Poikiloderma is a condition that causes your skin to become discolored and break down. Doctors believe poikiloderma is a group of symptoms and not an actual disease.


poikilodermaPoikiloderma is a skin condition that is thought to be more of a collection of symptoms than a disease in and of itself. These symptoms can include hypopigmentation (lighter skin caused by melanin deficiency), hyperpigmentation (darkened skin caused by melanin overproduction), telangiectasias (spider veins), and atrophy (thinning of the skin). Poikiloderma usually manifests as a reddish-brown coloring of the chest or hyperpigmentation of the neck. Poikiloderma, also known as sun aging, is the most frequent type. While there are no serious medical implications linked with the skin condition, it can be unpleasant. However, it is treatable.

What causes poikiloderma?

Poikiloderma can be caused or associated with a variety of diseases and conditions because it is a collection of symptoms rather than a disease.

  • inherited diseases
  • infections such as Lyme disease
  • connective tissue diseases such as lupus and dermatomyositis
  • metabolic diseases
  • immunologic diseases such as when the body rejects a bone marrow transplant
  • medications like steroids or radiation treatment for cancer
  • environmental exposures like ultraviolet light from the sun

How is poikiloderma treated?

It can be difficult to treat poikiloderma. To achieve the greatest possible result, your dermatologist will frequently combine some of the procedures listed below

General measures

  • Broad-spectrum sunscreens (with SPF 30+ or greater) covering both the UVA and UVB spectrum should be applied regularly.
  • Where practical, scarves or other clothing should be worn to cover the neck.
  • The use of perfumes and cosmetics should also be limited.



  • Brown (pigmented) parts of the skin can be treated with whitening treatments.
  • Bleaching creams, such as hydroquinone (2-6 percent), can be used alone or in conjunction with vitamin A-based treatments like tretinoin. Brown pigmentation can be reduced by using alpha-hydroxy acids

Combination creams and lasers

This problem is frequently treated with a combination of creams and lasers. Initially, the goal is to cure and erase the brown spots (pigmentation) of poikiloderma. Lasers will be more effective in targeting the red spots once this has been accomplished

Laser and light therapies

Laser and light therapies provide the most promising method of treating poikiloderma.

Pulse dye laser(595nm):For the best results, most patients will need 3 to 6 sessions. Each treatment may cause minor bruising that lasts only a few days.The skin may become pale at first, and a “checkerboard” or patchy appearance may occur. However, once treatment is completed, these symptoms will go away.

Intense pulse light (IPL):  This is a broad band light treatment that targets the treatment of both blood vessels and melanin (pigment) resulting in the reduction of redness and brown discoloration.Treatments are scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks. With IPL, there will be noticeable “foot printing,” however with many sessions, this appearance can be improved.

Fractional non ablative lasers (1927 nm):These lasers target several components of poikiloderma.2 to 4 treatments are required for the best possible outcome.

How Do Poikiloderma/ Hyperpigmentation Laser Treatment Work?

The laser produces a high-intensity light beam that is converted into heat energy. Because cells with an excessive concentration of pigmentation absorb the energy created by the laser, the heat energy is directed at a specific area of pigmentation. Poikiloderma laser treatment can result in a significant reduction in the visual features of the disorder after several treatment sessions.

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