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Many different conditions may cause white spots on the skin. Most of the white spots are easily treatable, but it is important to know what causes them. Some of the white spots need medical attention as well. In this article, you will find tips on preventing white spots from appearing on the skin. White spots usually fade away with time, but they may sometimes last for years before they fade naturally or disappear after some medical treatment. Lets know in detail about white spots its causes, treatment, and prevention.
What are white spots?
White spots or hypopigmented spots can be due to many reasons like
Some women experience a specific type of discoloration in pregnancy, also known as melasma, which looks like dark brown patches on the face caused by melanocytic hormones. The melasma is more pronounced in pregnant women who spend a lot of time in the sun because their skin responds with increased pigmentation to protect themselves from further damage. It may fade away after birth if you have melasma during pregnancy, but there is no way to prevent it.
- Sun exposure
Exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light can cause white spots because melanin production increases to protect the skin from further damage. The increased melanin also causes lighter patches of the skin resulting in white areas.
- Certain medications
The side effects of some medicines may cause white spots on the face, hands, arms, or any other place where they are applied. Some drugs that show this side effect include contraceptive pills, penicillin, tetracycline-based antibiotics, corticosteroids used for asthma and arthritis, and anti-epileptic medication like phenytoin sodium. If you experience this side effect while taking any drug, consult your doctor for advice regarding alternative medicines.
People with this condition are born white with no pigment in their hair, skin, and eyes, resulting in a lack of color or pinkish color in the eye’s iris. No colouring affects vision, especially under bright light conditions like sunlight. People suffering from albinism are susceptible to sunlight even if they are wearing sunscreen.
- Pigmentation disorders like vitiligo
Some pigmentation disorders like vitiligo can also cause white spots on the skin. These are autoimmune conditions in which melanocytes or pigment-producing cells in the skin get destroyed, resulting in loss of colour or white pigmentation. Vitiligo is a more common condition that causes patchy loss of color in some parts of the body, while Leucoderma causes all-over loss of colour in some skin parts.
- Tinea versicolor
Tinea versicolor, also known as pityriasis Versicolor, is a skin condition caused by a common yeast (Malassezia furfur) living on the skin. This yeast causes conditions affecting the skin called dermatophytosis which produces round, scaly patches of pink or brown colour. These lesions become lighter in winter and darker in summer seasons due to change in humidity levels.
- Pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba is also known as milk spots. It causes mild discoloration of the skin on the face, neck, arms, and hands. There may be white scaly patches on the cheeks or near ears that fade away over time. This condition only affects children.
- post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
White spots after acne can be due to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which means increased skin pigmentation in some areas after an injury like acne, chickenpox, keratosis pilaris, etc. The increase in melanin production is triggered by an immune response resulting in the darkening or lightening of scars depending on their colour. Usually, this condition clears up within 12 months, but sometimes it may last longer than that. You can apply a bleaching cream made for this purpose to lighten the area.
- Discoid LupusÂ
This is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin in which red patches with silvery scales appear on any part of the body involving sun-exposed areas like the face and hands. The cause for this condition is unknown, but it may be due to some autoimmune reaction. White spots after acne or chickenpox can appear on the face at times due to discoid lupus erythematosus. This condition can affect both men and women. People suffering from this condition should avoid exposure to sunlight as much as possible and use sunscreen lotion regularly, especially those who have had skin cancer before.
This is a rare inflammatory condition causing scarring, thickening, and hardening of the skin on the face or other body parts. It is more common in young women and usually starts as red patches, which later turn into a white color that may be itchy. This condition can develop after an injury to the skin or any surgery on it. In some cases, systemic corticosteroid medications are used for treatment, but most often, surgery is done to remove the affected area of skin by cutting out from surrounding areas.
This is a bacterial infection by Mycobacterium leprae that affects the skin and nerves causing pain, numbness, red discoloration, swelling, and dry skin patches leading to thickening of the skin, which becomes white. This infection can spread from one person to another through touching or sexual contact. This disease has been eradicated now, but many people still suffer from this condition in some world areas. You should avoid touching strangers if you feel any tingling sensation on your skin, which can signify early-onset.
- Skin Lymphoma
Primary skin lymphoma is a rare cancer of the skin which causes white spots on sun-exposed areas. It affects people in their 50s to 70s and can cause problems like itching, tenderness, redness, and changes in the colour or size of patches. Depending on its location and type, the treatment options include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgical removal, or phototherapy.
- Nevus Depigmentosus
It is a rare mutation of the cells of pigment-producing melanocytes. These spots are usually found on sun-exposed areas of skin and become lighter in colour during winter and darker in summer months due to sun exposure. These spots can also be itchy and cause some pain. There is no treatment needed for this condition unless people experience psychological distress linked to these lesions.
These are various skin conditions that lead to white spots on sun-exposed areas of skin. Usually, this condition clears up on its own in time, but if it does not, you should visit a dermatologist or skin to get the problem diagnosed properly and follow the treatment plan suggested.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencyÂ
When your body lacks an insufficient amount of Vitamin D, Iron, B12, or calcium for a long time, it can lead to white spots on the face. These white patches usually occur after other symptoms like fatigue, weakness, or swelling of the feet, so you should visit a doctor soon to investigate the problem. Besides, excessive use of tanning beds and sun exposure also lead to white spots, so take care if you have any such conditions.
