This condition is caused by an inherited absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, resulting in white hair, pink skin and eyes. The pink colour is produced by underlying blood vessels which are normally masked by pigment. Other clinical signs of this condition include poor eyesight and sensitivity to light.
This is a pigmentation disorder with irregular areas of increased pigmentation, usually on the face. It commonly occurs during pregnancy and sometimes when taking the contraceptive pill due to stimulation of melanin by the female hormone oestrogen.
Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN)
This is a unique benign skin condition that is common among black skins. It is characterised by multiple, small, hyperpigmented, asymptomatic papules.
It appears as small, dark bumps and most commonly affects the face, neck, chest and back. The cause of dermatosis papulosa nigra is uncertain. There is a strong genetic basis for the disorder and often the lesions can be seen in several members of the same family. Under the microscope, the lesions are a type of keratosis that is harmless.
Dermatosis papulosa nigra is not a skin cancer and it will not turn into a skin cancer. The condition is chronic, with new lesions appearing over time. No treatment is necessary other than for cosmetic concerns. In certain circumstances, if the lesions are symptomatic (painful, inflamed, itchy or catch on clothing), they can be treated via a minor surgical procedure.
Another name for this is freckles. These are small, harmless pigmented areas of skin. They appear where there is excessive production of the pigment melanin (after exposure to sunlight).
These are also known as 'liver spots'. They are flat dark patches of pigmentation found mainly in the elderly on skin exposed to light.
A naevus is a birthmark or clearly defined malformation of the skin. There are many different types of naevi:
• Port wine stain - also known as a 'deep capillary naevus'. Present at birth and may vary in colour from pale pink to deep purple. It has as an irregular shape but is not raised above the skin's surface. Usually found on the face but may also appear on other areas of the body.
• Spider naevi - a collection of dilated capillaries radiating from a central papule. Often appear during pregnancy or after 'picking a spot'.
• Strawberry naevus - usually develops before or shortly after a baby is born, but disappears spontaneously before the child reaches the age of ten. It is a red raised lump above the skin's surface.
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