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What are skin pigment disorders?
Skin color is determined by a pigment known as melanin that's made by specialized cells in the skin, called melanocytes. The amount and type of melanin determines a person's skin color.
What is the function of melanin?
Melanin gives color to the skin, hair and iris of the eyes. Levels of melanin depend on several factors, including race and hormonal changes. Melanin also protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, so production increases with exposure to sunlight.
What are the different types of skin pigment disorders?
This rare, inherited disorder is characterized by a total or partial lack of melanin in the skin, compared to the pigmentation of siblings and parents.
Pigment loss after skin damage
Sometimes, following an ulcer, blister, burn or infection, the skin does not replace some of the pigment in that area. No treatment is necessary, and cosmetics can usually cover up the blemish.
Vitiligo is characterized by smooth, white patches in the skin. It is caused by the loss of melanocytes, or pigment-producing skin cells. The white patches are very sensitive to the sun.
There is no cure currently available for vitiligo. Treatment may include covering smaller patches with long-lasting dyes and light-sensitive drugs, in addition to ultraviolet A light therapy.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”