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Facial discoloration is a common condition that develops when your skin produces too much melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. For example, getting a tan is the result of your body producing more melanin to darken your skin tone to better protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

Depending on your skin tone and the cause of your discoloration, you may notice newly-developed patches of dark brown, tan, or even gray colored skin.

When this process goes awry, it's possible to develop areas of uneven skin tone. In some cases, sun damage is the culprit for facial discoloration, but it's not the only cause. Conditions like melasma are known to cause areas of dark brown, tan, or gray areas of discoloration across the face.

With over 35 years of experience and thousands of patient-appointments under his belt, Dr. Schultz has worked with a very diverse group of people to treat their facial discoloration. The most common causes of this frustrating symptom include:

  • Sun Damage: the harmful rays of the sun damage your skin cells. With repeated sun exposure, the melanocytes in your skin can begin to work irregularly and cause facial discoloration. Sun damage is the leading cause of skin cancer, and many people will also experience changes to their skin's texture as a result of exposure.
  • Genetics: the genetics behind skin tone are complicated, but many people who experience facial discoloration have a family history of this skin condition.
  • Hormones: most common in pregnant women, hormones can actually play a major role in facial discoloration. Melasma is a condition that causes brown spots to appear across the face. These patchy areas of discoloration tend to diminish after delivery.
  • Inflammation: when the skin becomes inflamed, it may change in color as well. Redness and darkening of the area is common. As the skin heals, these areas of discoloration tend to fade – though this may take months.

Facial discoloration is a broad term that can describe a number of different conditions. Dr. Schultz carefully examines each patient and learns more about their history so that he can determine the type of facial discoloration they're experiencing.

The most common types of facial discoloration that Dr. Schultz treats include:

  • Melasma: a type of facial discoloration that most commonly affects pregnant women. This condition is triggered by hormonal changes and tends to dissipate after delivery.
  • Sun Damage: a type of discoloration caused by damage from extended sun exposure. The skin may become dark, red, and thick as a result of sun burns and dangerous UV rays.
  • Freckles: a type of facial discoloration wherein small brown spots appear across the face. Freckles can become darker and more numerous as a result of sun exposure, and they can vary in color naturally.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): a type of facial discoloration most commonly caused by acne or an injury. When the skin is inflamed and irritated, melanin production is triggered and spread across the affected areas.

Since facial discoloration is a frustrating condition, there are many treatments out there that claim to lighten the color of skin. It is important to first seek care from a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Schultz so that you can get a proper diagnosis for your facial discoloration. At-home treatments may contain dangerous chemicals and even cause damage to your skin.

The most effective treatments for facial discoloration are safe to use on areas of discoloration without harming the surrounding tissue. Though Dr. Schultz will discuss which treatment is best for your skin during your appointment, the most common treatments for facial discoloration include:

  • Chemical Peels: this treatment works to reach the deeper layers of the skin to promote the growth of new, healthy skin. There are three levels of chemical peel, but each heal to reveal a more even skin tone, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and more supple skin.
  • Topicals: unlike topical treatments that you can pick up at the store, Dr. Schultz may recommend that you try a skin-safe and dermatologist-approved topical to reduce the appearance of your facial discoloration.
  • Laser Treatments: laser treatments are an effective way to reduce the appearance of facial discoloration. Without damaging the surrounding tissue, laser treatments remove excess pigment to reveal an even skin tone.
  • Microneedling: this treatment works to dissipate areas of facial discoloration by breaking up areas of excess pigment and promoting more blood flow, new collagen production, and healthy skin growth.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for facial discoloration. It's essential to work with a specialist to determine the cause of your discoloration and what treatment is right for you. Dr. Schultz is the Upper East Side's go-to dermatologist for a reason: he listens and knows what works.

After examining your skin and discussing your history, Dr. Schultz will recommend a treatment, like a chemical peel, to reduce the appearance of facial discoloration. Before the procedure, you will learn all about what to expect during your session as well as what results you'll see after.

Our concierge level of dermatologic care means that Dr. Schultz and the Park Avenue Skin Care team are equipped with the best technology and techniques to solve your skin care problems and achieve your cosmetic goals. During your appointment for facial discoloration, Dr. Schultz will carefully examine your skin and discuss his findings with you.

Your skin will be prepped and cleaned before your treatment. Depending on the procedure you are getting, you may receive a numbing topical. Dr. Schultz will give you all the information you need about what to expect during your treatment, the healing process, and the results you can expect to see.

Patient Reviews

I've been seeing Dr. Schultz for the last 8 years and during that time, I've recommended him to countless friends for both cosmetic and medical dermatologic help. I trust him completely both diagnostically and aesthetically. When I had shingles, he was wonderful, incredibly supportive and kind. And when I eased into doing more cosmetic dermatology, he was– and continues to be– patient, careful and cautious. He listens to concerns and really hears what your goal outcome is and works with you to make it happen. I wanted to maintain a natural look while keeping my skin looking fresh and that's just what he's done for me. I always leave his office feeling prettier and well-cared for! If you have a medical concern or something about your skin you want to upgrade, you can't do better than Dr. Schultz and his wonderful team. And the products are amazing as well!

