If you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, you might definitely notice tan all over your skin. But apart from tan, if you happen to notice a few tiny white spots that vary in sizes, then you need to take a closer look. These tiny white spots are usually known as pesky marks or white sunspots. These spots are not dangerous or harmful. Although not every white spot is pesky marks, they could be caused due to various reasons related to health and vitamin deficiencies. If you are still worried and want to know more about these white spots on your skin, we got you covered.
What Are White Sunspots?
Sun is an avid source of vitamin D, which is, indeed, a necessity for our bones. But if your skin is overexposed to the sun, you may develop many unsightly marks on your skin including such white-colored spots. Typically, these white spots are a sign of damage caused by the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. When the melanocyte cells in a certain part of the skin stop producing the melanin pigment due to the overexposure to the UV rays, that area becomes depigmented and turns white. Hence, these spots are often called ‘white sunspots’ and the condition is medically termed as ‘Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis’ (1). White sunspots are typically found as flat patches (1 to 3 mm. in size) on the shins, arms, upper back, and face.
These patches are easy to identify as they are usually seen on skins, upper back, arms, or faces and are around 1 to 3mm in size. Though they are prominently seen amongst the fair-skinned women but are also likely to occur on women with darker skin tone. They are more likely to appear after the age of 40 years.
As mentioned above, no – not all white spots are pesky sunspots. While the common notion might seem like it, but some various other reasons and factors can cause you to develop white spots on your skin. While some common factors could be an individual’s health conditions or vitamin deficiencies, but here are some other reasons that may cause white spots (2):
Tinea Versicolor (TV) Or Pityriasis Versicolor
Tinea Versicolor (TV) is usually caused by the uncontrollable fungal growth that develops under the skin’s surface (3). This fungal growth thus leads to dry, scaly, and itchy patches on the skin which are comparatively either lighter or darker than your skin tone. The growth of these white spots or patches is fairly slow and they are often found in a cluster. Most of the people notice these white spots only when they have a suntan or if they dwell in any hot, humid, or warm environment.
Pityriasis Alba (PA)
Pityriasis Alba (PA) is somewhat a common non-cancerous skin condition that causes redness, scaly and itchy patches on the skin (4). These red and inflammated patches eventually heal and leave behind pale white spots. Mostly, Pityriasis Alba is found in children and teenagers between the age group of 3 to 16 years and is mainly noticed on the face, neck, shoulders, and arms. It is likely to consider that PA is a mild version of atopic dermatitis or eczema. Another version of PA is Pigmenting PA which causes bluish-white scaly patches with outlined faded skin, mostly found on children’s faces.
Unlike sun-borne white spots, Vitiligo spots are much different. People suffering from vitiligo often notice white skin patches in places where the skin cells are completely destroyed, thus making the skin discolored and de-pigmented. Although unsure of the exact reason that causes vitiligo, most of the researchers believe that it is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly harms and diminishes the healthy cells (5). These vitiligo white patches further tend to develop on the skin that is exposed to the sun and may eventually spread slowly or quickly.
Milia are usually developed on the skin that is white firm, raised, fluid-filled sacs which are roughly 1 to 4 mm wide and are completely painless (6). Mostly, Milia occurs when the keratin in the skin starts to harden the outer layer while trapping itself under the skin to form fluid-filled sacs. But the secondary version of Milia can occur due to the traumatic result of events such as dermabrasion, blistering, tissue damage, or any other kind of skin inflammation, all of which may be caused due to side effects from some medication.
If white spots on your skin are giving you troubles, then get them checked by a dermatologist.
How Dangerous Are White Sunspots?
White sunspots might seem unpleasant to look at or even embarrassing, but when it boils down to the main concern of – is it dangerous? Then the answer would be no. These white spots are usually benign and are not dangerous or harmful. In fact, they can be easily treated in simple ways with easily available ingredients in our house.
