White Spots On Skin: 8 Dermatological Conditions, Causing Loss of Pigmentation

Light spots on skin bother many people, especially women, initially from an aesthetic point of view. Not everyone knows that there is a whole range of skin disorders which may trigger those unsightly light marks. We are going to throw light on the most frequent conditions, revealing as white blotches on skin, in regards to those, recorded by the dermatological statistics. We’ll also offer information on how to treat and prevent these conditions. So if you have problems with skin pigmentation, you will be able to compare different pigmentation descriptions, presented here, with what you actually have and get the clues on how you can fix the problem.

Light Skin Blotches: Curable Or Not?

Depending on the underlying condition, your white spot on skin can be either treated or only camouflaged. In many cases true causes of white spots can’t be determined. For vitiligo, for instance, doctors try to elaborate new methods, able to inhibit disease progressing, and sometimes they succeed. Anyway, therapies must be individual (taking into account patient’s age, sizes of skin affection, etc.) and complex, including medications, boosting skin ability to perceive sun rays and ultraviolet radiance.

Patients with light spots on skin, resulted from yeast infections (Pituriasis versicolor) treat them, using anti-fungal medications (clotrimazole, terbinafine, miconazole) plus shampoo with selenium sulfide, applied as a lotion.

In some cases white patches on skin settle themselves, without any treatment (Pityriasis Alba). Unfortunately, sometimes affected skin can’t get back to it’s normal color and needs cosmetic camouflage solutions.

White Spots: How To Get Rid Of Them?

  • Hormonal medications. Before you begin to take any hormonal medications, you must consult an endocrinologist. For white spots doctors often prescribe corticosteroids. In combination with vitamins A and E, they produce quite a good effect.
  • Local therapy. Patients can take medications, promoting skin metabolism and boosting melanin synthesis. For this purpose they use alcohol based solutions with various herbs and irradiate affected skin with ultraviolet.
  • PUVA therapy. This method provides delivery of a corticosteroid or other prescribed medication into the skin with UV rays.
  • Excimer laser. UV radiance of high intensity is directed to problematic areas. Laser stimulates melanocytes activity (cells producing coloring pigment melanin).

White Spots On Face & Body: Why Do You Have Them?

In short, because your melanin-producing skin cells function insufficiently. Whether it’s your heredity, auto-immune disorder, vitamin deficiency thyroid hyper activity or any other cause, only a medical professional can determine it. However, we will provide you with some useful information as well. You may have white spots on face & body due to the skin disorders, listed below.

#1 Vitiligo

VitiligoWhen you are getting sun tan, some areas of your skin remain absolutely white, without any tan? It can be vitiligo. 2% of American population (2-5 million people) are affected by this disorder. Why does it occur? The exact causes aren’t determined yet family history and autoimmune diseases count. As a matter of fact, our skin contains special cells – melanocytes (from Greek melanos – dark). Under UV influence melanocytes begin to produce pigment (melanin) that colors our skin in a darker hue to protect it from UV radiance. In other words, in response to ultraviolet melanocytes excrete a colorant that simply rises to the skin surface, physically making it darker. Due to some reasons a person may have areas deprived of this capacity. Why? Our organism begins to eliminate melanocytes, causing auto-immune melanocyte destruction.

#2 Scarring

Skin areas, affected by scarring or scar conjunctive tissue don’t contain melanocytes either. That’s why scars don’t get any tan, same like skin areas, affected by vitiligo.

Both conditions (vitiligo & scarring) don’t present any dangers for life. White patches on skin in this relation rather turn into a cosmetic problem. If it really bothers you, firstly, you shouldn’t sunbathe and, secondly, visiting a dermatologist will help to determine what’s exactly going on with you.

# 3 Pituriasis Versicolor

Pituriasis VersicolorThis kind of white spots on skin looks inhomogeneously: some are whitish, others are pinkish. Contrasts between different skin areas become more visible after sun exposure. This skin condition has fungal origin. Yeast Malassezia affects corneal layers of epidermis and pilar part of skin. Here yeasts live and propagate. A part of their ferments, azelaic acid, affects melanocytes so that they can’t produce melanin anymore. Since pigment disappears gradually, spots vary in hue – pink through white. Let’s look at such spots’ characteristics in greater detail:

  • Tiny light spots on skin first appear on your back and you normally don’t notice them yourself.
  • Later they occur also on chest, neck, armpits, shoulders; sometimes slight lymph nodes inflammation joins up.
  • Visually they have distinct borders.
  • The color is rather dark brown than white, but after sun exposure they change to the opposite.
  • People with light skin before going to beach may be unaware of their skin problem, it becomes evident only after sun exposure.
  • No inflammation but white spots are flaky.

How to prevent Pituriasis (Tinea) Versicolor?

  • Wash the pilose and hairless skin areas on head with different solutions and in different ways so that the infection doesn’t spread to healthy skin.
  • Personal hygiene is a must: don’t ever share your towels, clothes, bath sponges, etc., with other people.

#4 Nevus Achromicus

Nevus AchromicusIt’s characterized by hypopigmented or depigmented skin areas – white spots on skin, caused by insufficient melanin production by melanocytes. These white or light colored spots are permanent, inborn, unlike vitiligo. They won’t progress or disappear with age. Nevus Achromicus can’t be treated.

#5 Venus Necklace

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? However, what stands behind this poetic term is rather prosaic – the sign of secondary syphilis – infectious, courageous disease that can threaten human life if not treated. While vitiligo, mentioned above, belongs to auto-immune processes, here we are dealing with immune organism’s reactions. Syphilis is easily treated by antibiotics of the penicillin group (the 1st antibiotics produced in history). Venus necklace appears at the base of the neck.

#6 Pityriasis Alba

Pityriasis Alba“Pityriasis” refers to scaly appearance, while “alba” means “white” in Latin. Pityriasis Alba occurs in children and looks like dry, pale, yet not totally depigmented fine-scaled patches on face, which don’t require any specific treatment apart from a good moisturizing cream. In time white patches will settle.

# 7 Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis

Idiopathic Guttate HypomelanosisThis condition manifests through benign irregular hypopigmented white spots on sun-exposed areas in people over 30 y.o. Being more frequent in women, idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis affects men as well and also due to unknown reasons. They may be associated with fair skin, sun exposure, hereditary factors and natural aging processes.

# 8 Vitamins & Microelements Deficiencies

Vitamins D, E, B12 are responsible for skin health. Their lack can also lead to white spots. In this case you simply need to correct your diet, since skin marks are not the only health problems malnutrition may trigger.

Well, hopefully, this information has provided you with necessary answers and you understand what steps to take next. However, it should be reminded that only a dermatologist will provide you with qualified answers to the questions, related to you personally. One specific feature of dermatology is a possibility to diagnose conditions only from physical appearance of the affected skin areas, so all your doubts will likely be dispelled during your first appointment. Don’t postpone it for indefinite future.

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