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What are white spots on skin and how to treat it

White spots on skin can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from simple mycosis and white freckles to skin problems such as dermatitis, hypomelanosis or vitiligo.

When a spot appears on your skin you should note its size, where it is located, when it appeared and if other symptoms are present, such as itching, dry skin or peeling. If you verify this, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist so that the cause may be identified, and you can start the most appropriate treatment.

Some possible causes of white spots or patches on the skin and their treatment are:

1. Skin mycosis 

Beach mycosis on the back
Beach mycosis on the back

One of the most common causes of small white spots on skin, which are very itchy and can spread through large areas of the body are beach mycosis, pityriasis versicolor or tinea versicolor, as it is also known.

Despite the name beach mycosis, probably the person already had the mycosis, but only realized after going to the beach, because the affected area wasn't tanned. Usually the fungus that causes this mycosis naturally inhabits the skin, but due to some alteration, it becomes unpleasant, multiplying a lot, forming typical spots that affect the cervix, trunk or back.

  • What to do: pass an antifungal ointment indicated by a dermatologist, which may be Isoconazole, Ketoconazole or Miconazole. Shampoo, soaps and gels may also be indicated to supplement the treatment. To prevent other people in the house from being affected each person should use their own bath towel and not share their clothes. See some of the ointments that can be used to treat.

2. Blemishes caused by sun exposure

White spots caused by sun exposure
White spots caused by sun exposure

Sometimes light-skinned people or brunettes get tanned when they go to the beach or pool and after a few days the skin peels, appearing small white patches, which appear especially on the arms, chest and back.

  • What to do: It is important to moisturize your skin daily, and to put sunscreen always before exposing yourself to the sun because the skin is thinner and more sensitive, and has a higher risk being sunburnt. Ideally you should moisturize your skin very well about 10 days before going to the beach and eat foods high in vitamin A such as carrots, tomatoes, boiled eggs, papaya and mangos, because the more hydrated the skin is, the lower the risk of flaking and developing blemishes.

3. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that appears most often in babies, but it can appear at any age. Usually, dermatitis causes red patches, plaques or lumps, but when they disappear, they can make the area whiter.

  • What to do: Usually you need to use steroid medication prescribed by a dermatologist, such as Fenirax, twice a day. In addition, the skin should be kept hydrated, and an antihistamine remedy may also be needed to relieve itching.

4. White freckles

White freckles on the leg
White freckles on the leg

Light brown people can develop several small white freckles that may appear on the hands, arms or legs, especially after 40 years of age. This usually happens in people who have fair skin or who have been exposed to the sun for many years without sunscreen.

  • What to do: It is recommended you protect your skin from the sun by always using sunscreen when you go to the beach or pool, or whenever you spend more than 15 minutes exposed to the sun. Wearing a hat and gloves can also be helpful in preventing the sun's rays from aggravating skin lesions.

5. Vitiligo

Vitiligo on the face, chest and arms
Vitiligo on the face, chest and arms

This is a disease that leads to the appearance of large white patches on the skin, which can affect the inside of the mouth as well. Its cause is not fully known but is believed to occur due to a genetic changes or due to an alteration in your immune system, where the body starts to fight against melanocytes.

  • What to do: The doctor can indicate treatments such as phototherapy or applying creams and ointments with corticosteroids and / or immunosuppressants. One of the medications that may be indicated is Melagenina plus which stimulates the production of melanocytes and melanin, thus smoothing the tone of your skin.

6. Hypomelanosis

Hypomelanosis
Hypomelanosis

It is not caused by any fungus, being a characteristic of the person and very common in Brazil. In these cases there are some parts of the body that are lighter than the person's skin tone, and although sun exposure improves contrast, the affected parts are always lighter than the rest of the body. This skin change is more common in people who have some type of allergy.

  • What to do: Although you do not need any specific treatment, sun exposure early in the morning or late afternoon may be helpful in trying to even out your skin tone.

7. Tuberous Sclerosis 

Tuberous sclerosis in children
Tuberous sclerosis in children

Also known as Bourneville disease or Epiloia. It is characterized by the appearance of white patches isolated from each other that can affect any part of the body, although the trunk is more common. They are often first identified in infants or children up to the age of 6, and there may only be 1 or more than 100 spots on the body.

  • What to do: You should consult a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment to avoid complications such as seizures or even kidney problems

White spots can be cancer?

Non-melanoma skin cancer can cause a spot on whitish skin, with uneven edges and the spot has different textures and colors. In that case you should go to a dermatologist so he can observe and verify if it can be skin cancer and how to treat it. See other characteristics and photos of skin cancer.

White spots can be caused by worms?

White spots on skin are not always indicative of the presence of worms. Although associating this symptom with worms is normal, because when a person has worms it is common for their body not to fully absorb the vitamins and food nutrients, and this lack of Vitamins can cause white patches on the skin. The main vitamins that cause white patches on the skin are calcium, vitamin D and E. They can be found in milk, sardines, butter and peanuts, for example.

If the cause of white spots on the skin is actually worms, they should be identified in a parasitological stool examination and treatment can be done with the use of worm medication. See other symptoms of parasitic worms.

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