These are the most common skin problems faced by all of us at least at some point in our life.
Pigmentation of the human body and the skin colouration is genetic and hereditary.
Avitaminosis (vitamin deficiency disease)
The deficiency of B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B12 is found to lead to white spots and patches on the skin.
With supplementation of the vitamins this condition is cured.
This facial skin disorder of white spots and patches normally affect children, more often boys.
Initially this appears as small round or oval white spots and these grow and merge to form white patches.
Good nutritious food and stress free life seems to improve the skin health and rid it of the disorder.
These may affect other parts of the body also. Usually these disappear after sometime.
Vitiligo is non contagious skin disorder giving rise to white spots and patches on the skin.
Autoimmunity is the primary cause for vitiligo white spots and patches.
Melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in the body get killed by immune cells, the reason for which is not known.
These vitiligo patches may disappear in some persons and may also grow to cover much of the body in others.
About 1-2% of human population suffers from this disorder.
In some families vitiligo is seen as a hereditary factor. In some persons, old skin injuries may also turn into vitiligo white patches.
Recent advancements in treatment and surgery have opened the door of hope for vitiligo affected persons.
Milia (milk spots or oil seeds) Milia (milk spots) are small cysts filled with keratin appearing on the mouth roof, genitalia, nose and eyes as raised white spots and are harmless.
In children they may disappear after sometime, were as in adults if required they have to be removed.
These are pale or white spots and appear on the genitals and the lips.
These white spots are sebaceous glands without hair follicle association (ectopic sebaceous gland).
These white spots are harmless and are of cosmetic concern only. They respond well with acne treatments.
Skin damage due to injuries, burns and infections can lead to white patches on skin.
These white spots are due to loss of melanocytes, the pigment producing cells.
This depigmentation can be corrected to great extend with chemo and laser therapy.
White spots on skin from tanning beds
The pressure points where the body is supported while lying down has decreased circulation.
These points may develop white spots and patches due to insufficient tanning.
By shifting position regularly during tanning these white patches can be avoided.
In person with skin infection the infected regions of the skin may tan less and develop into white patches.
This hypo-pigmentation skin order is noticed in many cases right from birth.
These white spots and patches are non contagious, harmless and stable and considered as birthmarks.
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
It is presumed that this could be genetic disorder of the skin and it can give rise to white spots or patches on it.
Especially persons with tanned skin show prominent white spots and patches if they are affected.
White spots and patches on skin may appear due to infection of the skin by yeast (Malassezia furfur and M.globosa).
Though these yeast are normally present in our skin they become problematic under certain conditions like warmth and humidity.
These white spots on skin are round, oval or irregularly shaped, growing and merging to form large patches.
This disease usually affects the back and the chest, though it may appear on any part of the body.
In fair skinned people they appear as lighter spots and in dark skinned people they appear as dark spots.
There can be extreme pin-prick itching on the spots.
Prolonged treatment is necessary with antifungal application to control and cure it.
Leprosy in the early stages is diagnosed by the presence of a few white spots on the skin which are numb, pale and shining when compared to the surrounding skin.
These white spots are due to the body's immune response to contain the infection and in the process, the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) also get killed giving rise to white spots and patches.
White spots and patches lacking sensation require immediate medical attention.
There are three causes for whitening or white spots on the finger nails.
Total whitening of the fingernail may occur in case of kidney failure, liver failure, protein malabsorption and as side effect of certain drugs like sulphonamides.
Partial whitening or discolouration in bands occurs on physical injury to nail, chemotherapy and cirrhosis.
The most common form is the appearance small white spots on the fingernail due to small injuries to the nail matrix.
These white spots will move away from the base and get clipped in two months of time.
If the white spots are on several fingernails and keep appearing freshly, it may indicate the deficiency of the trace mineral zinc. They will disappear on taking zinc supplements.
White spots on teeth
White spots on teeth occur due to dental fluorosis which in turn is caused by excessive exposure to fluorides. Children between 3 months to 8 years of age are the most affected.
Yeast infection of the mouth is called oral thrush and it appears as white patches inside the mouth and tongue.
Mostly infants, elderly persons, sick persons and persons suffering from indigestion get thrush. Antifungal applications and mouthwashes may cure thrush.
In this condition white spots and patches appear due to excessive growth of cells in mouth and tongue.
In very rare cases these raised white spots or patches may become malignant (cancerous).
Oral lichen planus
White Spots on Fingernails (Leukonychia)
These white spots or lines appear on the tongue as a network and the cause is not yet known. Mostly they disappear by after some time.
Maintaining oral hygiene will help in resolving the condition.
White patches on tonsils
These patches on tonsils are formed due to infections.
Treatment with antibiotics and applications can cure in most of the situations.
In chronic cases surgical removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) is recommended.
Tonsil stone (tonsillolith)
This is a white calcareous matter formed at the tonsillar crypts sometimes protruding.
They are usually harmless and may cause bad breath. They fall off usually and they can also be removed.
Albinism is a genetic trait caused by recessive genes. The whole body including eyes and hair lack melanin pigment.
This skin disorder being hereditary has no cure. The skin of albinos get easily sunburned.
Sun poisoning may also occur fast and the skin may turn reddish in reaction.
Eyes cannot tolerate bright light as they are lacking pigment to filter it.
Leucism is skin development disorder characterised by hypopigmentation caused by reduction in all pigments.
This may also appear as white patches. The eyes may appear normal.
In fetal development, defects in pigment cell differentiation and /or migration from neural crest to hair or skin result in leucism.
For related information on skin inflammation (dermatitis), white spots and skin sensitivity read the following posts.
- Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine, Pyridoxal phosphate, pyridoxamine) deficiency can cause skin inflammation (dermatitis)
- Folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency causes dermatitis( skin inflammation)
- Vitamin b1 deficiency causes skin sensitivity
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) deficiency causes white spots on the skin