UV rays can cause your skin tone to change. They do this by triggering melanin production in skin cells. This is what you see when people return from vacations where they were exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. Often, you’ll notice their skin darken, and perhaps even become tan.
One condition that can cause skin discoloration is vitiligo, which causes the loss of pigment or color from certain areas of skin (it does not happen uniformly). The result is patches of white or pale skin that feels just like normal skin. Vitiligo is thought to be associated with some diseases, and affects approximately one percent of the population of the US. Most often, the white patches appear on the face, elbows, knees, hands, feet, and genitalia. The condition has few associated complications, although affected areas are prone to sunburn, but there are some treatments available including light therapy, oral medication, and topical medication.
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