What Causes My Skin To Lose Color?

What causes my skin to lose color? When asked this question, I was thinking “tanning.” That is what I write about! What a selfish reaction. I am glad I could not answer immediately. Because that answer would have been “stay out of the sun!”

So when the question arrived about, “What causes my skin to change color? What can I do? Why is my skin changing color”?

Helping treat your skin discoloration

There is a lot to think about with skin color change. Is this something that can happen to me? What skin tones are affected? What age person deals with losing their skin?

What Do You Mean “What Causes My Skin To Lose Color?”

Your skin color can start having white or light spots in it. Example of losing skin color. This usually begins slowly, as the cells that produce your skin color slowly die. They are not being replaced as they have been before.

This condition develops for about 1% or less of the world’s population. So while not exactly rare, many millions of people do have the condition. As the skin is turning lighter, it is not as obvious in people with lighter skin tones. They do have the condition in about the same ratio as people with darker tones.

Remember Michael Jackson’s skin color that changes in his young life? condition. His was apparent because he was a public figure and because his darker tone skin was in such contrast to the white patches.

Your Physican Is Important in Your Treatment Regimene.

We are all human in that we want to look like everyone else. This is true of anyone who has a medical disorder or condition that causes us to look different from our friends. This is not only important to teenagers, it is important to adults as well.

While this condition is considered incurable, treatment can help keep it from getting worse sometimes. However, there are some cases where this color loss is not helped with treatment. The treatments need to be done with and supervised by your physician.

The treatments that can prove successful by your Doctor have been imitated into products and appliances by non-medical people. As some of the products are successful for some, and not for others, you are wasting your money when you don’t know for sure that they will work for you.

Just A Warning

Get medical help before starting a procedure or treatment. The light treatment is especially troubling. The damage done to the skin when a procedure doesn’t work is often one that causes delayed results. Don’t do it until your doctor tells you to do so.

Most creams and bleaches will not cause too much damage but may be expensive and not work at all. It can take years of treatment to get this corrected.

Some people choose tattoos to cover vitiligo. This is also a drastic measure that you should reconsider. While tattoos are a quick fix, they are not as attractive in a few years. Not as attractive and yet, they are still there.

It Is Important To Understand What Is Happening To Your Skin When You Lose Color.

So, losing skin color is not limited to one race of people. Yes, this loss of skin color can be a sign something else is going on in your body. That is why it is important to see your doctor.

There are several conditions in which your skin can be losing color. This reason is what brings on the first suggestion of seeing your Doctor. Sometimes losing your skin color can be a warning for internal issues. Your health care facility is important in making the diagnosis.

I will admit that I am more familiar with what happens when you expose your skin to the sun. The sun will usually turn you to tan. If you are in the sun longer, your skin may turn red from sunburn. You will be pretty much the same color all over.

If you see your skin losing color, tanning will only make the dark darker. It will not even up your skin tones. The lighter will be subject to sunburn very quickly. This can lead to skin cancer just as quickly. The sun can and will do a lot of damage unless you protect your skin.

Serious skin health issues can arise from too much tan so this is not a way to help yourself when your skin loses color in patches.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common reason you might lose your skin color is a condition called Vitiligo. Check this link for a picture of an example of Vitiligo.

Facts About Skin Changing Color Conditions

Your skin can change color for several reasons. Not just with getting a suntan. There are medical conditions that cause your skin to change colors.

While most conditions are not actually curable, sometimes treatment can slow their progression. Sometimes the condition will reverse itself, or go away, but seldom does your skin color return to what it was.

This change in your skin color can often help your doctor diagnose other issues that need to be addressed in your body. But the color change is not always because you have underlying health issues.

Sometimes the color making cells in your skin just quit producing the melanin needed for skin color down in your skin.

Symptoms of The Most Common Cause For Your Skin Losing Its Color

One of the most common causes for skin to lose its color is called Vitiligo. Symptoms of this skin condition:

  • You will have a patchy loss of skin color: Usually color loss patchy places appear on your hands, face, and areas around your body openings and your genitals, first. Your mouth, nose, eyes or ears. Then on to the trunk of your body, your legs and arms.
  • Another sign of vitiligo is a premature whitening or graying of your hair on your head, maybe even your eyelashes, eyebrows or beard.
  • You may also notice a loss of color in the mucous membrane tissues that line the inside of your mouth and your nose.

Usually, vitiligo can start at any age, and normally makes itself known before age 30.

Vitiligo, A Common Discoloration Condition, Lets Review A Bit

Considered a common disorder, vitiligo is a bit scary at first. This skin condition affects between 1/2 percent and 1 percent of the population worldwide.

