The appearance of white spots on the skin may cause alarm, especially when the spots persist for a long time or spread. A number of factors and infections can lead to this condition. While some are not harmful to your health, learning their symptoms and causes will always prove helpful in the end.
You can run a diagnosis at home or got medical help to do so. Online pictures and photos are a great tool to help you identify the cause. In fact, there are mobile apps available today with which you can run a diagnosis based on photos you have taken of the affected areas. You may also want to watch a video illustration on the different forms and causes of white spots on different parts of the skin.
For now, let’s look at the most common causes, symptoms and available treatment options for white spots on the skin.
Causes, symptoms and treatment for white spots on the skin
Any of the following can cause spots on your skin:
This is a disease in which white patches will appear on the skin. It results after the cells responsible for the production of natural skin pigment (melanin) become inactive or die.
The actual cause of vitiligo is unknown but professionals think it is associated with autoimmune infections. It is neither contagious nor is it painful or harmful. However, it will keep spreading and ultimately form a large white spot on the skin.
Corticosteroids, UV phototherapy among other treatment options are available. Your doctor will take you through both since some side effects are to be expected from each.
Numerous Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms thrive naturally on the human skin. In Tinea Versicolor, a strain of yeast reproduces uncontrollably and changes skin pigmentation. The affected areas may become light or dark in patches.
Factors such as hot climate conditions, changes in hormonal levels and oily skin conditions can encourage the outbreak and spread of this condition.
Antifungal medications and creams can be used to treat this condition. You can purchase them over the counter. If they are not effective, you can be prescribed stronger medicine pills by your doctor. Avoiding the causes of Tinea versicolor can also be a treatment option.
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
This is a skin condition with a very long name, the causes of which, unfortunately, are not clearly understood. It is more common in older people, mostly over 40 years of age.
White spots on the face, legs, back and face may result from this condition. The spots will usually be less than 10 mm in size and may occur randomly. They are not painful or harmful to your health.
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is thought to cause this condition. While no notable medical treatment options are available, sunscreens and sun protective approaches can be used to manage the condition.
Eczema is a common skin condition. Its symptoms revolve around the formation of reddened and itchy rash. White spots will usually occur inside the area covered by the rash. The affected area becomes scaly and dry and will thicken as a form of an inflammation. It is common in children but also occurs in adults.
There is no specific known cause of eczema. Allergic reactions and symptoms of asthma are however among the usual suspects. White spots on the arms and skin caused by eczema will disappear after some time.
Ointments and oils containing corticosteroids can be used to ease the symptoms. A doctor can also prescribe oral medications to speed up the healing process of white spots on the skin due to eczema.
This is a rather rare skin condition. White spots on the legs, especially in women past menopause, which cause pain and discomfort during sex can be symptoms of this condition. The patches are usually thin, wrinkled and itchy. They may form painful blisters with time. Although they are more common in older women, children and even men can still experience them. They also will occur on other parts of the skin apart from the upper legs. The exact cause is not known.
No specific treatment or cure will be prescribed even in a hospital. However, creams containing certain steroids can be used to ease the symptoms.
White spots on the face, especially the cheeks and chin, can result from this condition. Initially, a pink and scaly rash will occur and form round or irregular patches. Dark skinned teens and children are more susceptible to the condition.
With time, the patches end up clearing even without treatment. This can take a while though. A doctor will advise you on the best way forward.
Pictures for white spots on face
A number of pictures and photos for white spots on the face will show several whitish cysts occurring on the forehead, nose, cheeks and near the eyes. This condition is known as milia.
When keratin is trapped beneath the skin, milia is likely to occur. It is a harmless condition that will self-heal. Should it persist, medical treatment with acid peels or retinoid creams can be used.
Other conditions that can cause white spots on the face include:
- Pityriasis alba
- Tinea versicolor
- Sun spots (Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis)
White spots on the shoulders and back from pictures
White spots on the back and shoulders are usually caused by two skin conditions, namely, tinea versicolor and vitiligo. We already have discussed the two.
White spots on the shoulders and back are more conspicuous in dark-skinned or tanned people. Although the two conditions named above are the usual suspects, other infections can also occur and should not be confused.
The best approach is to take pictures and photos and compare them with online images illustrating the conditions. You can also consider video illustrations for certainty. Online doctor services can also help you in such matters. In this case, you will only need to take photos and pictures on the affected areas and send them to an online doctor for diagnosis.
Causes and symptoms of white spots on legs and arms
White spots on the legs and arms are very common. Depending on their cause, different symptoms are to be expected. Available treatment options will be advised for you by a doctor.
Any of the following can cause white spots on the arms and legs:
- Sun spots, typically caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Medications, ointments and creams may help a bit. However, protection from too much direct sunlight is a better option.
- Lack of enough vitamin B12. This can be treated with supplements or foods containing the vitamin.
- White spots on arms and legs are common in pregnant women. Changes in hormone levels may be to blame. Medical help should be sought should the spots persist after the pregnancy.
- Dying or deactivation of the cells that produce normal skin color, a condition known as vitiligo
- Skin tanning
- Some autoimmune diseases are also known to cause white spots on legs as symptoms.
Treatments for the symptoms and occurrence of white spots on skin
While some issues, like white spots on the back, may clear on their own or will not attract unnecessary attention, treatment is sometimes very important. Following are the common treatment options:
- Steroid creams are common prescriptions to aid in the restoration of lost skin pigment. They however come with a list of side effects. It will be necessary to learn what to expect and how best to use such creams.
- Medications that help fight fungal infections can be used such as in the case of Tinea Versicolor. This will require that a dermatologist gives a prescription after an examination or test. Antifungals are also used for ringworm treatment.
- Laser treatments using UV rays can be used especially for persistent spots. It is a very effective technique which can also be used for syringoma removal.
- In some cases, a transplant may be necessary. In this case, the affected part of the skin will be surgically removed and replaced with another from a donor.
- Use of liquid nitrogen is effective in cases such as milia removal. It can also be used for other conditions such as skin tag under the armpit removal. If the spots are resulting from warts, liquid nitrogen can be used to kill off the warts or cysts.
Photos and images for White spots on face and skin
As you can see, there are many possible causes of white spots on different parts of the body. It is easy to get confused between any two or more skin spots conditions.
The best approach is to get online information, take photos on the affected area and compare them with online images available for any potential cause you have learned about. Since self-diagnosis may not be enough, your doctor should be the next option you consider.
It is also important to learn about other skin conditions such as what causes warts, skin tags and moles. For conditions like eczema which will cause an itchy rash, you can easily mistake it for herpes throat or mouth infections.