Most skin pigmentation disorders result from the overproduction or underproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its natural color. Some pigmentation disorders affect just patches of skin, while others can affect your entire body.


Vitiligo appears as skin patches that have lost their color, premature graying of hair (including eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard), and sometimes the eyes’ retinas changing color. This discoloration is caused by the immune system destroying melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). Vitiligo affects all sexes, races, and skin tones, but is mostly found in patients between ages 10 and 30 years old. 

Although there is no cure for vitiligo, there are some tactics and treatments to mask its appearance. These options include protecting the skin with sunscreen, wearing coverup, applying topical creams, regularly undergoing light treatment, and surgery. 


Melasma is characterized by patches of darker skin appearing on the cheeks, jawline, or center of the face. This form of discoloration is linked to genetics and exposure to sunlight and is highly correlated with the production of certain hormones. This ties to hormone production is why melasma is most commonly seen on women between the ages of 20 and 50, and especially prevalent for those who are pregnant. 

Melasma treatments to improve its appearance range from preventative measures with sun protection to creams such as hydroquinone or corticosteroids, or procedures such as light treatments, chemical peels, laser therapy, and microdermabrasion.

Skin Discoloration and Skin Pigmentation Treatment

Depending on the kind and severity of the pigment disorder, Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute dermatologists can determine a course of treatment that works best for you.

XTRAC Laser is sometimes used for treating psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis. It delivers a highly targeted therapeutic beam of UVB light to areas of affected skin without harming the surrounding skin. 

XTRAC therapy is performed two to three times per week and each treatment is approximately 10-15 minutes long. XTRAC is safe for patients of all ages and is painless, quick, and has no side effects. It is also often covered by most major insurances and Medicare.

You can schedule an appointment with one of our Board-Certified Dermatologists in our Greater Reno-Tahoe area locations to assist with skin discoloration and skin pigmentation treatment.