Skin patches refer to areas of irregular skin coloring which can be caused by changes in the skin pigment called melanin, vascular changes, or growth of foreign organisms on the skin. Melanin may be affected by genetics, heat, injury, excessive exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, heavy metals and hormonal changes. Increased pigment production produces miragloss cream whereas decreased pigment production produces hypo-pigmentation. The Ayurvedic treatment of skin patches is aimed at normalizing the skin color and treating the known cause. The first step is to identify the possible cause of the condition and take steps to avoid further exposure to it. This will include making lifestyle modifications or changes in the work-environment. For hypo-pigmentation, medicines like Sunthi (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum), Pippali (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Chavya (Piper retrofractum), Mahamanjishthadi-Qadha, Arogya-Vardhini, Ras-Manikya, Bavachi (Psoralia corylifolia), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Takla (Clerodendron phomodis), Karanj (Pongamia pinnata), Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and Khadeer (Acacia catechu) are used. The medicine Bavachi forms the main stay of treatment for this condition. It can also be used as a local application along with limited or graded exposure to sunlight.
Hyper-pigmentation can be treated using medicines like Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Saarivasav, Saraswatarishta, Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Usheer (Vetiveria zizanioidis), Chandan (Santalum album), Musta (Cyperus rotundus) and Parpat (Fumaria vaillantii).
A large proportion of dark colored people residing in the tropical and sub-tropical regions desire to have a light colored skin, since a fair skin is more socially acceptable in such areas. Such people need to use local applications which act as sunscreens and thereby help to gradually lighten the skin color. Exposure to sunlight should be minimized. Ayurvedic medicines can be used in the form of local applications. Ointments containing Saariva, Manjishtha, Haridra and Chandan can be used for this purpose. Medicine can also be given orally to lighten the skin color. These medicines include Manjishtha, Saariva, Chandan, Haridra, Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Chopchini (Smilax china), Mundi (Sphaeranthus indicus), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Suranjaan (Colchicum luteum).Dark skinned couples who desire to have fair skinned progeny can also take the above mentioned medicines, however, they need to start these medicines several months in advance of attempting conception.