Your Skin Color Prior To Suntan

What Causes Dark Or Pale Skin Color?

Dark or pale skin color can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose dark or pale skin color, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "dark or pale skin color" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities:
  • Melanoma
  • Anemia
  • Vitamin B12 Need
  • Pyroluria
  • Zinc Need
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Kidney Disease
  • Hemochromatosis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
slightly impaired ability to walk
frequent meal-related bloating
prednisone use
frequent colds/flus
numb/burning/tingling extremities
strong-smelling urine
zinc test tasteless
severe left lumbar pain
non-human estrogen use
dark lines under nails
a few white spots on fingernails
morning sickness
... and more than 150 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of dark or pale skin color:
Cause Probability Status
Melanoma 96% Confirm
Pyroluria 26% Unlikely
Adrenal Fatigue 17% Unlikely
Zinc Need 1% Ruled out
Anemia 1% Ruled out
Vitamin B12 Need 0% Ruled out
Hemochromatosis 0% Ruled out
Kidney Disease 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Skin-Related Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about your skin color prior to suntan:
What is your skin color prior to suntan, compared to others of your race, or family members?
Possible responses:
→ Significantly lighter/paler
→ A little lighter/paler
→ Average / don't know
→ A little darker/redder
→ Significantly darker/redder
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either lighter/paler skin color or darker/redder skin color, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Hemochromatosis (Iron overload)

Excessive skin pigmentation (bronzing) is present in more than 90% of symptomatic patients at the time of diagnosis.  Deposition of iron within the skin causes inflammation and enhances melanin production by melanocytes.  Patients usually notice a generalized increased pigmentation and occasionally notice that they tan very easily.  This is due to ultraviolet light exposure and iron acting synergistically to induce skin pigmentation.  Fair-skinned persons, who usually tan poorly, may never develop hyperpigmentation despite large iron burdens.  Ethnically dark-complexioned patients (for example, people of Mediterranean descent) can develop a striking almond-colored hue.  With particularly heavy iron overload, visible iron deposits sometimes appear in the skin as a grayish discoloration.

Kidney Disease

Pale skin is a possible symptom of kidney disease.

Vitamin B12 Requirement

Pale skin, often with a lemon tint, can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Zinc Requirement

Darkening of the skin all over the body is a symptom of zinc deficiency.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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