Do you love to get your skin tanned? Have you noticed small white marks in certain parts of your body recently? Then chances are high that those white spots or patches are the results of the time you spent lying in the tanning bed during your last beach vacation. Yes, your skin can develop white spots from tanning and it is not at all rare. In fact, those who need to spend a lot of time in the sun every day can also develop such spots or marks on the areas of the skin, which remain exposed to the sunlight. If you feel worried about these white spots from tanning and want to know whether they are a threat to your skin or not, we are here to help you out. In this article, we will find out the possible causes of this skin issue and learn about their remedies.
What Are Those Pesky White Spots?
Before digging deeper into the possible causes, let us know what those ugly white spots actually are. While there are different reasons behind the occurrence of such spots, they are often found to be the outcome of a common skin infection caused by tanning. This infection usually blocks the creation of melanin in the affected parts of the skin. As a result, the infected area remains white in color while the rest of the body gets tanned. In other words, the infection causes changes in the color and texture of the skin, which becomes evident when one tries to get tanned.
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Causes Of White Spots From Tanning
Here are the underlying reasons behind the infections that create white spots on the skin, which get pronounced due to tanning (1):
1. Tinea Versicolor
Tinea Versicolor is a skin condition in which a natural yeast (Pityrosporum Ovale) grows uncontrollably in the skin and interferes with the production of skin pigmentation (melanin). It usually happens at the places of infection and leads to lighter or darker patches. These become more visible when the infected area remains as it is but the rest of the skin gets tanned due to sun exposure. It is commonly contracted by adolescents and young adults, who live in hot and humid climates and tend to sweat more. This condition can also be caused by oily skin, weak immune system, hormonal changes, etc.
2. Tanning Beds
If you use tanning beds which subject the skin to artificial UV light for achieving a bronzed look, then there are high chances of getting white spots on the skin. They mostly occur when the flow of blood is not even to all parts of the body and thus, some patches of skin do not get tanned. In addition, there are chances of contracting a fungal infection from tanning beds since the humidity and heat make them a breeding ground for microbes. Once the UV lights are turned off, the fungus kicks into action and can cause an infection which results in white patches on the skin.
Tanning can make pre-existing scars or skin pigmentation conditions like vitiligo, lichen sclerosus, etc. more pronounced. This also leads to the development of white spots on the skin.
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Are White Spots From Tanning Dangerous?
The very first thing that you need to understand is that white spots from tanning are not contagious. Though they look unappealing, they are easily treatable and not harmful at all. The right way to deal with such white spots is to fight against the fungus that is causing such marks on the skin, which can easily be done with correct remedies. So, there is absolutely no need to panic.
Not all white spots on the skin result from tanning and some of them can be really serious. Consult a dermatologist regarding any suspicious white spot on your skin to know how dangerous it is.
OTC Treatments For White Spots From Tanning
1. Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Wash the affected parts of the skin with a solution made of 1 part of anti-dandruff shampoo and 4 parts of water. Anti-dandruff shampoos have the ability to combat the fungus causing white spots on the skin and thus rid you of the infection.
2. Anti-Fungal Cream
Use of creams that are anti-fungal and contain selenium sulfide (slows down the growth of the fungus) is another way to treat the infection. Apply the cream persistently to the affected area for a week or two to get visible results.
3. Anti-Fungal Powder
Keep the skin dry as much as possible in order to inhibit the growth of the fungus. Using lots of antifungal powder will not only prevent the production of unwanted moisture in the skin but also fight against the infection effectively.
Home Remedies For White Spots From Tanning
1. Aloe Vera Gel
Apply fresh aloe vera gel to the troubled areas of your skin generously. Let it dry and repeat 2-3 times daily. This will control the oil on the surface of your skin, thereby controlling the growth of the fungus.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Prepare a mixture combining coconut oil and tea tree oil (3:1) and massage the affected parts of your skin with it gently. This natural anti-fungal remedy will take around 2 weeks to show significant results.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apply diluted apple cider vinegar (add 1 teaspoon of the vinegar to a cup of water) to the white spots and wash off with cold water after some time. You need to reapply it every 2 hours for at least 2 weeks in one go.
4. Baking Soda
Moisten the white patches on your skin a little and scrub them gently with a teaspoonful of baking soda. It will neutralize the pH of your skin, eliminate the infection-causing fungus, and heal the area gradually.
Precaution To Follow
White spots on the skin take some time to get healed. You must try to limit your sun exposure until they fade away completely in order to encourage the process of healing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do White Spots From Tanning Go Away?
White spots from tanning go away completely. As mentioned before, they usually get prominent as your skin develop suntans. Hence. the more your suntan will fade, the faster those spots will go away.
Do They Come Back?
It is pretty common for white spots from tanning to come back whenever there is a recurrence of infections. However, they do not cause any long-term damage and can be treated any time at ease.
Do These White Spots Feel Dry And Itchy?
White spots caused by tanning should not feel dry and itchy even though it is a fungal infection. If your white spots feel unusually dry and itch a lot, consult a dermatologist immediately as it may be the indication of a severe skin condition.
Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes White Spots?
The occurrence of white spots from tanning is not linked to any vitamin deficiency. However, your skin may develop white marks or patches if there is a lack of essential nutrients, especially vitamin D, vitamin E, and calcium. These patches are harmless and can be treated easily by indulging in a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Does Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cause White Spots?
When the white spots on the skin are a result of tanning, you should consider infection as the culprit. However, there are skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, vitiligo, angular stomatitis, etc. in which the white lesions appear on the skin as the body fails to absorb enough vitamin B12.
Can I Get Skin Cancer From These White Spots?
White spots from tanning are the indication of an absolutely harmless fungal infection, which goes away completely over time upon the right treatment. So, they should not put you at risk of skin cancer. But if you love to get tanned and go for it frequently, you must need to be careful about it. Too much exposure to the UV rays of the sun can change the color of your skin cells and increase your risk of skin cancer eventually.
- “White Spots on the Skin from Tanning: What Do They Mean?“, SkinVision.com