This condition is usually more noticeable in dark-tone skin. Darker tone skin lets the contrast of the white and dark patches show up more clearly. This fact alone makes it seem this is only a condition for the darker tone skin.

However, vitiligo develops just as often for all ethnic groups, and skin tones.

While the average age that the condition, vitiligo, occurs is before you are 30, it can appear at any age. This link shows Vitiligo on a hand

Vitiligo tends to progress over time, as larger areas of the skin lose pigment. Occasionally a person with vitiligo will also have patches of pigment loss that will affect the hair on their scalp as well as showing up in patches on their body.

Several forms of vitiligo have been identified and classified to try and help the ones who develop this skin condition. Having an identifying category can help your doctor in setting up treatment. Seeing your doctor when you notice any change can help slow the progression.

Early treatment is key.

Early Treatment Is Important

Like most conditions or problems with our health or body, the sooner we start corrective treatment or actions, the better. Vitiligo is no different. This is a condition that also affects your mental health and your self-image and all those things that rear their ugly heads when we realize we may look “different” from others.

With all these heavy loads to carry as well as learning to take care of our newly developing loss of skin color condition, early intervention is important.

Your friends and family may think that you are dealing with a contagious disease. This is not contagious. However, don’t ignore the condition. Early treatment is important.

Don’t be careless with your future. Embrace what is happening and keep yourself informed.

From my years of cosmetology, 37 1/2 years, in fact, no two heads of hair reacted the same to chemicals. It could be applying color or creating curl. Each head of hair was different. And one formula would work well for a while, then it changed. The hair was dryer, or greyer or whatever.

The same goes for your skin and your bodies system when you are treating for vitiligo. Unexpected changes could affect how your skin reacts. Know that you are doing what you can to control the change and contrast in your skin.

Yes, bleaching seems a faster route to color loss in your skin, but what is the formula doing to your skin?

Research Continues Into Vitilago

The most common form is the one that involves loss of skin color in patches all over your body.

The loss of skin color is also frequently seen in areas of your body that tend to experience rubbing, impact, or other trauma. Your hands, arms, and places where there is not a lot of flesh on your skeleton like knees, wrists or elbows. Your skin may lose its color in close together patches or scattered about on your body.

There is another form of vitiligo that is referred to as segmental vitiligo. In this form, usually, there are smaller patches of affected skin. Usually, when you have segmental vitiligo, the patches of skin that lose color appear on one side of the body in a limited area. This only happens in about 10 % of affected people.

An Autoimmune Disorder

Considered to be an autoimmune disorder, vitiligo is not easy to treat. Because autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system attacks your body’s own tissues and organs, many of the known treatments prove to be ineffective.

In people with vitiligo, your immune system appears to attack your pigment making cells (melanocytes) in your skin. Science is finding that only about 15 to 25 percent of those with vitiligo also have at least one other autoimmune disorder.

If you have thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes,  pernicious anaemia, Addison disease, or lupus, you may develop vitiligo.

If you have no other autoimmune conditions, vitiligo does not normally affect your general health or your ability for physical ability.

Mental Health Concerns Loss Of Skin Color

However, concerns about your appearance, or your ethnic identity become significant issues for many of the individuals who find themselves with vitiligo.

In the US over 3 million cases of vitiligo per year are diagnosed. Early treatment can sometimes help, but this condition is considered incurable.

We as individuals can help those with this condition with education. The person you see with this condition has enough self-doubts without feeling like a social outcast. Understanding and kindness are important.

This condition can last for a few years, or a lifetime. Remember, vitiligo is an immune system condition. Helping yourself with good health practices are suggested. Eating a healthy diet. Drinking enough water. Get enough sleep and exercise. All the suggestions for overall general good health.

When you have darker color skin this difference makes the contrast more noticeable. If you are from a part of the world where marriages are arranged, and you develop vitiligo when you are younger than the average 26 years old or so, it is difficult to marry. It can be difficult to stay married if you have already married when the condition develops.

There is little education for us about this skin disorder, and we have a lot to learn.

You can have a rich and fulfilling life even with vitiligo. However, often the fact that you look different is a stumbling block. This causes mental health issues for some. It is important to educate yourself about your disorder.

Vitiligo Is Not Contagious

You can not catch vitiligo. This condition is developed. Marrying someone with vitiligo will not make you at risk for the skin condition.

This shin condition should not be exposed to the sun. Your dark skin will get darker, but the light stays light and may be subject to sunburn very quickly. The contrast with tanned skin is more noticeable.

Since a person with this condition usually doesn’t feel sick unless they have issues that make them sick, going about a normal life is recommended.

Don’t allow others who in their lack of information may be uneasy around you to hold you back. As people learn more about this skin coloring condition, they will change.

