Colour loss in the skin

Here at the Dermatology Institute of Victoria we talk about, hear about and see pigmentation all the time. Pigmentation is basically patches where there is too much colour in the skin (click here to find out more about pigmentation) and it’s really common, but did you know that it’s also possible for the complete opposite to happen? Some people actually experience a loss of colour in their skin resulting in white patches.

An example of colour loss in the skin caused by the disease Vitiligo 

An example of colour loss in the skin caused by the disease Vitiligo 

A loss of pigment in the skin is actually one of the most difficult skin conditions to treat and the options are limited.  Australian scientists actually pioneered one of the few available treatments in the world called ReCell®, and our very own Assoc Prof Greg Goodman was one of the first Dermatologists to train using this specialised technique, so we asked him to answer the most common questions we get asked about this problem.  

A loss of pigment caused by acne scarring 

A loss of pigment caused by acne scarring 

What can cause the skin to suddenly lose its colour? 

Assoc Prof Greg Goodman from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria explains that there are two main reasons: 

1. “Trauma, such as when the skin heals after acne, a burn or injury.
2. A medical condition called ‘Vitiligo’” (click here to find out more about vitiligo)." 

Why doesn’t my skin colour come back? 

“Where trauma has occurred the cells that provide our skin with its colour (called melanocytes) are damaged, so as the skin heals the pigment fails to grow back.
Vitiligo on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition where those same “colour’ cells are attacked and destroyed by the immune system.” 

How exactly does ReCell® bring the colour back?

ReCell® is used to re-introduce colour to the forehead. Treatment performed by Assoc Prof Greg Goodman. 

ReCell® is used to re-introduce colour to the forehead. Treatment performed by Assoc Prof Greg Goodman. 

*All results shown on our website have been achieved by our team members. Please note that results are individual and may vary.

 “This answer is a little more complicated,” says Assoc Prof Greg Goodman. “In a nutshell, we collect normal, healthy skin cells from another area of your skin where you have pigment, we then process them using the ReCell® kit, this process then allows these healthy and normal skin cells to be applied to the damaged areas. Over time these replacement cells will then slowly grow, mature and start to produce pigment."

Is ReCell® the right treatment for me?

A consultation is always required to assess the individual and make sure that the technique is the most appropriate for you however Assoc Prof Greg Goodman has found that ReCell® seems to work best in the following types of cases: 

"1. Where the trauma is the result of superficial scars as opposed to very deep wounds.
2. Where the skin condition causing the loss of pigment has stabilised, as opposed to actively continuing to destroy pigment. 
3.  Is best limited to a relatively small area (say equivalent to half a face).”
ReCell® is used to re-introduce colour to the forehead. Treatment performed by Assoc Prof Greg Goodman.

ReCell® is used to re-introduce colour to the forehead. Treatment performed by Assoc Prof Greg Goodman.

*All results shown on our website have been achieved by our team members. Please note that results are individual and may vary.

It should be noted that the results from ReCell® are not instant, the pigment slowly develops in treated areas for up to 12 months, and that this is a very useful technique where little else is effective. 

To learn more about ReCell click here.


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