Although white sunspots are considered harmless and might not cause an impact on your health or wellbeing. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor if you notice any of these following changes:
- Spots get darker than before
- Spots change in size, shape, texture, or color
- Spots turn itchy or become painful
Home Remedies To Treat White Sunspots
Numerous home remedies can come handy to lessen the white sunspots and also help in boosting the production of pigments and melanin in the de-pigmented parts of the affected skin. All these below mentioned home remedies can successfully be used to treat and soothe the white sunspots naturally.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The magical and wondrous apple cider vinegar is considered as one of the most effective medicines to treat the white sunspots. It is believed that regular use of apple cider vinegar can highly reduce the paleness of the skin caused by the UV rays (7). The acetic acid in this vinegar helps promptly in lightening the skin pigmentation and improves the overall health of your skin by giving an even skin tone.
Method: Dab a little apple cider vinegar in a cotton ball and apply directly to the affected part of your skin. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes and wash it off with plain water. And if you have sensitive skin, it is better that you dilute apple cider vinegar with water before applying it. For best results, apply this at least twice a day.
Add a little bit of onion juice to apple cider vinegar solution before applying it to the skin. This will give faster and better results.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is yet another wondrous ingredient that can help in treating the white sunspots. As per various studies, the active compounds named aloesin and aloin are found in Aloe Vera which aids in lightening spots and every type of hyperpigmentation. Also, when used on sunspots, Aloe Vera catalyzes the new cell generation production and helps effectively in restoring the skin’s natural color. This is exactly why Aloe Vera is included as a prominent ingredient in most of the beauty products and medication.
Method: Take a small piece of freshly cut Aloe Vera leaf and cut it open. Gently rub the gel side of the leaf on the affected area or the white sunspots. Let it sit for half an hour and then rinse off with water. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times a day for best results.
3. Castor Oil & Cod Liver Oil
Castor Oil is highly popular for its amazing properties in healing and maintaining the skin’s health. When the amazing Castor oil is blended with the goodness of COD liver oil, it can effectively remove the white sunspots from your skin. Both of these have the ability to stimulate and boost the production of melanin in the skin, thereby restoring the skin and retaining the affected area with its natural pigmentation.
Method: Mix equal parts of both Castor oil and COD liver oil, and massage the affected area thoroughly. You can also dab this mixture in a cotton ball and apply it to the white sunspots directly. Leave it on for 25 to 30 minutes and wash it off with plain water. For best results, apply this twice a day.
4. Vitamin E Treatment
Vitamin E has incredible skin rejuvenating properties and is exceptionally great for treating all kinds of skin infections, fungal growth, including white sunspots (8). It keeps the infected skin area nourished and hydrated, thereby preventing it from drying, itching, and irritating thus also preventing the development of white sunspots.
Method: Dab a cotton ball in Vitamin E oil and apply it directly to the affected area or the white sunspots. Let your skin absorb the oil completely. Apply at regular intervals throughout the day (at least 3-4 times) for best results. Or you can apply it for 30 minutes and wash it off.
Kitchen Ingredients To Treat White Sunspots
Apart from the above mentioned readily available products, there are numerous ingredients from your kitchen that can be used to treat the white sunspots or skin discoloration.
1. Lemon And Tomato
Acidic by nature, both Lemon and Tomato work wonders as natural bleaching agents (9) to treat any kind of skin tone unevenness, lightening scars, or pigmentation. With white sunspots, this combination of lemon and tomato aids in healing your skin naturally while boosting and regulating the production of melanin in it, thus ensuring that your skin tone evens out efficiently.
Method: Mix equal parts of lemon and tomato juice and apply it on the white spots and the infected area with the help of a cotton ball. Let it sit for an hour before washing it with water. You can also directly rub thin slices of each individually.
Avoid sun exposure while using tomato or lemon extracts for treating white sunspots. They make the skin sensitive and you may experience sunburns if you go outside during that time.
Similar to Lemon and Tomato, Garlic too contains skin healing and replenishing qualities. It not only restores the natural color of the skin but also promotes quick healing of infected skin (10). In fact, the best way to use garlic to treat white sunspots is to use its juice directly on the infected skin.
