Melanin Deficiency

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

January 03, 2019

March 06, 2020

Melanin Deficiency
Melanin Deficiency

What is melanin deficiency?

The special cells called melanocytes in the skin produce melanin, which is a pigment responsible for skin colouration. Any injury to these cells hampers the production of melanin. Some disorders affect only part of the body, while others affect the entire body. Excessive melanin makes the skin darker, whereas less melanin makes the skin lighter. When the level of melanin reduces below a certain level, it may lead to diseases like vitiligo, causing patches of white skin, albinism or other conditions affecting the skin colour.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Melanin deficiency appears in the form of various diseases exhibiting the following signs and symptoms:

  • Greying of the hair, beard, moustache, eyebrows and eyelashes at a very early age
  • Loss of colour of the skin inside the mouth
  • Depigmentation of the skin
  • Depigmentation in any one or more areas of the skin
  • Depigmentation affecting only one side of the body
  • Depigmentation affecting the entire body

What are the main causes?

Melanin deficiency can be due to some underlying skin condition which affects the melanocytes and, thereby, melanin production. The following can lead to melanin deficiency:

  • Inherited deficiency causing partial or complete lack of melanin, e.g., albinism
  • Loss of melanocytes in some or all areas of the body due to an autoimmune disorder, e.g., vitiligo
  • Skin injury like an ulcer, burn, blisters, infection, etc., can lead to permanent damage of the skin cells and the melanin in the damaged skin is not replaced.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The diagnosis is based upon the following:

  • Medical history of the individual
  • Physical examination to check for white patches
  • Blood tests to identify the presence of diabetes or thyroid problems
  • Biopsy of the affected skin

Treatment depends on the cause of melanin deficiency. The doctor may recommend the following:

  • Corticosteroid creams
  • Narrow-band ultraviolet B therapy
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Laser treatment

Some effective home remedies are:

  • Sunscreens
  • Cosmetics, such as a concealer


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Skin Pigmentation Disorders.
  2. Stanford Children's Health. [Internet]. Palo Alto, California, United States; Skin Pigment Disorders.
  3. American Vitiligo Research Foundation. [Internet]. Clearwater, Florida, United States; Vitiligo Signs & Symptoms.
  4. British Association of Dermatologists. [Internet]. United Kingdom. Vitiligo.
  5. TeensHealth. [Internet]. The Nemours Foundation, Jacksonville, Florida. Vitiligo.

Medicines for Melanin Deficiency

Medicines listed below are available for Melanin Deficiency. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.