Skin pigmentation disorders are a very common problem among children in Singapore and it can happen upon birth or develop soon after. Early intervention and treatment are often effective in managing and treating skin pigmentation disorders in children and teenagers.
Pigmentation means colouring. Skin pigmentation disorders occur when your child’s skin has either hyperpigmentation (too much pigment) or hypopigmentation (not enough pigment), or the body’s immune system has a reaction to pigment. This leads to white, red, or brown patches on the skin.
Melanin is a pigment, which is where your skin gets its colouring from, made from cells in your child’s skin. Melanin overproduction occurs when these cells become damaged or are not healthy, leading to pigmentation issues.
Melasmas, cancers, skin injuries and trauma, certain drugs, and certain diseases may cause skin pigmentation disorders in children.
Excessive pigment is called hyperpigmentation (where the skin tone is darker than normal) and lack of pigment is called hypopigmentation (where the skin tone is lighter than normal skin colour).
There are many different types of skin pigmentation disorders in children. Common causes of hypopigmentation include post-inflammatory hypopigmentation, pityriasis alba, and vitiligo. While hyperpigmentation is commonly due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, lentiginosis, and acanthosis nigricans.
Children and adolescents with darker skin may be at risk for pityriasis alba. Spending too much time in the sun, having certain diseases, and taking certain drugs may also put you at risk for developing skin pigmentation disorders.
People with a family history of vitiligo, or have certain autoimmune diseases, including Addison's disease and pernicious anaemia, may be at risk of developing the skin pigmentation disorder.
Skin pigmentation disorders in children are often diagnosed through clinical examination. Skin biopsies and wood’s lamp examination may also be used to diagnose skin pigmentation disorders in children and adolescents.
The treatment options for skin pigmentation disorders in children vary greatly, as it depends on the severity and type of the condition. Here are the typical treatment options for some common skin pigmentation disorders in children:
For hypopigmentation disorders such as pityriasis alba, vitiligo, and pigmentation mosaicism that cause white, or light patches on the skin, treatment usually includes:
For hyperpigmentation disorders such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, nevus of ota/ito, and acanthosis nigricans that cause red, brown, or black patches on the skin, treatment may include:
MBBS(NUS, SINGAPORE), MRCP(RCP, UNITED KINGDOM)