- Laura B.

Dr. Schultz is the most thorough and good natured dermatologist I have ever seen. I have been a patient of his for more than 20 years. He has taught me everything I know about the value of taking care of my skin, a gift that keeps on giving. He also takes the time to listen to me, to see me as an individual and doesn't treat my needs as a one size fits all doctor. I really appreciate his kindness, patience and expertise. I absolutely love his product line and have definitely reaped the rewards from using it, especially his glycolic peel pads and moisturizer, which I can't live without. My skin feels softer, smoother, appears more translucent and actually looks younger! Dr. Schultz helped me to see beyond the lines and wrinkles, although he so good at helping to keep those at bay while maintaining a very natural appearance. His staff is outstanding. They make you feel welcome, like family, from the moment you walk through the door. Angela, Monika, Deborah and all of the support staff are extraordinary at what they do. Thank you Dr. Schultz and everyone at Park Ave Skincare. You're the best!

- Laura M.

Dr. Schultz has truly transformed my skin, so much so that I can confidently leave the house without wearing makeup now. During my first meeting with Dr. Schultz, he intently listened to my skin concerns, we discussed what my goals were, and he explained pragmatically what treatments and products he recommended for me. I truly appreciate his fantastic bedside manner and conservative approach. I am a perfectionist in every aspect of my life, including my skin, and Dr. Schultz understood this and was committed to helping me achieve every skin goal I had. The entire staff is just so fantastic and friendly, from reception to the PAs. They make you feel welcome and extremely comfortable, which to me is very important when visiting any doctor’s office. As someone who works too much and never gets enough sleep, my skin was looking very dull and lifeless. My skin is now full of life again and has an incredible glow to it which I have never had before. And I owe it all to the incredible Dr. Schultz.

- Kelly D.

My partnership with Dr Schultz began more than 30 years ago. As a generous friend, advisor, skilled surgeon, and superb cosmetic diagnostician, he has enabled me to look my best. He has kept me abreast of the most sophisticated procedures and in so doing, has maximized my appearance, always guided by what will be most beneficial for me. He is someone I go to for advice and care and his staff is another manifestation of this care. I don’t know many patients who can say this, and I feel fortunate to be among them.

- Ellen R.

In the four years that I've been a patient of Dr. Schultz, my acne-prone skin has gone from constant breakouts to smooth and clear. These days, I feel confident and comfortable enough in my skin to wear minimal makeup, if any—which I never would have done in years past. Dr. Schultz and his warm, friendly staff always go above and beyond; he takes the time to listen, talk with me, and create the best plan for my skin. It's clear he has my best interests in mind, and I trust him wholeheartedly. I would highly recommend him to friends, family, and frankly, anyone who asks.

- Deanna P.

Each session with Dr. Schultz is a mini education in skin care. He approaches each patient as a unique individual with different needs. I’m Asian and he’s explained to me how that impacts treatment in a clear manner that a layperson can understand. At each examination, Dr. Schultz recites detailed notes to his staff which he then refers back to at each future appointment, adjusting and tweaking treatment plans when necessary. Over the past two years I’ve seen a remarkable improvement in my blemishes and overall complexion and wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Schultz to anyone looking to enhance their appearance.

- Sherry G.

I have been a patient of Dr. Schultz for many years, and I continue to be amazed at his medical approach, patience, and professionalism. He takes the time to listen to my health concerns, explains how and why he would like to issue a treatment in a way that I understand , answers all of my questions, and all of his procedures and painless and thorough. Dr. Schultz is very attentive, results-oriented, and extremely knowledgeable. He follows up and is committed to my health and satisfaction. The Park Avenue Skincare is a calm environment and the staff are all very friendly, warm, and respectful. It's easy to get appointments at a time that works for me and they are always on time and considerate. I think so highly of Dr. Schultz and his practice that I sent my mom to him, and continue to go to his office even though my life is based in midtown west! I have great confidence in the care that Dr. Schultz gives.

- Katrina A.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I treat facial discoloration at home?

    No, we do not recommend treating facial discoloration at home with store-bought Read More

  • Is there downtime to facial discoloration removal?

    This depends on the type of treatment you receive. If you get Read More

  • What does Dr. Schultz use to remove facial discoloration?

    As a board-certified dermatologist in the Upper East Side, Dr. Schultz has Read More

  • Can I avoid facial discoloration?

    While some facial discoloration is caused by hormones and genetics, wearing sunscreen Read More

Rejuvenate Your Skin

Make your skin care a priority with leading-dermatologist and New York Magazine’s “Top Doctor”: Dr. Neal Schultz.