Melanin - White blotches on the Skin

White blotches on the Skin

Melanin is the pigment that gives our hair, skin and eyes their color. It is responsible for much of the coloration throughout nature. Nature uses melanin to protect our tissue from sunlight damage. We are born with an initial supply of melanin. It is located just behind the retina where it acts, much like the black paint inside a camera, to reduce undesirable light scatter (see Figure 1 Below).

Figure 1

Scientists believe that melanin serves another important protective role by functioning as an antioxidant along with vitamin C and E. potentially harmful free radicals that would otherwise initiate a chain of damaging oxidation reactions in the retina are neutralized by melanin. Unfortunately we lose this valuable protection to our retina during the aging process (see Figure 1 Right).

Scientists at photoprotective Technologies have developed the patents and technologies to synthesize and chemically modify melanin so that it can be incorporated into optical quality plastic lenses.

ppT has retained exclusive licenses to market and sell Rx Sun lenses with melanin in the US. What makes the melanin lenses superior to other sun lenses is their ability to filter colors in proportion to their damage thereby reducing the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts while still providing excellent color perception.

Aging Begins at 30

Blotchy White Skin patches

Milky or porcelain white patches on the skin of the limbs, torso, body folds or around body openings can be disfiguring for a white American and can be devastating for an African or Asian American. No scale or crust is present. The disease is called vitiligo from vitus a mark or a blemish. No one knows why the "L" got inserted. There is a loss of pigment of the skin because melanin cells die that normally produce the color in your hair, skin and eyes. These cells may have died from poisons from the controlling nerve cells, from attacks by the body's immune system or by poisons produced inside the melanin cells. There also may be a genetic defect. The cause of vitiligo is unknown. Cure is not possible the problem can clear spontaneously, and various treatments are available.

Chemically-produced white skin (leukoderma) occurs in the use of some germicides and in the production of rubber products; this is not the vitiligo, I am describing.

About 2 of every 100 people develop vitiligo, one-half before the age of 20, but it can occur at any age. perhaps after a time on the beach you notice a contrast between the suntanned areas and your newly acquired white areas. There may be cycles of loss of pigment and quiescence. The areas may spread. There is no way to predict how much pigment an individual will lose.

Initially, sun screen and cover-up measures such as Dermablend or Covermark available in department stores are best. Sunscreen should have an SpF of 15 or greater (sun protective factor) and be used especially from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to prevent sunburn and reduce the possibilities of later cancer. Self tanning with dihydroxyacetone does not cure the disease or prevent sun damage but improves the appearance of it. Repigmentation using psoralen (a plant extract) or phenylalanine followed by exposure to ultraviolet light (called pUVA) can be used for particularly disfiguring areas. pUVA requires protection against sunburn and eye injury. pUVA is about 55% - 65% successful on the face, trunk and upper arms. It doesn't work well on hands and feet. A minority of patients responds to super-potent steroid cream which should not be overused because skin atrophy may occur. In a small group of patients with apparently non-spreading vitiligo, the surgical transfer of skin from normal to white areas can mask affected skin.

Destroying the remaining pigment on patients who have severe involvement (more than half of the exposed areas) can make sufferers white all over. This is done with application of monobenzylether of hydroquinone treatment. perhaps you remember freckle loss from photographic developer This should be supervised by experts.

physically vitiligo patients are usually healthy. Infrequently, vitiligo may be associated with autoimmune diseases such as low or high thyroid, diabetes, Addison's disease of the adrenals, alopecia (round patches of hair loss), or pernicious anemia. A patient of my wife's has white hair and white skin and the vitiligo has "disappeared."

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