Acne Terms - Hypopigmentation

Hyperpigmentation? Pigmentation? Hypopigmentation? Scarring? Discoloration?

There is so much acne terminology out there and it is sometimes confusing, so I am going to break down some of these five acne terms and explain them.

Pigmentation

This is the easiest to start with. Pigmentation seems like a big medical term, and it is often used by medical professionals, but it simply means the color of something. The pigment that something has in it. When talking about acne, pigmentation is usually referring to the color of the person's skin. It does not infer that something is bad; it is just a reference to color.

Hyperpigmentation

This is a type of pigmentation, which is the opposite of hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is when a part of the skin is darker than the rest of the skin, the majority of the skin that surrounds it. Examples of hyperpigmentation are things like dark brown or black acne scars, blackheads, or age spots.


Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation is a type of pigmentation; it is the opposite of hyperpigmentation. Hypopigmentation refers to when a part of the skin is lighter than the rest of the skin, the majority of the skin that surrounds it. Examples of hypopigmentation is when someone has Vitiligo or Albinism; the skin turns white due to a loss of pigment.

"Hypopigmentation is the loss of skin pigment or color. It may occur all over the body or be localized...In people with hypopigmentation, there is either a decrease in melanocytes or melanin itself. A decrease in the amino acid tyrosine can also lead to hypopigmentation. Melanocytes use tyrosine to make melanin."

Source of quotation above: "What Is Hypopigmentation", 2017, written by MaryAnn de Pietro, by Medical News Today - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320243.php

Discoloration

This is generally negative, and it refers to when the skin changes color, but usually to a more unattractive or unflattering color.

Scarring

When acne disappears, depending on how you treated the acne, a scar may remain. A scar is just a mark on the skin. These scars can take on different colors, such as brown, black, or white.


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