Stay in charge of your mental health.

How Did I Get Vitiligo?

Science doesn’t know exactly why it happens. You develop vitiligo because you have lost some pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes in your skin.

Scientists think vitiligo is an autoimmune disease. Check out this information Science currently believes that the body’s immune system cells attack their own melanocytes. Genetics also play a role. Up to 20% of people with vitiligo have a relative with vitiligo. 

Scientists think that there are certain triggers that for some reason set off or flare vitiligo. The ones most responsible are:

  • Stress, real or percieved
  • Sunburn
  • Chemical exposures, any thing that affects your immune system
  • Mechanical trauma which is an injury to any portion of the body from a blow, crush, cut, or penetrating wound. The complications of mechanical trauma are usually related to fracture, hemorrhage, and infection.
  • Lasers and IPL treatment Get more information here.

Best Treatments For Vitiligo

There are many treatments that are available for treating vitiligo.

A dermatologist is the best person to guide you with treatment.

Be patient, it can take a long time to see results.

Some areas of the body, like the face, can re-pigment quickly.

Other parts of your body like the hands and feet are harder to treat.

Exposing your body to the sun after some of the treatments for vitiligo may not be the best way to go. You should always check to see how safe it is to use the product and go out in the sun.

Cancer Treatment Can Cause Skin Discoloration

Your skin can have some discolouration after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

You could also notice it after an allergic reaction to an injection. Or even as a side effect of pain medication. It is even possible that your skin can look bruised, red, or get darker. These changes usually go away after you have finished with treatment.


There is a group of skin conditions that causes inflammation. This inflammation can lead to dry and itchy patches of skin. The symptoms are different for everyone. The symptoms you could have include some brown, purple or grey patches if you have darker tone skin. When you have fairer skin, you may turn red or bright pink.


Rosacea causes discolouration on your cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead.

Instead of losing the pigment, Rosacea can look like extra color has been dumped on your skin. These areas can be pink or red. People with lighter skin, and those with a family history of rosacea tend to get the condition more often.

This condition can be treated, but often will return. The main issue here is the color change in your skin. That is what we are talking about here. The different things that can cause your skin to change color.

Often rosacea resembles an extreme blush. If a rash occurs, be sure and check with your dermatologist.

Tinea Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection. This infection affects your skin’s normal color, causing light or dark patches.

It happens when the fungus Malassezia grows out of control. Skin damage, along with heat and humidity, can cause the fungus to overgrow and lead to an infection.

Also, a round of antibiotics and a weak immune system might allow this fungus to set in. This condition usually appears on your shoulders, neck, and torso. But it can also affect your face.

You can’t spread tinea versicolor to others. Too much time in the sun could make it worse.

This condition may take many months to clear up, even after treatment. And it could come back during warm, humid weather. Seek help from your dermatologist should it come back.

Remember the warning of the sun making the condition worse. Stay out of the sun, and keep protected when you do have to be out in the sun.

Age Spots

As you get older, you may start to see these small, slightly darker spots on your skin.

My Mom and Grandmother also called these little things sunspots, liver spots and freckles.

Hands that are discolored from the sun

These spots will show up when your skin has been exposed to the sun a lot. Your face, the tops of your hands and feet, and your arms.

Age spots can be freckle-sized or larger. They are usually flat, oval-shaped, tan, or dark brown. Younger people can get them, but they usually start in older people, over 50. (I know that isn’t very old) I started getting my freckles by the age of 7.

This kind of discoloration is too common and will set the stage for skin cancer development. We must get over this careless mindset about protecting ourselves from the sun.

Sun Block Clothing can be a strong defence for your skin. Becoming aware of the ways you can protect your skin from the hours of exposure to using the tools we have for skin protection.

Learn How To Protect Your Skin
Sami’s Take On What Causes Skin To Lose Color?

With all we know, and the information that we have access to, it seems that we are still trying to figure out this business of skin losing its color.

Too much sun exposure continues to be a cause in so many of the conditions that involve the color of our skin. It is true that we are just beginning to find out what and why for so many skin conditions.

The sun is an extra danger for keeping your skin healthy. With some information and training, we will better prepare ourselves to take better care of our skin. This is the only skin you have.

The protection of your skin is something you can make a difference for. Small changes to protect your skin from the sun will pay off. We have sun blocking clothing, as well as sunscreens.

The dangers of the disappearing ozone and the dangers of the midday sun are real. The future of your skin condition is in your hands what will you do?

There is no one actually making you be careful. How do you want to spend your fun in the sun time? What can you do to protect your skin, and your families skin?

This is not the 1960’s when we were not as aware of the importance of good consistent skincare and protection.

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