches crop up all over the body and they can even look like patches of dirt and these very often occur in areas where you have had previous inflammation. We call this, very fancy word, post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Basically means that the skin that has emerged after you’ve had the inflammation or the infection has come back a little bit darker. So be really, really careful not to pick or scratch particularly in the face area if you are vulnerable to excess pigment.
So, what are your options if you’ve got hyper-pigmentation? Well, the first thing I would say is go and see your GP. Bypass the internet, go and see your doctor. There are things available on prescription that may help to lighten your skin pigment. In addition to this you GP may be able to refer you for camouflage make-up which works really, really well and gives you an excellent cosmetic result in terms of hiding the pigment. And finally, there’s laser treatment which, although it’s not widely available on the NHS, you may be able to self fund and it has very favourable results when it comes to reducing pigment.
And if you’re worried about rashes or skin problems why not check out the Embarrassing Bodies rashes and skin problems My VideoDoctor.
Doctor Responses: Skin Pigmentation
Dr Pixie has scoured the Embarrassing Bodies website to find the most commonly asked questions around skin pigmentation issues. In this short, snappy video she answers your FAQs on the subject.
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