What Are the Causes of African American Skin Discolorations?


Quick Answer

There are a variety of reasons why dark skin may become discolored, ranging from perfectly benign skin dryness to possibly dangerous cancerous melanoma, so those who are experiencing skin discoloration may want to see a dermatologist or other knowledgeable doctor who can accurately diagnose the problem and prescribe proper treatment. One easily solved cause of discoloration in dark skin is dryness, which leads to a gray, flaky appearance that is known as "ashy" skin; this issue can be solved with the application of moisturizing products like lotion or cocoa butter. More serious discoloration typically has a more dramatic appearance than mere ashiness.

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Full Answer

One skin condition that affects individuals with dark skin is vitiligo, which causes the skin to lighten in patches due to the loss of functional skin pigmentation. While people with all skin tones including very light skin can suffer from vitiligo, it is much more apparent and dramatic in individuals with dark skin due to the contrast of healthy dark skin with the lightened skin that happens as a result of vitiligo.

Another skin condition that can happen to all people regardless of race and skin color is postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is the technical term for the skin discoloration that comes about as the result of scarring.

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