Skin discoloration is a common problem experienced by a number of people. When the skin loses its pigment known as melanin, the formation of white spots may occur. Small spots or large patches may appear anywhere in the body and it can affect anyone. Numerous medical conditions can cause this. Although this problem is not associated with life-threatening diseases, it can be unappealing and embarrassing. The good news, you can use various treatments to resolve this problem.
What are the Causes of White Spots on Skin?
White patches on the skin may appear due to various reasons. The following are medical conditions that can cause this skin problem.
Melanin gives the skin its natural color. Melanocytes are cells responsible for the production of melanin. Destruction of these cells will lead to a decreased melanin production. For vitiligo, the exact cause of this phenomenon is unknown. However, some experts believe that it is due to the body attacking its melanocytes, like in cases of autoimmune diseases.
For vitiligo, rapid skin discoloration will typically begin in the areas exposed to the sun such as the face, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Other symptoms may include premature graying or whitening of the eyelashes, eyebrows, and the hair. The retina will also lose its natural color.
As of today, there are no drugs or procedures for the permanent treatment of vitiligo. However, there are means to manage it. The doctor can prescribe phototherapy to decrease the pigmentation of the skin. He may also recommend corticosteroids to induce repigmentation. You can also apply cosmetics to hide the white spots.
- Tinea Versicolor
Another cause of white patches is a fungal infection known as Tinea Versicolor. The yeast, Malassezia, is the causative agent of this disease. An oily, warm, and moist skin encourages the overgrowth of yeast. Thus, people living in tropical areas have a high risk of developing this condition. It is also more prevalent in people who sweat excessively. Other symptoms may include itchiness and a scaly skin texture.
The most common treatment for this medical condition is an antifungal medication such as clotrimazole, miconazole, and terbinafine. You can also use shampoos that have selenium sulfide. You can apply it on the infected area at night and rinse it off once you wake up. If the symptoms persist after two weeks, you should consult your dermatologists.
- Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis
When these spots have a diameter of 2 to 5 millimeters, the skin discoloration is due to idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. The term “idiopathic” indicates that its cause is unknown. However, some experts associate it to the natural aging process since it is common in people aging 40 years old and above. This condition is also hereditary, thus genetics may play a role in the decrease of melanin production. Furthermore, women with fair skin have a higher risk of developing this skin problem. Most of the time, the white spots are smooth, but it can turn into a scaly texture. It appears in skin areas exposed to direct sunlight such as the face, neck, arms, and legs.
- Pityriasis Alba
Pityriasis alba is a skin discoloration problem typically seen in children and teenagers. The white patches with a dry and scaly texture may appear on the face. However, they can also appear on the arms, neck, and shoulders. These patches are more visible during the summer season due to skin tanning. Its exact cause is unknown. However, it can disappear even without treatment.
The formation of white spots on the skin may indicate a nutrient deficiency. Skin discoloration will appear if you have low amounts of calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin D. A balanced diet can help resolve this issue. You can also seek your doctor’s opinion regarding supplements.
Hypopigmentation occurs when the skin loses its natural color. It can be due to the depletion of melanocytes. When your body has low levels of tyrosine (amino acid), it can also cause a low melanin production. Both conditions can lead to the formation of white spots.
How to Get Rid of White Spots on Skin at Home?
White patches of skin are unappealing. Depending on the condition, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. You can also use the following natural products for your home remedies.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Known as a natural remedy for various skin problems, ACV can help treat white patches caused by fungus or yeast due to its antifungal properties. To use this remedy, you have to dilute ACV in water. You can use this solution to wash the infected area.
- Honey and Sandalwood
Honey along with sandalwood is an excellent remedy for white spots caused by yeast due to honey’s antifungal properties. Sandalwood has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. You can use this remedy by mixing the two ingredients to create a paste. Apply the paste on the infected area; let it sit for about 10 minutes, and rinse.
- Coconut Oil
Due to coconut oil’s antifungal properties, it can help treat white patches of skin. It can also improve blood circulation. You can also use it as a moisturizer for dry and scaly skin.
- Copper Ions
Copper ions can encourage the body to produce melanin, thus treating skin discoloration. To use this remedy, you will need a copper glass or container. Place water in the copper container and allow it to sit at room temperature overnight. You can drink the water every day until the white spots disappear.
- Red Clay and Ginger juice
Another copper containing product is red clay. Ginger juice, on the other hand, has antioxidants and can help improve blood circulation. You can use this remedy by mixing red clay and ginger juice. Gently rub the paste on the white spots for 1 or 2 minutes and rinse after 10 minutes.
Most patients with vitiligo have low levels of vitamin B12. Yogurt can help treat vitiligo because of its vitamin B12 contents. You can add yogurt to your diet to reap its healthful benefits.
Papaya is a good remedy for treating white spots because of its carotene contents. Carotene can help stimulate the production of melanin. You can mash the papaya and apply it on the affected areas of your skin. Rinse the area with cool water after 10 to 12 minutes.
- Cabbage juice
Cabbage is a known remedy for vitiligo due to its methionine, an amino acid. To use this remedy, you can apply the extracted cabbage juice on the white spots for about 5 to 10 minutes and rinse.