Method: Apply the freshly extracted garlic juice directly on the infected area with the help of a cotton ball. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water. Follow this twice a day for best results.
Honey has strong and effective antibacterial properties that can help in treating various types of skin allergies, skin infections that also include white sunspots (11). Honey not only helps in fading scars, exfoliating but also moisturizes the skin thoroughly.
Method: Apply honey on the infected skin or the white sunspots and let it sit for at least 20 minutes or till it dries off. Wash it off with lukewarm water. You can also mix honey with turmeric, sandalwood powder, or lemon to make a pack and apply it on the infected area.
Turmeric has an exceptional skin rejuvenating ability and can effectively help in treating white sunspots. It contains antiseptic properties that promote and boost quick healing and skin restoring (12).
Method: Make a thick paste of turmeric powder with either honey or mustard oil and apply this paste on the white sunspots and infected area. Wash it off with lukewarm water once it dries off. For best results, follow this once every day until the patches disappear.
Cosmetic Treatments For White Sunspots
Usually, white sunspots fade away naturally within a few weeks and do not necessarily need any cosmetic therapy to get rid of it. Apart from following the preventive measures strictly, you can try the home remedies that work effectively. But if you still feel low on self-esteem, you can go ahead with some professional treatments like Laser resurfacing, Cryotherapy, Chemical Peels, or Microdermabrasion.
Some people notice white sunspots on their bodies whenever they spend too much time under the sun. Although these white sunspots are not harmful, it is essential to know and distinguish them as to what is likely to cause them. These white sunspots or pesky marks are medically known as ‘Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis’ (IGH) and is considered to be a skin damage condition. It is most commonly and likely to happen in fair-skinned women over the age of 40. It develops when the melanocyte cells in a certain part of your skin reduce or almost stop producing melanin due to the overexposure to the sun thereby leading to de-pigmented and white sunspots on the skin. These sunspots take around 10 to 21 days to completely heal by themselves and do not need any precise medical treatment. Although there are various home remedies that you can opt for to lighten or even tone these spots and fasten the healing process. With easily available kitchen and household ingredients like Garlic, Aloe Vera, Apple cider vinegar, Vitamin E capsules, Honey, Turmeric, Lemon and Tomato juice, and much more. Although there are various other skin conditions like Milia, Vitiligo, Tinea Versicolor, or Pityriasis Alba that are very similar looking to white sunspots, it is always recommended to consult a dermatologist if the patches get itchy or painful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are White Sunspots Permanent?
White sunspots usually fade away on their own with time. If you try natural remedies, it will go away even faster. However, sometimes they run in families, which seems to be permanent.
Are White Sunspots Dangerous or Harmful?
No, White Sunspots are not dangerous or cancer-causing, they are completely benign.
Why Do I Get White Sunspots When I Get Tan?
If you find sunspots occur after tanning, this might be a sign of pre-existing or underlying vitiligo condition. It takes place when the melanocyte cell reduces or stops the production of melanin.
Can vitamin deficiency cause white spots on the skin?
Yes, indeed. Deficiency of Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and also calcium can lead to skin discoloration.
Are White Spots and Vitiligo Similar?
No, white spots are mostly temporary and do not spread, while vitiligo is an autoimmune deficiency that does spread over time.
How Long Does It Take For White Sunspots To Heal Naturally?
It generally takes 10 to 21 days for the white sunspots to heal and disappear naturally.
- “Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “What are these white spots on my skin?” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “Tinea versicolor”– mayoclinic.org
- “Pityriasis Alba”– healthline.com
- “Vitiligo”– mayoclinic.org
- “How can I get rid of milia?” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “How to Remove Sunspots on Your Face” – healthline.com
- “What to know about sunspots on the face”-medicalnewstoday.com
- “How to Remove Blemishes, Dark Patches and Spots From Your Face Naturally”-academia.edu
- “Sun Spots”– health.howstuffworks.com
- “Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Burning Question: Does Turmeric Get Rid of Dark Spots?”– Burning Question: Does Turmeric Get Rid of Dark Spots?