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White spots on skin points towards the common fungal infection of your skin. The fungus causes problems to the normal pigmentation. It results in small, discolored patches. The patches can appear darker or lighter compared to the surrounding skin. You can see the white spots most commonly on your trunk and shoulders. If you see the white spots, do not worry. The condition is not contagious or dangerous. It can heal with simple home remedies. But, you need medical treatment to deal with it when the home remedies fail to provide results. Read ahead to know more about the condition.
Understanding White Spots On Skin
White spots on skin can occur commonly in teenagers and young adults. The condition on the exposed area of the body can make them feel embarrassed. It is more apparent in people exposing themselves to the sun’s rays. The condition is also known as tinea versicolor or pityriasis Versicolor. It causes you no pain. But, you feel self-conscious and distressed due to the problem. The condition is triggered by a fungus on your skin. You can treat it with home remedies, antifungal products or oral medications. But, the skin tone remains uneven after the successful treatment for several months. Tinea versicolor is more prevalent among people living in a warm and humid climate.
Transmission Of White Spots On Skin
White spots on the skin occur due to Malassezia fungus. It is not contagious. So, it does not transmit from one person to another. The condition does not cause any health complications. You may now wonder how it infects your skin. Malassezia is the yeast found on the skin surface. It lives in large communities on your skin surface. In normal cases, the microscopic organisms, including Malassezia protects your skin from infections. It also offers protection against serious pathogens causing harmful diseases. The microorganism lives in a symbiotic relationship with your body cells. So, your skin cells and the microorganisms support and benefit each other.
But, in some cases, the yeast grows abnormally. The out of control growth affects the pigmentation or natural color of your skin. The condition can cause patches to develop on the skin surface. It appears darker or lighter than normal skin. The condition is also referred to as tinea versicolor. Malassezia can suppress your immune system or cause infection, leading to the development of white spots.
Symptoms Along With White Spots On Skin
Tinea versicolor can form white patches on your skin. The discolored patches are the noticeable symptom of the condition. You can develop such patches on your chest, arms, back or neck. The patches also have the following characteristics:
- Lighter (in some cases darker) patches compared to surrounding skin
- Discoloration of the skin (is white, red, tan, brown or pink)
- Has dry and scaly texture
- Itching of the patches
- Appears more prominent with tanning
- Disappears in less humid and cool weather
The condition can develop in people having dark skin. In such cases, the skin can experience loss of color. The loss of skin color is also known as hypopigmentation. But, in some cases, the skin appears darker instead of lighter. Such conditions are called hyperpigmentation. Some individuals can develop tinea versicolor without experiencing any significant changes to the skin (in appearance or color)
Similar Conditions Causing White Spots On Skin
Some skin condition has symptoms similar to tinea versicolor. It can also cause white spots on your skin. You can mistake the fungal infection to the other skin conditions. So, a similar condition mimicking the symptoms are:
It is the condition causing skin color loss. So, your skin pigmentation lightens in blotches. But, the condition differs from tinea versicolor in the following ways:
- The skin texture remains unaffected
- Vitiligo appears on your eyes, mouth, fingers, wrists, armpits or groin
- It often forms symmetrical patches on your skin
It is the common skin condition causing a rash that looks like a Christmas tree. It is a harmless skin condition and not contagious. The skin condition causes the development of patches of scaly skin. You can see the patches developing a few days or weeks before the rash.
If you find it difficult to determine the exact skin problem, then see a doctor. Your dermatologist can diagnose the problem and offer a precise solution to deal with it.
Risk Factors Of White Spots On Skin
Some people are more susceptible to the problem compared to others. What makes them more prone to white spots? Several biological factors and environmental factors can enhance the risk of developing the condition. So, the factors putting you at risk of the problem are:
- Excessive sweating
- Living in a warm and humid climate
- Having a family history of tinea versicolor
- Suffering from some types of cancer
- Taking medications that weaken your immune system
The condition is not serious. But, if the condition does not improve with home care methods, you need to see a doctor. Some people also suffer a recurrence of the fungal infection. In such cases, you need to see a medical professional deal with the problem. Self-care measures can work when the white spots on the skin in a small region of your body. But, when the patches cover large areas of the body, you need medical attention.
