Dark pigmentation due to…
- Solar lentigo (liver spots)
Dark pigmentation of the skin may involve small areas or may be widespread, depending on its many different causes.
Some causes of dark pigmentation:
In all of these cases, camouflage cream can hide the colour of the injured skin and match it to the colour of the normal surrounding skin with excellent results.
- Injuries such as minor burns, cuts, grazes, bruises and sunburn, may leave persistent dark marks especially in people with darker skin (more severe injury to the skin causes scarring - see scarring section below). Persistent and repeated bruises following very trivial injury may appear particularly in the skin of the forearms in the elderly and in people whose skin has been weakened by overuse of potent cortisone (steroid) creams. Bruising of the face and body following accidental injury or surgery can be hidden with camouflage cream until such time as the bruising clears.
Skin conditions such as:
Skin conditions of many types can caused dark marks. Sometimes the dark marks are left behind after the condition clears, and in these cases the marks are usually more severe and persistent in people with darker skin.
- Acne is one of the commonest causes of dark pigmentation which remains behind once the active spots have cleared. Acne is a disorder of the oil glands of the skin and typically starts around puberty. It causes pimples affecting mainly the face and trunk and usually clears up in the twenties although it may go on for much longer in some people. The severity of acne is highly variable. Milder forms can leave dark pigmented patches while more severe forms cause scarring (see scarring section below).
- Eczema is also called dermatitis by U.K. dermatologists and includes a group of different disorders. The mildest forms simply cause minor redness, dryness and itching, while more severe types cause weeping of the skin. Eczema/dermatitis may affect only small areas of the skin or may be widely spread over the body, depending on the cause. It may leave dark marks behind after the condition has cleared.
- Atopic eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is one of the commonest forms. It usually starts in infancy and may continue until the teens or early twenties, sometimes later. It is thought to be an allergy (for example to house dust mite) but doctors find it difficult to be sure about this. It may be very troublesome. The skin is red, dry and very itchy, and scratching may cause weeping and bleeding. It may affect any part of the skin, most commonly the face and the folds in front of the elbows and behind the knees. The condition usually runs in families and the children and young people who suffer from it often also have asthma and/or hayfever.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a completely different type of eczema/dermatitis, caused by allergy to well-defined chemicals that come into contact with the skin. Its pattern varies according to the nature of the chemical and where it comes into contact with the skin. A very large range of chemicals can cause allergic contact dermatitis, one of the commonest being nickel found in jewellery, metal buttons, buckles, coins and other metal objects. Ingredients of cosmetics and fragrances are well recognised causes. The diagnosis is confirmed by a process called ‘patch testing’, where a range of different chemicals is applied to the skin of the back under special plasters. Patch testing itself may leave pigmented marks on the back.
Varicose eczema, also called stasis dermatitis, occurs on the lower legs of adults withvaricose veins. The skin of the affected lower leg becomes unhealthy because the blood flow through the skin is sluggish. Redness and scaling occur above and around the ankle, and dark pigmentation can be left behind after the process clears. Varicose veins can also cause leakage of tiny amounts of blood into the skin around and above the ankle, causing dark marks without prior eczema.
- Psoriasis is a common, usually non-itchy skin disorder of unknown cause, occurring for the first time at any age, although usually not in very young children. Sometimes it runs in families. Once it has started, it often comes and goes over a lifetime. It produces red, scaling patches of variable size that may be minimal and not very troublesome, but it may be very widespread and cause major difficulties. It affects any area of the skin, but particularly the scalp, elbows and knees. Long-lasting dark marks may be left behind once the patches of psoriasis have cleared.
- Melasma, also called chloasma, occurs quite often in women who are pregnant or on the oral contraceptive, but also in perfectly healthy women who are neither pregnant nor on the pill. It may occur in men, but less often. It consists of brownish patches almost always on sun-exposed areas, especially the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and/or chin. There is no rash, only the appearance of brownish patches of variable severity. It is commoner and more pronounced in people with darker skin.
- Solar lentigo, also sometimes called liver spots. These have nothing to do with the liver, are the result of sun damage to the skin, and occur most often in older people with fair skin. The lentigo patches look like large, brown freckles and occur on sun-exposed sites such as the backs of the hands, outer forearms and face.
Please note that doctors recommend that people with such freckles should receive medical attention to ensure that there is no risk of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer that can appear as a dark, freckle-like mark.
As indicated above, camouflage cream is ideal to mask the dark pigmentation of the skin and can match the colour of the masked areas with that of the normal surrounding skin.