A woman with white tank top touching her face.

Skin discoloration refers to any changes in the pigmentation of your skin. Remember when you looked in the mirror and noticed that your skin tone seemed to be off? According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, discolored skin patches can happen to everyone for different causes and at varying levels. Read on to find out more about what causes this skin issue and how you can avoid or treat it. 

Cause #1: Inflammation

Skin trauma such as bug bites, friction from vigorous rubbing, acne, eczema, and scrapes can trigger inflammation. These can send cells that produce pigments into high gear, leaving behind dark patches on the skin. An extreme example of skin trauma would be a second or third-degree burn, leaving the skin to contract and tighten. It results in discolored skin patches, which happen after your skin touches something scorching.

On the other hand, a more commonplace example would be acne. When you leave your pimples alone, they go away on their own. However, when you pick at them, they turn into these horrific wounds that are much darker, more painful, and take longer to heal. According to the Journal of Inflammation, these are some of the signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, heat, and pain.

Cause #2: Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to the sun without any protection can result in skin darkening. When the sun’s UV rays hit your skin, they trigger extra melanin production as a way to protect it from damage. The surplus melanin gives you a tan, but overexposure can make discolored skin patches appear. The latter is the most popular form of hyperpigmentation.

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, sunspots aren’t cancerous. However, can damage your skin’s elastin. While you may not see any effects in the short term, it can become a real problem eventually. Aside from skin discoloration, much exposure to the sun will make your skin appear dry and saggy.

Cause #3: Hormonal Imbalances

Excessive testosterone can cause acne, but specific hormonal imbalances might also result in skin discoloration. According to the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, you may notice changes to your skin after taking a new medication such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or chemotherapy drugs.

Skin discoloration is also common in pregnant women, who can develop , also known as the “mask of pregnancy.”It’s said to be triggered by a combination of hormonal changes, genetics, and sun exposure as noted in Harvard Health. Although this kind of discolored skin patches usually happens to women, it can also occur in men.

Cause #4: Extreme Temperatures

According to the National Institutes of Health, low temperatures with strong winds and low humidity can make the moisture levels in your skin drop. Hot air from indoor heating is also low in moisture and . Comfort food often associated with cold weather, such as high carbs and spicy foods, can likewise trigger hormone imbalance. It can lead to discolored skin patches. Rosacea is a common kind of skin discoloration caused by extreme temperatures. It affects areas around the face such as the forehead, nose, and cheeks.

Treatment #1: Keep Skin Moist

To remove dark patches, , and other forms of skin discoloration, keep your skin moist to boost cell turnover and repair the skin barrier. The Asian Journal of Beauty and Cosmetology notes that ingredients like glycerin or are welcome, as they help moisturize the skin and support cell turnover. You can try POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Moisturizer. It has aloe vera extract and vitamin B3 to keep your skin supple and hydrated. 

Treatment #2: Hands Off Bug Bites and Other Injuries

It can be tempting to pick at bug bites and scabs. However, keep in mind that the more you mess with it now, the worse it will look later. Not picking or scratching your skin is one of the best skin discoloration treatments – and it’s free! Be patient and trust the process, even if it takes weeks or even months.

Treatment #3: Take Steps to Prevent Future Damage

Drinking tea is another way to reduce skin discoloration. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology suggests drinking tea that contains red clover, burdock, or milk thistle. Research shows that these ingredients help with skin health. You can also drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can leave your skin dry and irritated, which might become one of the skin discoloration causes.

Furthermore, you may also need to adjust your skincare routine to protect your skin. POND'S Age Miracle Anti-Aging Day Cream SPF 18 can help shield your skin from harmful sun and UV damage. Its Retinol-C penetrates the skin and releases powerful actives for 24 hours. The brightens the skin, fades dark spots, and evens out the complexion. It’s an anti-aging product that features and hyaluronic acid to nourish, plump, and replenish the skin.

Treatment #4: Ask Your Dermatologist for Other Options

Everyone experiences skin discoloration differently. The general advice is to try less intense treatment first. However, if the discoloration remains or makes you extremely uncomfortable, then consult with your dermatologist for an in-office solution. According to the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine, advanced skin discoloration treatment includes chemical peels, laser peels, and microdermabrasion.

Skin discoloration can be a tricky challenge to live with, especially since there's no easy dark spots removal method. However, with the proper skincare routine, you can get rid of it. Take care of your skin well with the four skin discoloration treatments mentioned above.