Skin color varies from individual to individual and that's natural. However, there are some skin discolorations that serve as red flags, indicating that there may be a medical condition present that needs prompt attention.
If an individual’s skin looks blue, this may be the result of cynanosis, which is a serious condition that indicates there is a shortage of oxygen in the person’s blood supply. Some illnesses result in faulty oxygen-uptake and circulation and this can cause the blue tinge. Raynaud’s phenomenon results in poor circulation in the hands and fingers and this can cause the fingers and hands to turn blue. If an individual is blue, this needs immediate attention by a physician, according to Wrongdiagnosis.com.
When the color of a person’s skin changes, this may be due to vitiligo, which is a pigment disorder. When vitiligo strikes, something has gone awry with the cells that manufacture pigment. The cells that are affected are called melanocytes. A dark-skinned person can acquire white skin due to loss of pigmentation, courtesy of vitiligo. The whitening of skin can also be caused by infections. According to Tamar Nordenberg and Health.discovery.com, you are at higher risk for "skin bleaching" if you have pernicious anemia, decreased adrenal gland function, thyroid disorders or the hair-loss disease called alopecia areata. It is believed that abnormal nerves interfere with the body’s production of pigment. Skin whitening may also be the result of an auto-toxic reaction, during which the pigment cells are attacked.
Skin can become dark if hyper-pigmentation is occurring. This can happen when cells release more melanin (pigmentation) than they’re supposed to. Hyper-pigmentation can be an indication that you are suffering from scleroderma or Addison’s disease. Skin darkening can also be caused by a bruise or from sun exposure. Certain chemicals can also result in skin darkening.
If a person is extremely pale, this can indicate anemia (iron poor blood), a heart condition or leukemia. Poor circulation can also cause pallor. Melasma is a condition in which brown stains appear on the face or chest, mostly on the skin of pregnant women. Women who take birth control pills may also experience melasma. Hormones can ramp up the production of melanin (pigment), resulting in uneven patches of darker skin.
Café-au-lait spots, which are light brown spots on the skin, can be caused by neurofibromatosis, McCune-Albright syndrome or they can be considered idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.
Bronze skin can be the result of biliary cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, malnutrition, adrenal hyperplasia, adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), Wilson’s disease or a drug reaction. The bronze color is located primarily at the pressure points, such as at the knees and the elbows.
Red Skin, Yellow Skin
Skin can turn red due to a fever, virus or rash. Dermatitis (an allergic reaction), along with sunburns, hemorrhagic rashes and flushing, can result in red skin. Eczema can also turn skin red. If you have jaundice, which is caused by liver or bile issues, you can turn yellow. Symptoms of jaundice include yellow eyes and orange, dark or red urine. Reddish-blue streaks on the skin and the lowering of a person’s voice may indicate that the individual is suffering from Cushing’s syndrome. This condition occurs when the adrenal glands make too much cortisol.