What Causes Skin Pigmentation and Discoloration

Skin Pigmentation and Discoloration
Skin Pigmentation and Discoloration

Of the most common skin conditions today is Vitiligo. This is a condition that causes the skin to lose color in patches. These discolored areas usually get more significant with time, affecting any part of the body. The inside of your mouth isn’t spared from skin discoloration, and neither is your hair. The discoloration occurs when cells that produce melanin stop functioning. The leading causes of this happening are stress and immune system disorders.


Anyone can experience this condition at any age. Usually, however, it appears before you’re 30 years old. After, chances of experiencing skin pigmentation are pretty low. Some of the most commons symptoms of skin discoloration include

Premature greying of the hair – This can be eyelashes, beard, or the greying of hair on your scalp.

Color loss in tissues – When tissues in your mouth and nose start losing color, it may be a sign of Vitiligo.

Loss of skin color – The main sign of skin pigmentation is the loss of color on parts of the skin. Usually, it can first appear on the facial areas, areas around the body opening, and genitals.

Body Parts Likely to be Affected

Most parts of the body can be affected by Vitiligo, depending on how far it has spread from the time it started. Here are a few parts of the body that are likely to be affected when Vitiligo happens:

Most Parts of the Body – The most common type of skin discoloration happens on all parts of the body. These are usually patches that often progress symmetrically on all aspects.

One Side of the Body – There’s one that usually occurs at a tender age. It usually progresses for two years, at most, then stops.

The Face and Hands – This is acrofacial, which usually affects only the face and the hands. It can also affect various body openings like ears, eyes, and nose.

Almost all Skin Surfaces – Universal Vitiligo is the discoloration that can affect virtually all skin surfaces.

A Few Areas of the Body – Focal or localized vitiligo affects only a small body part.


As stated before, skin discoloration happens when cells that produce melanin die. These cells are pigment-producing cells or melanocytes, and they can be reduced or permanently treated with laser pigmentation removal. There are around three leading causes of skin discoloration. Below, the three causes of skin pigmentation are broken down.

Family History – The first cause of skin discoloration is heredity. If a parent or a close family member has experienced Vitiligo, then high chances you may too.


A trigger is several triggers that can cause skin pigmentation, such as severe sunburn, stress, and skin trauma.

Autoimmune – This is a rare immune system disorder that can also cause skin discoloration.

Complications of Vitiligo

Though skin discoloration may not be fatal, several complications can arise from it, such as:

  • Eye conditions
  • Loss of hearing
  • Sunburn
  • Social distress


Skin discoloration may occur due to several reasons, and here are the leading causes. The symptoms and some of the complications that may arise from Vitiligo can also be seen. There’s no cause for alarm, though, as it’s not a fatal or contagious condition.