Friday, March 14

Hypopigmentation on face

Hypopigmentation on face occurs due to several skin problems. In hypopigmentation the function of melanin production by the melanocytes is reduced or lost.
Depending upon the type of skin disorder, hypopigmentation may be total, partial or localized. Hypopigmentation on face may be harmless as in the case of pityriasis alba. However many hypopigmentation lesions may be due to severe underlying health problem. They require immediate medical attention as in the case of Alezzandrini syndrome.

Alezzandrini syndrome

Alezzandrini syndrome is a rare progressive unilateral degenerating syndrome in which vision and hearing on one side of the face get impaired. There is degenerative retinitis and deafness. Hypopigmentation patches of skin and patches of white hair appear on the affected side of the face.

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis is an idiopathic disorder of unknown cause. It is characterized by small drop-like (guttate) hypopigmentation spots. The small lesions measuring up to 10 mm in diameter usually occur on the forearm and shin. Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis is also found to form on other sun-exposed parts of the body such as neck, shoulders and face. The hypopigmentation spots are found to affect more women than men.

Nevus anemicus

Nevus anemicus is a congenital disorder with characteristic white macules appearing on the trunk. These hypopigmentation like lesions may also appear on the face. The macules do not redden on rubbing when compared to the surrounding skin. This due to permanent constriction of blood vessels in the area giving rise to blanched hypopigmentation like appearance.

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Nevus depigmentosus is characterized by pale lesions on the body and in many cases they may be present at the time of birth. They are not progressive and grow in proportion to the body growth. The cause of nevus depigmentosus may be due to functional abnormalities of melanocytes in the lesions. The melanocytes fail to produce skin pigment. These pale hypopigmentation lesions are prone to sunburn and proper sun protection may be required.


Piebaldism is a rare genetic disorder. It is an autosomal dominant condition affecting melanin production in patches. Piebaldism is characterized by the presence of a congenital white hypopigmentation forelock. There is also hypopigmentation patches scattered on the face and forehead. Unlike albinism, the vision of the affected person is normal. Though the cells have the ability to produce skin pigment, the function appears to have been blocked.

Pityriasis alba is characterized by the appearance of dry scaly hypopigmentation macules, especially on the face. Young children, mostly boys are affected. The cause is unknown. No treatment is required and the patches resolve over some period of time. Moisturizers and cosmetic camouflage may be applied on the face for reassuring the youngsters.


Poliosis is due to decrease in the skin melanin in patches in head hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. The affected person is otherwise normal. however most of the patients with Waardenburg syndrome, Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada syndrome or tuberous sclerosis develop these hypopigmentation patches.

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Like post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, post inflammatory hypopigmentation may also occur in the areas of face affected by injuries, cuts, burns and acne. Usually the normal pigmentation is restored after sometime when the damage is superficial. No specific treatment is required. If the injuries are deeper the hypopigmentation spots my acquire hyperpigmentation.

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection caused by the Malassezia globosa fungus and also to a lesser extent by Malassezia furfur fungus. The infection is more common in humid hot climate. The macules are differently colored. In persons with darker skin tone the patches may appear as hypopigmentation. Itching may be associated with the condition, getting aggravated by heat and sweating. Apart from the body, the macules affect the oily skin on the face. forehead, nose and cheeks.

Vitiligo disease is characterized by the appearance of hypopigmentation patches on the extremities as well as on face. Non-segmental vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune disorder wherein immune attacks on melanocytes cause these white patches of skin. Segmental vitiligo is associated with dorsal roots from the spine and is often unilateral. Generalized Vitiligo is the most common with widely distributed areas of depigmentation. In universal Vitiligo (vitiligo universalis) hypopigmentation is almost complete, including the face.


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Hypopigmentation on face

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