ZocdocAnswersWhy does the skin on my knees look different from the rest of my skin?

Question

Why does the skin on my knees look different from the rest of my skin?

I had some pretty bad injuries on both of my knees (they were abrasions) around 10 years ago. I'm 22 now, but the skin on my knees is still lighter and just looks different than the rest of my skin. I can't believe that it is still from the injuries when I was a kid, but is it? Could it still be scar tissue or will my skin always be like this?

Answer

After a skin injury, as part of the normal healing process, blood vessels and inflammatory healing cells invade the damaged area of skin to help it heal more quickly. As part of the local wound healing reaction that they set up at the site of injury, the skin may lose some of its color. This is called post inflammatory hypo pigmentation. Sometimes, post inflammatory hypo pigmentation resolves over a period of weeks to months; however, in other cases it can be permanent. Similarly, if you had significant scar tissue formation in the skin following the injury, the scar tissue will likely always remain a different, and slightly lighter, color than the surrounding skin. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to treat this color difference. However, it would still be worth while going to see your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. They would at least be able to make sure that the change in color of the skin on your knees is not due to another, potentially treatable, problem unrelated to your prior skin injuries. For example, chronic inflammation of the skin from eczema or psoriasis may cause light colored patches; both psoriasis and eczema are treatable with topical medications. Go see your doctor!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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