Abnormalities of pigmentation are common and frequently produce great concern in patients presenting to primary care physicians. Although many pigmentary changes arise as a consequence of inflammatory skin disorders, it is important to differentiate a primary skin disease from postinflammatory changes. Early recognition of a pigmentary disease allows the clinician to begin appropriate therapy at a stage when medical intervention may be more effective. Although many skin disorders are mainly of cosmetic concern, the condition may be devastating psychologically, requiring the clinician to be sensitive to the overall impact of the disorder and treat it accordingly.
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