What causes white spots on skin?

Most of us have patches of skin that have, for some reason, lost the correct pigmentation and are left white - compared to the rest of the normal colored skin. These white spots on the skin may look a little unsightly but are generally harmless. But if you want to avoid getting these white spots on your skin, knowing the causes might help you to keep your natural skin tone.
Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma


This condition is often inherited and can cause white patches on the skin with no pigmentation. These patches can start off as white spots and gradually spread across the skin. In the case of vitiligo, the causes are unknown (although it has been suggested it might be an autoimmune condition) -but it is not considered harmful as the condition of the skin does not change -just the color.

However, the white patches should be protected from the sun as they are more prone to sunburn. People with vitiligo may also be prone to HaloNevus which is a mole associated with the condition. This generally does not become a melanoma but should be checked regularly to ensure it has not changed.

Tinea Versicolor

This condition results in white spots on the skin and is caused by a yeast or fungus that is not contagious. This type of yeast can be picked up in the environment or the skin produces it as a result of its own internal poor condition. In most cases, this can be cleared up by using over the counter lotions or in some cases a doctor may need to take a look.


While we mostly associate this condition with the red, scaly and itchy patches of skin, it is very common for white patches to develop in the center of the rash. It is thought that this condition is caused by allergies to foods or certain chemicals or detergents.

Sun damage

While the above skin conditions are mostly through no fault of the sufferer, white spots on the skin caused by sun damage are definitely preventable. In this case, the skin has been so affected by the UV rays that it stops producing melanin – the skin chemical that gives it color. While these spots are caused by too much sun, they are not skin cancer. However, they can be a good indication that you are spending too much time in the sun and are likely to be a sign that you might have other moles on your skin that you should keep an eye on.

While white spots on the skin may in most causes be nothing to worry about, they may indicate that you need to take a little more care of your skin. Using sunscreen, avoiding trigger foods and generally caring for your skin can help to avoid these white spots and will keep your skin looking healthy.

Make skin self-exam part of your skin health routine. Use SkinVision to check your skin for signs of skin cancer and stay on top of your skin health.


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