Restoration of skin pigmentation after deep partial or full-thickness burn injury

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Significant skin pigmentation changes occur when patients suffer deep burn injuries. These pigmentation disorders may cause not only cosmetic and psychological issues, but more importantly it increases the risk of skin cancer or photoaging. Severe burns significantly effect on the process of repigmentation as the pigmentation is tightly regulated by cell proliferation and differentiation of melanocytes and melanocyte stem cells which are housing in the epidermis and hair follicles of the skin. In the present review, we discuss the possible mechanisms to replenish the melanocytes from the healthy epidermis and hair follicles surrounding burn wounds. The molecular mechanisms of skin repigmentation following healing of burn injuries includes the differentiation of melanoblasts into melanocytes, the distribution and responses of melanocytes and melanocyte stem cells after burn injury, and the regulation of melanin production. We also reviewed advanced therapeutic strategies to treat pigmentation disorders, such as convectional surgery, laser, UV treatment and emerging concepts in skin tissue-engineering.

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