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Skin Discoloration Basics

Skin Discoloration Treatments

How you treat your skin discoloration depends on the cause, but a variety of options are available to you.

For incurable but benign conditions, such as vitiligo, age spots and birthmarks, you can use cosmetics to help conceal any imperfections that bother you.

Depending on your skin condition, an array of medications is available, ranging from creams to oral medications. For age spots, you might be satisfied with over-the-counter bleaching creams, but with a condition such as tinea versicolor, you might need to take a prescription oral or topical antifungal medication [source: Mayo Clinic]. Talk to your doctor about whether you need a prescription or an over-the-counter remedy.

Resurfacing procedures include processes, such as chemical peels, laser surgeries and microdermabrasion, that remove surface layers of skin and allow new skin to grow. Keep in mind that some of these procedures, such as certain types of laser surgeries, can require repeated applications for results [source: American Society for Dermatologic Surgery].

Freezing a spot on the skin through cryotherapy can destroy pigment and then cause new skin to grow back, which tends to appear lighter. This treatment is often used for some types of skin cancer removal, but it also can be used for warts and age spots [source: American Academy of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic].

Surgical options are available for some skin discoloration conditions. In skin grafting, your doctor replaces a discolored section of your skin with a piece of your normal skin taken from another place on your body [source: Mayo Clinic]. However, you risk scarring and the chance that the transplant won't repigment to match. If your doctor thinks you might have skin cancer, surgical removal of the cancerous spot is an option, including curettage and electrodessication, in which the spot is scraped and burned away [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Again, talk with your doctor to find your best option.

Overall, if you have discolored skin that's worrying you, your first step is to investigate the cause. Then you can take advantage of the wide range of options available to you for treatment.

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