There are red and silver-coloured patches seen with psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that can give rise to various problems, including white spots on the face. It occurs when skin cells grow too quickly and form thick crusts on the skin, developing cracks. This condition is usually itchy and painful to take the help of dermatologists soon. Usually, the patches clear up with treatment, but in some cases, surgical removal may be required to get rid of the problem promptly.
Another condition that can cause white spots on the skin is depigmentation which occurs when melanocytes stop producing pigment leading to a loss in colour. It usually develops as a side effect of some medications like beta-blockers, anti-seizure drugs, retinoids, or chloroquine. This condition may lead to patches due to lack of pigmentation, but it does not itch or cause any pain. The treatment includes removal of medication or introduction of supplements, creams, or light therapy.
These are also among some of the common reasons for the appearance of white patches on your skin. So, if you have these spots on your skin, it’s time to visit a skin doctor and find out what is lacking in your body. A timely visit to a skin doctor or dermatologist can help you get rid of the problem and clear your skin.
When should you visit a skin doctor or dermatologist?
If you see any changes in the colour or size of pigmentation on your skin, then it is essential to visit a dermatologist once. Here are some things which can be reasons for concern:
- Changes in colour, shape, or size of existing moles
- Appearance of new lesions
- Itchy swelling, redness, or rashes on the skin
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, fatigue, etc., along with skin issues5.Abnormal smelling discharge from mole
- Bloody scab around the lesion
So make sure you consult a skin doctor when you have this kind of problem. You should also visit a dermatologist if any family members have had melanoma, other cancers, or autoimmune disorders because this condition may be caused by blood cancer too.
How can your dermatologist or skin doctor differentiate between white spots?
If a skin doctor is unsure about the skin condition causing white spots on your skin, they can do specific skin tests.
- Biopsyis an essential diagnostic test as it involves the removal of a small piece of tissue from the affected area to be analysed under a microscope. If any cancerous cells are detected, further treatment is given according to the stage it has developed.
- Complete blood count (CBC) â€“Â This test gives information on red and white blood cells, haemoglobin level, platelet count, and haematocrit, due to which doctors can find any blood-related diseases.
- Cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) testis a tumour marker that checks for cancer-associated antigens in the body. It measures the amount of this substance in your blood, which increases when high quantities of cancer cells are present in our body.
- Wood lamp examination-Â This test is done to check for any metabolic or infectious skin conditions because it emits ultraviolet rays, which help diagnose white spots caused by fungal infections like tinea versicolor.
These test helps dermatologist to diagnose the type of white spots you have. Also, they can make a proper diagnosis by asking about your medical history and analysing the skin condition.
What are the nine ways to prevent white spots?
- Practice safe sun- As we all know; our mother was right when she told us to cover up and use sunscreen. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection. Also, apply it 20 minutes before going out in the sun so that it can bind to your skin correctly. Try wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, UV coated clothes for extra protection.
- Wear protective clothing- Wearing long sleeves shirt, long pants, closed shoes are essential as they protect you from direct exposure to the sun, which may cause white spots on the face, neck, etc. Make sure you tuck your shirt inside your pants, or there will be no point in wearing them. Also, it would help if you did not forget to change your wardrobe as old clothes may have a less protective factor.
- Eat a healthy diet- Eat a balanced diet that has a sufficient amount of Vitamin A, C, E, and proteins as they help maintain the health of hair follicles and nails apart from promoting glowing skin. They also give our skin a healthy texture.
- Reduce stress- Try doing things that can benefit you and keep your mind positive, as mental health also affects our skincare routine. If you have too much pressure, it may trigger the condition of white spots as they are caused by hormonal imbalance. So do yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises to release tension from your body.
- Eat food rich in antioxidants â€“ Eat food items like Green tea, blueberries, loads of fruits and vegetables, red wine, walnuts, etc. They help fight free radicals that cause damage to skin cells and lead to the formation of white spots.
- Exercise regularly- Try exercising at least 30 minutes a day for four days a week as it improves your blood circulation, which prevents you from infections caused by white spots. It also helps us stay healthy and fit along with preventing various other diseases.
- Stop smoking- As we all know, smoking is dangerous for health apart from causing mouth, lung cancer, heart attack, etc., so stop or limit yourself from consuming cigarettes/bidis as they may also cause white spots due to harmful effects of nicotine.
- Try Supplements- Taking multivitamins and fish oil supplements also help in preventing white spots because they contain vitamin B and omega 3 fatty acids, which prevent dryness and flaking of the skin.
- Get regular check-ups are done- It is a very important part of preventing white spots, so schedule your health checkups at regular intervals because it tells you the status of your health and lets you know about any skin conditions that may affect you in the future. Also, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, be careful as it is also one of the causes that leads to the development of white spots on the face, hands, etc.
So, these are some ways by following which you can prevent white spots on the face or neck, hands, etc. But remember, there is no cure for them except consulting a dermatologist. You can also visit a homeopahty doctor for homeopathic skin treatment for white spots. Homeopathic treatment for white spots not only prevents them from reoccurring but also reduces their appearance gradually. Always visit a registered homeopathy doctor to get white spots treated at the earliest to prevent further complications. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy now!