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Addison’s Disease is another type of disorder that results in hyperpigmented areas of your skin. Your skin may be brownish or reddish in color and the affected areas include creases and skin folds like the palms of your hands. Addison’s Disease is also known as Melasma Suprarenale and is related to adrenal insufficiency and the subsequent excess production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH).

How can weakened adrenal glands cause darkening of your skin?

Your adrenal glands produce many very powerful hormones like cortisol, pregnenolone and DHEA. Your pituitary gland, in turn controls your adrenal glands. If your adrenal glands are weakened or chronically overstimulated, your pituitary gland will receive a message to increase its production of (ACTH) adrenal cortical tropic hormone. The area of your brain that is involved to increase production of ACTH is called your hypothalamus.

A very specific part of your hypothalamus is known as your POMC pro-opio-melano-cortin-receptor. This tiny area of your brain has numerous functions, controlling endorphin (opio) production, sleep and skin pigmentation (melano) cortisol production (cortin).
Consequently, if you suffer from Addison’s Disease (melasma suprarenale) you most likely will also experience many other symptoms related to abnormal adrenal function, pituitary function and hypothalamic function.

What Can I do if I Have Addison’s Disease (Melasma Suprarenale)?

Addison’s Disease (Melasma Suprarenale) is a complex condition, which is related to genetic predisposition, immune system problems, hormonal imbalances and autonomic nervous system dysregulation. Therefore, the optimal treatment for this disorder must be comprehensive and seek to identify and rectify the underlying immune, nervous system and hormonal imbalances that are contributing to your problems in the first place.

You will want to work with a doctor that understands the web-like relationships between your diet, environmental and situational stressors, your immune system, your hormone systems and your autonomic nervous system. In addition to these systemic measures, the following local treatments and strategies are also useful:                          

Targeted Treatment of Addison’s Disease

  • Avoidance of excess sun exposure and the use of sun blocking agents when exposure is unavoidable.
  • Use of topical depigmenting agents such as hydroquinone. Azelaic acid Tretinoin to increase the rate of fading of discolored skin patches.
  • Chemical peels – to remove the outermost layers of hyperpigmented skin
  • Microdermabrasion – to remove the outermost layers of hyperpigmented skin.
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