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Includes Expert Content
Facial skin pigmentation
DS007 posted:
Hadn't seen my daughter in almost 2 years and was shocked when I saw her face. She has large spots on her face a totally different color than her skin color. She said it just started 2 years ago (she's 23) Doctors have ran all kinds of tests and still haven't figured out what is causing this. Best way to describe this is how Michael Jackson looked when he was trying to lighten his skin color. My daughter is caucasian/hispanic mix. Am concerned for her. Any ideas? thanks
Mohiba K Tareen, MD responded:
Dear DS007,

As a mother myself, I understand how concerned you must be about your daughter's skin.

These patches of discoloration may be anything from vitiligo (what Michael Jackson was reported to have), to post inflammatory hypopigmentation (light patches that occur after a rash), to sarcoidosis (a multisystem disorder that causes skin discoloration) to numerous other conditions.

Typically blood tests and occasionally a skin biopsy are needed to adequately diagnose.

Get your daughter in to the primary doc or dermatologist soon please. The sooner you halt the process, the better she has of getting the pigment back.

Please keep me posted and good luck.
itsmekristin responded:
my son is 6 and has white spots on his face they showed up about a year ago he is white and black mix do you think i should be concerned do you think its what your daughter has im scared for him and he gets made fun of???
Mohiba K Tareen, MD replied to itsmekristin's response:
Dear itsmekristin ,

The most common discoloration problem that occurs on the face of children is a disorder called pityriasis alba (p. alba). Although the precise reason p. alba occurs is unknown, it is thought to be due to prior dry skin or eczema that temporarily reduces the pigment cells from making color. On kids faces it can look like light colored patches, occasionally with a little scaliness.

In patients with brown skin, the p. alba can be more noticeable than in lighter skin patients.

Nevertheless, make a quick appointment with your pediatrician to have the discoloration evaluated. It will give you peace of mind undoubtedly. If the condition is p.alba, the doc can prescribe you a very low strength cortisone cream that can help stimulate the pigement cells.

Happy holidays

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