White Patches On Skin – What Are They?

White Patches On Skin

White patches on skin could be an indication of a number of skin pigmentation disorders. Sunburn, blisters or other skin trauma can cause the affected areas to be without pigment for a length of time. Eventually the skin regains its pigment in the majority of cases.

White patches on skin that are smooth could be a symptom of the autoimmune disease vitiligo. When a person has vitiligo, their own immune system attacks and destroys the skin cells that make pigment or color. The result is skin pigmentation white spots. The development of vitiligo is not related to age. Approximately 1 in 100 Americans have vitiligo. If a person has one autoimmune disorder, they are likely to have more than one. The vitiligo patient with white patches on skin is more likely to have the autoimmune diseases pernicious anemia, hyperthyroidism, or Addison’s disease. There is no cure for vitiligo, however there are some treatments that sometimes help. Phototherapy with ultraviolet light, with or without a drug that makes you more likely to respond to light, is one option. Topical medications that contain corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medication are sometimes used. In some cases, skin grafts are the solution to skin discoloration. Make up and skin dye are also useful in covering up white patches on skin. If the majority of the body is affected, the unaffected skin can be depigmented resulting in a permanent color change.

Lesions are a cause for concern. Pigmented lesions with irregular borders or a change in a mole or wart could indicate skin cancer. You should never hold off when it comes to having skin changes evaluated by a qualified dermatologist. Malignant melanoma, a cancer of the skin, is one of the fastest spreading and most deadly cancers we know. When in doubt, check it out!