Causes of skin discoloration Discolored skin patches are irregular areas on the body with changes in the skin color. A common problem, discolored skin patches have a plethora of potential causes. Some of the more common causes of skin discoloration are illness, inflammatory problems, and injury. Commonly, discolored skin patches develop in a certain part of the body because of a difference in the melanin levels. A substance that provides color to the skin, melanin also protects the skin from the sun. Overproduction of melanin in a certain area can result in skin discoloration there. Causes Birthmarks– Birthmarks are discolored patches on the skin that people have when they are born. Some forms of birthmark fade over time while others may be permanent. Vascular birthmarks are red, and they occur because of abnormal blood vessels in the skin. The different types of vascular birthmark are strawberry nevus, a port wine stain, and salmon patch. Generally, pigmented birthmarks are white, gray, brown, or blue. They are caused by a problem with the melanin in the skin. The different types of pigmented birthmark are Mongolian blue spots, Café-au-lait spots, and moles. Skin pigmentation disorders– Skin pigmentation disorder may cause lighter or darker skin patches. Melasma is a type of skin pigmentation disorder. It usually affects the facial skin and causes brown patches. More women than men are affected by melasma. Sun exposure and hormonal changes are common triggers for this skin condition. Vitiligo can affect any part of the body. It causes the melanocytes, cells that produce melanin, to stop functioning correctly, which leads to patches of lighter skin. Sometimes, vitiligo will also change the color of an individual’s hair. The exact cause for this health condition is unknown, but it is believed that a problem in the immune system may be responsible. Additionally, other skin pigmentation disorders that may result in discolored skin are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation or albinism. Skin rashes– Certain types of skin rash can also cause discolored patches of skin. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition. It can cause raised red skin patches and pus-filled lesions. Typically, it affects the forehead, nose, and cheeks. Psoriasis is a skin condition that leads to silvery red, crust, and flaky patches of skin. These patches can appear anywhere on the body. It is believed by doctors that psoriasis may result from an issue with the immune system. Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin reacts to an irritant or an allergen. Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a condition that causes red skin patches that are also itchy, cracked, and dry. Sometimes these skin patches may ooze and then form a crust. The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unclear, but it seems to run in families and is more common in people suffering from asthma, hay fever, and other allergies.
Skin infections– Some skin infections may also cause skin discoloration. Tinea versicolor is a fungal skin infection, and it can cause skin patches to become lighter or darker. These skin patches usually develop slowly and sometimes they can merge to form larger patches. This infection tends to affect the trunk, the upper arms, and the neck. Tinea, also known as ringworm, is a fungal skin infection that causes red or silver ring-shaped skin patches. These patches may be scaly, itchy, or dry. Ringworm can appear on most body parts, including the scalp, nails groin, hands, and feet. Candidiasis of the skin is a type of fungal infection that causes red and itchy patches of skin. Often, it occurs in areas where the skin folds like the armpits and groin. Other causes– Some other causes of discoloration include skin cancers, medical conditions, blushing, exercising, sunburn, dehydration, cold weather conditions, nausea, and low blood sugar.