White spots on the skin can be caused by various factors, ranging from skin diseases such as vitiligo to excessive sun exposure.
Discoloration of the skin in the form of white spots can occur anywhere on the body, for example:
The loss of skin color is called hypopigmentation. This disease occurs with deficiency:
- Melanocytes (cells of the skin).
The color of human skin is determined by the presence of melanin, a substance (pigment) produced in the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis).
The concentration of this substance determines the color of the skin.
Melanin is a product of melanocytes, which are cells in the basal layer of the epidermis.
People with dark or brunette skin have a higher proportion of melanin than people with light skin.
The regular melanin production is very important in order not to lose the natural skin color.
Small white spots on the skin indicate a malfunction of melanocytes. The result is insufficient production of melanin.
Diseases that cause small white spots on the skin
The discoloration of the skin, which does not pass on its own, is caused by a decrease in melanin. However, it can also indicate an infection of the skin.
Usually viral and bacterial infections cause:
However, fungi often cause white spots, which can also be observed on the tongue.
The following are the main causes.
Fungal infections of the skin
Fungal infections can cause white spots on the outermost layer of the skin.
Even though fungi are always present on the skin, they can cause discomfort if they grow beyond a certain limit.
Too many fungi on the skin cause a condition called tinea or pityriasis versicolor.
This disease is a yeast infection of the species Malassezia (unlike Candida vaginalis or intestinalis), which is more common in young adults.
This can be seen when the affected area changes color and the color loss is represented by small white spots on the skin.
These bright spots with irregular border usually arise on:
In some cases, people with this fungal infection observe the formation of light brown or reddish spots.
People with oily skin have a greater risk of developing this fungal infection.
This condition is caused by low melanin production and causes the formation of small dots or white spots about 0.5-1 cm in size.
As a result, the small, closely spaced spots unite and form white, irregularly defined spots.
In contrast to vitiligo:
- these white spots remain limited to the area where they appear;
- do not spread to other parts of the body.
Etwa 20% der Fälle von achromatischen Naevi treten bei Säuglingen auf.
Es handelt sich um ein chronisches Hautproblem, das sich aufgrund von Melaninmangel äußert, bildet jedoch nur lokalisierte weiße Flecke.
Studien zeigen, dass Melanin in dieser Umgebung nicht fehlt, sondern in unzureichender Menge vorhanden ist, weil die Melanozyten nicht ausreichend funktionieren.
Pityriasis alba bei Kindern
Kleine weiße Flecke auf der Haut, die sich auf Gesicht, Arme und den Halsbereich beschränken, können auf eine Pityriasis alba hinweisen. Dieses vorübergehende Hautproblem tritt vorwiegend bei kleinen Kindern zwischen 6 und 12 Jahren im Gesicht auf.
Diese Erkrankung befällt vor allem:
Sie ist im Sommer besonders deutlich zu sehen, weil die Bräunung den Farbunterschied unterstreicht.
- verliert oberflächliche Zellen und Melanin.
Symptoms and signs of pityriasis alba
The spots appear in three phases and sometimes itch:
1. In the first phase, they are red and somewhat raised, although the reddening of the skin may be weak;
2. as a result, they will become bright and slightly itchy;
3. Finally, they remain smooth, flat and white.
The skin lesions are:
In most cases, the white and scaly spots have a size of:
- 1-2 cm on the face,
- up to 4 cm on the body.
Hypopigmentation on the skin can last for a few months in young boys and girls, but also for 10 years.
During the summer, UV rays can tan the skin, making the spots even brighter and more visible. However, this disturbance also exists in winter.
Hypomelanosis guttata idiopathica
In this disease, the white spots appear on the skin areas that are mainly exposed to the sun.
Hypomelanosis guttata idiopathica causes damage to the cells that produce melanin.
These small spots of 2-5 mm size are located on:
Tissue samples of the skin affected by hypomelanosis guttata idiopathica indicate:
- lack of melanin,
- significant reduction in melanocytes.
These white spots appear mainly in areas exposed to the sun. This means that the sun’s ultraviolet rays could be responsible for hypomelanosis guttate idiopathica.
This disease is not common.
At the initial stage, it is characterized by patches of thin, white skin.
The spots can appear on any part of the body, but they are mainly located in the area of the anus and genitals.
Lichen sclerosus is most common in postmenopausal women.
psoriasis is a skin condition that affects the life cycle of skin cells.
Psoriasis causes the formation of whitish or silver scales on the skin.
In such an area, the skin is:
Sometimes pain makes itself felt.
The treatment of psoriasis consists exclusively of alleviating the symptoms and the appearance, because it is a chronic disease that is not curable.
Vitiligo In vitiligo
, the skin does not produce melanin because the melanocytes are destroyed.
At the initial stage, vitiligo appears like small white spots on the skin.
Over time, these dots grow larger and become large, white spots.
In the end, the loss of skin color affects other areas of the body.
Usually, the areas most affected by vitiligo are:
- the face (the area around the eyes and mouth),
- the arms from the hands to the elbows,
- the legs from the feet to the knees.
Without treatment, the abnormal skin color spreads all over the body.
The disease can affect anyone, from children to the elderly. Particularly affected are people with:
- Thyroid disease.
