White Spots on Skin

White spots on skin usually indicate a loss of skin pigmentation, and these may happen as small spots or big spots that might appear anywhere in the body. This condition might be because of various skin conditions, the most common which is vitiligo.

Skin discoloration is a common skin problem, and this can be found in the kind of white spots, dark spots or other changes in skin color. White spots on skin usually indicate a loss of skin coloring, and these might take place as small spots or large patches that might appear throughout the body, including the neck, shoulders, upper back, the shins, and the lower arms. White spots on the skin do not normally cause pain, itching, or inflammation, but they normally cause distress, specifically in people with darker skin, where the contrast in skin color is more obvious.

White spots may happen in individuals of all races or skin color. They affect both sexes, and prevail in individuals who reside in hot, humid environments. Some white spots turn into brown spots covered by whitish flaky skin This type of white spots might be accompanied by itching.

Causes of White Spots on Skin

There are lots of possible causes of white spots, however the most common is vitiligo.

Vitiligo

White spots that develop on many areas of one’s skin are normally caused by vitiligo.

Causes: Vitiligo is a condition characterized by the loss of skin pigment called melanin, which is usually produced by cells called melanocytes. Discoloration is caused by the damage of the melanocytes, however the exact cause is unknowned. One mechanism that has been proposed involves the body’s immune system, which damages its own cells, which is particular of autoimmune disease.

Risk Factors: Around 2-5 million Americans or as much as two percent of the United States population are impacted by vitiligo. The white spots usually appear early, between the first and 3rd decades of life. Males and female are equally affected. Risk factors include:

  • Family history of vitiligo
  • Premature graying of hair
  • Autoimmune illness like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Symptoms: A quick loss of skin coloring frequently indicates the development of vitiligo. Nevertheless, it may also be followed by a period of stability where the condition does not appear to advance. Cycles of rapid whitish discoloration and stability might follow.

White spots on skin due to vitiligo normally impacts the exposed body parts and skin folds (like the armpit), however might also impact areas of previous injury, skin around moles or body openings. It can likewise be observed on the hair and eyelids.

When the white spots have developed, the skin may not go back to its regular color.

Diagnosis and Treatment: The diagnosis of this skin problem is easily made by a doctor after taking a medical history and health examination. However, one can neither avoid nor completely cure vitiligo, according to iytmed.com. The goal of treatment is to improve the physical appearance of the skin using cosmetics to camouflage the white spots, inducing re-pigmentation using corticosteroid treatment or phototherapy, decreasing the pigmentation of untouched area, and by skin grafting.

white spotting on skin

Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor or ptyriasis versicolor is another common and harmless skin condition that impacts skin color.

Causes: It is caused by yeast called Malassezia, which usually exist in small numbers on the skin. Particular conditions nevertheless, can cause the overgrowth of the yeast, causing the development of white and reddish-brown spots on skin. Moist, warm, and oily skin motivates yeast overgrowth particularly in the upper arms, neck, abdomen, and thighs. It is not a contagious disease.

Risk Factors: Conditions that lead to the appearance of white spots on the skin associated to tinea versicolor include warm and humid environment, extreme sweating, oily skin, malnutrition, pregnancy, medications such as corticosteroids, or any factor that may weaken the body immune system.

Treatments: Antifungal medications such as terbinafine, clotrimazole, or miconazole might be used to treat the infection. Hair shampoo consisting of selenium sulfide may be applied as a cream on impacted skin prior to bedtime. This might be rinsed in the early morning. One ought to consult a skin doctor if symptoms continue after these over the counter treatments made an application for at least two weeks.

Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis

White spots that are flat and determine about two to 5 millimeters in diameter are particular of a skin problem understood asidiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. Although they are typically smooth, they can also become scaly. They prevail among women and in people with fair skin, but they may also happen in individuals with darker skin tones. They are usually seen on areas of the body exposed to the sun such as the face, forearms, shoulders, and shins.

Causes: Its name (idiopathic) shows that the cause is unidentified. However, the appearance of the white spots on skin seems to be related to natural aging, given that they take place in individuals older than 40 years. Hereditary elements may be included since this skin problem appears to run in families.

Risk Factors: Women, fair skin, genetic factors and aging are amongst the risk factors leading to the development of idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis.

Pityriasis Alba

This typical skin discoloration affects children and teenagers. This condition is defined by the appearance of dry, flaky white spots on one’s face. These white skin patches are more noticeable during summertime due to the fact that of tanning in the surrounding skin. In winter season, patches end up being dry and flaky. Raised reddish spots may appear and later turn pale, becoming smooth and flat spots. They are frequently discovered on the neck, shoulders, upper arms, and face. The cause is unidentified.

Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation is defines as loss of color in the skin. This takes place when the melanocytes (pigment-producing cells in the skin) are depleted or when the amino acid called tyrosine decreases. This reduces of the production of skin pigments called melanin. Thus, white spots on skin are because of depletion of melanin in the skin.

Mole Depigmentosus

This type of skin depigmentation is quickly distinguished from vitiligo due to the fact that the white spots are long-term or steady in nature. The skin is not completely achromatic and hair found on the skin area is often white.

Malnutrition

White spotting on skin may likewise be because of poor nutrition. Shortages in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E can cause the appearance of white spots on the skin. These skin marks are harmless however they indicate that you have to eat a healthy balanced diet to avoid discoloration of the skin. Seek advice from a doctor for suggestions regarding taking dietary supplements for healthy skin.

 

References

Updated: November 14, 2016 — 10:38 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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