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MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was built as an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.

MedlinePlus presents high-quality, easy to understand, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted.

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MedlinePlus at a Glance

  • Offers information on health topics, human genetics, medical tests, medications, dietary supplements, and healthy recipes.
  • Sourced from more than 1,600 selected organizations.
  • Provides 40,000 links to authoritative health information in English and 18,000 links to information in Spanish.
  • In 2018, 277 million users viewed MedlinePlus more than 700 million times.

Skin Pigmentation Disorders

Pigmentation means coloring. Skin pigmentation disorders affect the color of your skin. Your skin gets its color from a pigment called melanin. Special cells in the skin make melanin. When these cells become damaged or unhealthy, it affects melanin production. Some pigmentation disorders affect just patches of skin. Others affect your entire body.

If your body makes too much melanin, your skin gets darker. Pregnancy, Addison's disease, and sun exposure all can make your skin darker. If your body makes too little melanin, your skin gets lighter. Vitiligo is a condition that causes patches of light skin. Albinism is a genetic condition affecting a person's skin. A person with albinism may have no color, lighter than normal skin color, or patchy missing skin color. Infections, blisters and burns can also cause lighter skin.