Causes Of White Spots On Skin
You can find the fungus Malassezia on healthy and normal skin. But, the fungus only causes a problem when it starts overgrowing. The imbalance in the number of fungus on the skin can result in the condition. The following factors trigger its growth, including:
- Hormonal changes
- Oily skin
- Humid condition
- Hot weather
- Weakened immune system
Diagnosis Of White Spots On Skin
When you see white spots on your skin, you try all the home remedies. But, when the home remedies fail to offer any results, you need to see a doctor. The strangely colored patches require prescription dose medications to heal properly. So, get an appointment with your doctor. During the doctor’s visit, you need to undergo certain tests to detect the exact condition. Since the white spots can appear on your skin due to other conditions, it is important to rule them out. So, the following diagnostic test can help detect the exact skin issue:
The doctor performs a thorough physical examination. During the physical assessment, he/she examines the affected area containing the spots. Based on the assessment, further tests are suggested to conclusively detect the problem.
Some skin conditions like vitiligo or pityriasis rosea mimic the symptoms of tinea versicolor. So, your doctor takes the sample of a skin scraping. The sample is obtained from your skin by gently scraping it. The sample scraping is sent to the lab for testing. It is analyzed under the microscope to detect the presence of yeast cells.
To detect the presence of yeast or fungi, which trigger the skin infection, your doctor can conduct the KOH test. KOH or potassium hydroxide microscopy involves testing the affected skin for hyphae fungi or yeast. The doctor takes the sample of your skin and places it on a microscope slide along with KOH (20% solution). It is then analyzed under the microscope.
The doctor takes the skin or tissue sample for biopsy. The skin biopsy not only checks for abnormal cells but also test for fungi on your skin’s outer layer.
The skin culture refers to taking the sample of your skin by swabbing it with a sterile swab. It is sent to the lab for analysis. The fungal culture can provide conclusive evidence of infection due to fungus.
Wood’s lamp is another test to detect fungal infection. The special machine uses ultraviolet rays. Using the low-frequency UV rays, your skin is tested. It is held at a distance of 4 to 5 inches from the skin. Any infection of the skin can make your skin appear green or yellow under the light.
Treatment For White Spots On Skin
The white spots on your skin can cause embarrassment. It will also cause anxiety and stress. The frustrating skin problem can make you think about serious health issues. So, you need to deal with the problem. With proper care, it is possible to manage the condition. The first line of action is to try some home remedies. If the condition persists, then see a doctor get proper medical treatment.
Home Remedies For Managing White Spots On Skin
The white spots can recur on your skin. It is because the yeast triggering the infection lives on your skin surface. It is the normal fungus naturally present on your skin. So, you need to take good care to prevent the fungal infection from coming back. You need to follow some tips to ensure tenia Versicolor does not return:
Use Medicated Cleaners
Medicated cleansers may be used one or two times a month to help prevent tinea versicolor from coming back. You may need to use these cleansers if the infection keeps returning, especially if you live in a warm and humid area.
You need to put sunscreen on the exposed parts of your skin every day before going outside. Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a non-greasy formula to avoid white spots to develop on your skin. A sunscreen with minimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 is good for your skin. Protecting your skin from the sun and artificial source of UV light exposure can help manage the white spots. Without the exposure, your skin tone evens out.
Over The Counter Antifungal Treatment
You can treat the mild cases of tinea versicolor by applying the over-the-counter antifungal treatment. It is available in lotion, ointment, cream or shampoo format. So, get the medication that contains the following topical agents:
- Selenium sulfide
- Zinc pyrithione
You can always try some natural remedies at home to alleviate white spots on the skin. The ingredients used for the remedies are easily available in your kitchen. So, you never have to search for the things suggested below. Try the remedies to see the difference.
Onion is not just useful in cooking delicious food. The kitchen staple has various Sulphur compounds, which can tackle skin infections. The compound called ajoene has antifungal properties that can control the skin problem. Make a paste of onion and apply it to your skin. Wash it after some time.
Garlic has a pungent odor due to the presence of sulfur compounds in it. So, it has antifungal properties to fight against Malassezia fungus. Crush the garlic and apply it on the affected skin surface to see the difference.
It is a powerful essential oil with compounds like phenylpropanoids and terpenoids. It can attack the fungus causing the white spots and offer relief.
Neem Leaf Paste
Neem extract has powerful antifungal properties. Different studies suggest that applying neem leaf paste can deal with the fungus causing tinea versicolor. So, applying it and wash it off can show positive results.
Tea Tree Oil
Melaleuca alternifolia or the popular tea tree oil is well-known for its antifungal properties. It is used in several cosmetic products as it can keep your skin safe from fungal, viral or bacterial attack. The topical antifungal agent can fight the fungus triggering the problem and offer relief.