Cuts and abrasions
When skin injuries heal, a white spot remains that disappears over time.
In the case of abrasion, healing can occur in a few days, while in the case of a deep incision, a wound suture may be required, which takes several weeks to heal.
White spots after depilation
If the skin is treated with wax after tanning, you can observe the formation of white spots, because the outermost layer of skin peels off.
The skin is still tanned, so after a few days the stain should pass.
2 – 3 days after a long stay in the sun, the top layer of skin peels off and leaves lighter spots.
To avoid this, it is recommended:
- Apply sunscreen before sunbathing.
- Use a moisturizer in the evening before bedtime.
In old age, the melanin concentration is no longer homogeneous. This means that the areas where it is missing may have bright spots.
This phenomenon occurs mainly on the arms and legs.
What to do in case of white facial spots?
The treatment of white spots depends on the underlying cause. As a rule, the doctor prescribes local treatments, such as:
- special creams,
- Lotions containing cortisone.
It may be necessary to stay away from sunlight and ultraviolet rays, as these interfere with treatment.
There are some natural remedies that can be tried to speed up the healing process and improve the appearance of the face.
Natural remedies for white spots on the skin
- Attention sun – Limit your stay in direct sunlight to a minimum.
Before going outside, apply an effective sunscreen half an hour before.
- Skin cleansing – Keep the face clean from dust and other microorganisms.
- Apple cider vinegar – Due to its acidity, this home remedy can destroy bacteria and fungi that cause the white spots.
Mix a few drops of it with water and wash the affected areas with the solution.
In this way, the skin areas can be cleaned of bacteria and fungi. Rinse the face once a day with diluted apple cider vinegar, as this reduces the growth of bacteria and fungi.
- Hydration – Keep the face well moisturized, because dryness can aggravate white spots.
- Antifungal cream – In case of fungal infection, use an over-the-counter antifungal local cream.
- Exfoliation – Remove dead cells from the skin’s surface with gentle microgranule peeling. In the case of an existing fungal infection, peeling of the skin should be avoided.
- Shampoo with ketoconazole – Apply an anti-dandruff shampoo containing ketoconazole to the white spots (assuming the patient does not have an allergy to this drug). After 15 minutes, rinse off the skin with water.
- Greek hay – Soak Greek hay seeds overnight in a glass of water. The following morning, wash your face with it.
- Aloe Vera – To achieve a quick healing success, you can apply the pulp of the aloe vera to the white spots.
- Ginger or garlic – Make a paste of ginger or garlic and apply to the affected areas on the face to restore the skin to normal condition.
Treatment of white spots caused by disease
After diagnosing the skin disease, the doctor will draw up a treatment plan.
Depending on the underlying disease, subsequent treatment options are possible.
Tinea versicolor As a rule, a skin condition such as tinea versicolor
is treated with topical antifungal drugs.
The doctor prescribes over-the-counter medications such as:
These remedies must be applied for fourteen days and can help the white skin spots disappear.
Other topical treatment options include lotions with:
- selenium sulphide,
- Zinc pyrithione.
Oral antifungal drugs such as Nizoral or Sempera may be prescribed for patients with tinea versicolor.
Treatment of vitiligo Unfortunately, vitiligo
cannot be treated definitively. To significantly reduce them, the best option remains to start therapy at the initial stages.
Since the small white spots on the skin are the first symptoms of vitiligo, the local application of corticosteroids in the form of creams is effective to significantly reduce the depigmentation of the skin.
Treatment of vitiligo is also possible through the use of herbal remedies.
Treatment of pityriasis alba
In order to achieve correct pigmentation of the affected areas, treatment is usually not required.
The skin can return to its original skin color without any treatment.
Nevertheless, some products may be helpful; These include:
- soothing and cleansing oils,
- especially moisturizing creams.
The use of local corticosteroids is a frequently recommended therapy for patients with pityriasis alba.
Cortisone-containing agents help to:
Long-term use of local cortisone-containing pharmaceuticals is not recommended because of their side effects. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted to know exactly how long a treatment is allowed to last.
Moisturizing creams and oils can be applied daily to reduce hypopigmentation.
Treatment should be continued during the winter months, even if you do not notice the spots.
Hydration of the skin prevents relapses in the summer months.
Treatment of idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
As a rule, idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis is not treated because they are benign spots that do not cause symptoms.
Treatment of idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis consists of:
- use of cortisone-containing creams,
- Cryotherapy – the icing of the affected areas with liquid nitrogen.
In this way, the affected skin is destroyed, which helps to restore its color.
- Dermabrasion – may be beneficial for patients with idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. The devices used in this therapy also serve to remove the uppermost layer of the skin.
- Applying sunscreen can help solve the problem.
Sometimes the treatments cause:
- dark spots larger than the spots provoked by this disease.
Applying sunscreen is the best treatment for an achromatic nevus.
Prevention of white spots on the skin
Small white spots on the skin are not a cause for concern if they do not increase.
The best way to prevent the appearance of such spots is:
- reduce exposure to the sun or under UV lamps to a minimum;
- the use of appropriate solar filters.
Sun rays are dangerous, they can promote the development of skin cancer (melanoma), especially in people who have many moles.
On the other hand, medical treatment must be given if these spots increase in size to prevent further skin damage.