Why Do I Have White Spots On My Skin?

Ogo vitiligo on head and hand

There are a variety of reasons for white spots on skin.  They could be any of these:

  • tinea versicolor (fungus)
  • guttate hypomelanosis (sunspots)
  • pityriasis alba (vestige from eczema)
  • vitiligo

White spots on the skin are the absence of melanin – the pigment that colors the skin. Melanin colors the hair and eyes too. Sometimes these white skin spots cover a large area or can be small specks.  The spots that are depigmented can be any of the above skin conditions.

Melanin not only colors hair, skin, and eyes, it protects your skin from harmful sun rays.  Since the melanin is absent, these white skin patches will be more sensitive to the sun and prone to sunburn. If you will be exposed to the sun, consider using sunscreen to protect these sun-sensitive areas of skin. Whether you are standing outside waiting for the bus or at a backyard barbecue, these are all times outdoors and sunscreen should be used.

A dermatologist can diagnose your specific skin condition with the aid of a Wood’s lamp. With vitiligo, a Wood’s light makes the white spots fluoresce bright white, making them clearly visible in contrast to the normal skin color, even if the normal skin is very pale.  Occasionally a biopsy is needed.

Some people choose to cover up their white skin spots with camouflage cosmetics. Some people are at ease with their unevenly colored skin. While others flaunt their white spots.  Whether you choose to conceal the white patches on your skin, reveal them, show them off is up to you.

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