|Photo courtesy of MEDICAL NEWS TODAY Opens in new window|
Hypopigmentation is the outcome of decreased pigmentation resulting in lightening of the skin that may be caused by a lack of pigment cells in an area of skin, or because the skin has too few melanin-producing cells.
Disorders of congenital hypopigmentation due to abnormal formation of melanin-producing cells include tuberous sclerosis Opens in new window, hypomelanosis of Ito Opens in new window, nevus depigmentosus Opens in new window, vitiligo Opens in new window, and Chediak-Higashi syndrome Opens in new window.
Oculocutaneous albinism Opens in new window is a congenital hypopigmentation due to problems with the synthesis of melanin Opens in new window. Tinea versicolor Opens in new window is an example of an acquired case of hypopigmentation caused by decreased synthersis of melanin.
Pityriasis alba Opens in new window is an acquired type of hypopigmentation caused by the decreased transfer of melanin-producing cells.
Hypopigmentation also may follow an infection or inflammation. Many infectious and inflammatory skin disorders fade away while leaving hypopigmented macules and patches in the distribution and pattern of the original skin lesion.
Dark skin that has been injured often exhibits hypopigmentation, but the phenomenon occurs among all racial and ethnic groups—the more common disorders that produce post-inflammatory hypopigmentation include psoriasis, eczematous dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, tinea versicolor, chicken pox, syphilis, lichen planus, pityriasis rosea, pityriasis lichenoides chronic, and lichen striatus.
Drugs also can cause hypopigmentation. Choloroquine may cause hypopigmentation of the skin or bleaching of the hair; cosmetics and skin bleaches often available without prescription may cause hypopigmentation.
- Adapted from The Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects By James Wynbrandt, Mark D. Ludman