Support DermNet NZ

There are several options for donations—which are gratefully received. Your gift will be spent on expanding and improving DermNet New Zealand's content and design.

Donate Now

Skin pigmentation problems

The colour of skin and hair is mainly due to the amount of brown melanin pigment mixed with blue (from reduced haemoglobin), red (from oxyhaemoglobin) and yellow (from carotenoids in the diet). The amount of melanin is determined by constitutional colour (white, brown or black skin) and skin phototype, i.e. the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (tanning).

Increase in melanin (hyperpigmentation or hypermelanosis) can be due to an increased number of pigment cells (melanocytes) or from increased production of melanin.

Reduction in melanin results in pale patches (hypopigmentation or hypomelanosis) or white patches (leucoderma). See DermNet's article on pigmentation disorders for more details.

Generally dark skin

Darker skin patches

Pale or white skin/patches

Related information

Making a donation

Donate Today!