Most fungal infection responds well to the above-mentioned ingredients. Before using the cream, wash the affected area with soap and pat dry. Apply a thin layer of the antifungal product. You can use it once or twice a day. Continue using it for two weeks to see results. People using antifungal shampoos need to wait for five minutes before washing it off the skin. You need to see a doctor if you fail to see any improvement. The condition requires a stronger dose of medication.
Medical Treatments For White Spots On Skin
The severe cases of fungal infection may not improve with home remedies. So, you need a stronger dose to alleviate the problem. It is important to see a doctor get the prescription medication for the condition. Based on the severity of the problem, your doctor can suggest the following medications.
Prescription Strength Antifungal Creams
Your doctor prescribes prescription-strength antifungal creams for white spots on small areas of your skin. It has a stronger dose compared to over-the-counter antifungal medication. So, in most cases you need to take the following medications:
- Selenium sulfide
- Ketoconazole shampoo
You need to apply the topical medication on the affected areas of the skin to see the difference.
If the white spots appear on smaller areas of skin, the topical medications can show positive effects. But, extensive involvement of the condition needs oral medication. Oral medication is also an option when you experience recurrence. The treatment course always depends on the type of medication suggested by your doctor. But, it is always better to select a short and pulse dose method. It controls the infection effectively and efficiently. The two main doses of oral treatment proven effective for the condition are:
You have to take two doses of one of the above-mentioned medication in a week for one month (4 weeks) offers effective results. You need to talk to your doctor about other medications you take as some can interact with each other and cause complications.
The doctor can also prescribe dandruff shampoos containing the following ingredients can clear the fungal infection faster.
- Selenium sulfide
- Pyrithione Zinc
The treatment also prevents skin problems from affecting you again for a long time. Overnight use of shampoos can offer effective results. But, it causes skin irritation due to prolonged exposure to the chemicals.
Remember, even after successful treatment, the skin color may not return to normal. It remains uneven for weeks or months. So, never panic. Also, the condition has a high chance of returning in the hot and humid weather. So, follow the preventive measure to keep the problem at bay.
Expected Duration Of Treatment
In most cases, the treatment can show its effect on the skin. The yeast responds to the treatment. But, the white spots on skin remains for several months. It is visible when you spend more time outside in the sun. So, try to spend less time outside. Wear a strong sunscreen when you venture outside. Also, take other precautions against sun exposure. It will aid in minimizing the difference in skin color between your tinea versicolor affected skin and the normal skin.
Preventing White Spots On Skin
People who have suffered from the specific type of fungal infection on their skin can experience the recurrence of the condition. If you have successfully treated the white spots on the skin, then you need to prevent it in the future. Here are some preventive measures to stop the recurrence of the fungal infection.
Avoid Excessive Heat
The condition usually affects you in the summer season. So, you need to keep yourself cool during the season. Try to take steps to avoid excessive heat like:
- Keep your bedroom cool by shielding it from sunlight
- A fan or AC can keep you keep the heat away from the room
Limit Sun Exposure
You need to limit going out in the sun. When your skin gets exposed to the sunlight, it can trigger the fungal infection. So, try to stay in the sun. But, when you have to go out, then it is safe to use an antifungal product. Use it daily for a couple of days before exposing yourself to the sun.
Tanning can make the white spots on your skin look more visible. It can make you feel embarrassed. So, try not to use tanning beds or artificial tan products.
Sweating profusely, can not only cause a foul odor but also increases the risk of fungal infection. So, you need to avoid excessive sweating. Use breathable clothes of natural fibers that can increase the air circulation and limit the sweat. Try to wear loose-fitting clothes to keep the sweat away. Tight clothes can reduce the blood circulation on the skin and increase the sweating.
People who are susceptible to skin problems need to undergo prescription-strength treatment. It is important to undergo such treatment during the vulnerable time of the year that puts them at risk of the problem. You need to undergo the skin or oral treatment at least once or twice a month. It is essential to undergo the treatment during the warm and humid months, which increases your risk of developing white spots. The treatment includes the uses of one of the following medications:
- Selenium sulfide (comes in lotion or shampoo form)
- Ketoconazole (available in gel, cream, or shampoo)
- Itraconazole (comes in oral solution, capsules or tablets form)
- Fluconazole (available in tablets or oral solution)
You may not suffer from any serious complications due to white spots on skin. The condition usually clears after treatment. But, your skin only returns to normal condition after several months. You need anti-fungal treatments to manage the condition. Without treatment, the skin condition can return after six months. So, get treatment from time to time to control the rash.View Article Sources