Vitiligo is a disease where the immune system turns against itself (autoimmune disease) where immune cells of the body attack the color-producing (pigment-producing) cells to cause white patches on the skin, which may contain hairs that are white in color. It may be seen with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, alopecia areata, diabetes mellitus, Addison disease, and myasthenia gravis. The way that vitiligo progresses varies greatly; it may remain in the area where it started (localized) or it may become more widespread.
A Wood's lamp is a device that emits ultraviolet (UV) light in the 365 nanometer range and is commonly used by dermatologists to assist in the diagnosis of various pigment and infectious disorders. The examination is performed in a dark room, allowing the Wood's light to shine directly on the affected area for a few seconds and looking for any changes in color or fluorescence. Normal skin does not fluoresce under the light of a Wood's lamp. If a fungal or bacterial infection or pigment disorder is present, Wood's lamp examination can strengthen or lessen the suspicion of a particular diagnosis, based on the color of fluorescence of the affected skin being illuminated. In addition, subtle changes in color may be detected as well.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition resulting in hair loss. The immune system of the body mistakenly stops hair growth for unknown reasons. Hair loss may be patchy or sparse and may involve the rest of the body in addition to the scalp. Hair in most people spontaneously regrows, though recurrences of the condition are also typical. Genetic and environmental factors play a role in hair loss; the condition may be seasonal as well.
Phototherapy uses ultraviolet (UV) light under medical supervision to treat certain skin diseases. Depending on the skin disorder being treated, phototherapy is delivered for several seconds to minutes per session, usually 2–3 times per week. Phototherapy is predominantly an office-based procedure, but home treatment regimens with portable light boxes can also be prescribed to carefully selected patients. Phototherapy can be used alone or in combination with topical or systemic medications, depending on the indications. Common types of UV light treatment include:Broadband UVB light therapy (280–320 nanometer wavelengths) Narrow band UVB light treatments (311 nanometer wavelength only) UVA light therapy (320–400 nanometer wavelengths of light) PUVA (320–400 nanometer wavelengths of light). This is UVA light therapy combined with an oral light-sensitizing medication known as psoralen.
As summer tans fade, we may see remnants on our skin of those happy hours spent in the sun. That is because the cells (melanocytes) that produce skin tone or pigment (melanin) are stimulated by sun exposure to produce more melanin. Excess melanin can cause visibly uneven areas of darker skin, a condition called hyperpigmentation. Conversely, other areas may lose melanin, resulting in pale or white spots, a condition called hypopigmentation.
The variations in skin color and tone we see across the human race is limitless. This amazing diversity is determined by the amount of pigment known as melanin, which is produced by specialized pigment-forming skin cells called melanocytes. Vitiligo is a skin condition caused by the destruction of melanocytes. It can affect any location on the body, and it manifests as a conspicuous white patch or patches. Although vitiligo affects all ethnicities equally, it is most noticeable in patients with darker skin. Entertainer Michael Jackson was perhaps the most famous sufferer of vitiligo.
What is melanin you ask? Well, melanin is the substance that gives color to your hair, eyes, and skin. The summer is a great time to celebrate skin health, especially since we show it off more now than in other months. Although all skin types can be troubled with the same skin health issues, some conditions occur more often and/or are more difficult to diagnose in individuals with darker skin. These conditions include: melasma, vitiligo, keloids, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Famous people are immune from jail time, financial woes, and thanks to graphic designers, bad looking skin. They may look like they have flawless skin, but underneath all those Photoshop layers are some common conditions that can affect anyone. Read on to see some notable people and airbrush-free images of skin diseases they have dealt with.
Skin color is determined by cells called melanocytes that produce a pigment known as melanin. The variation in skin color we observe in people around the globe is determined by the type and amount of melanin produced by melanocytes. A recent theory suggests that differences in skin color are a function of the skin’s ability to protect against ultraviolet radiation. Persons living closer to the equator produce more melanin because the ultraviolet radiation is more intense, and people living further away from the equator produce less melanin, resulting in lighter skin color.
Q: Can hypopigmentation on the arms that has been present for about 10 years still leave one’s skin? A: Hypopigmentation is the loss of color in the skin, and the contrast of the light spots is especially more noticeable after months in the summer sun, when the rest of your skin may be darker. If your pale spots have not changed in size over 10 years and are small, it is probably a common and benign condition that is actually a type of scarring, and which is not likely to disappear without treatment.
In part one of the series, we looked at melanin and skin coloration, as well as several conditions common in skin of color. As we discussed, melanin is the substance that gives color to your hair, eyes, and skin.