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White Spots on the Arms

White Spots on the Arms

There are many factors that can lead to the formation of white spots on the arms. If you too are suffering from such an affliction, and looking for some help to get rid of the problem, continue reading this article.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Have you been noticing the development of white spots on your arms? Does it look as if there is no pigmentation on your skin? Wondering what could these small white spots mean? These spots could mean a number of things. A few point towards some mild skin conditions, while others could indicate serious skin disorders. Let us go into the details of some of the causes.
What Causes White Spots?
Hypopigmentation or white spots on skin can be caused by either a fungal infection or it could be a sign of an autoimmune disease. It is important to visit a dermatologist for the correct diagnosis. Some of the most probable causes are given below:
Tinea Versicolor
It is caused by Malassezia furfur, a type of yeast. This condition is also called pityriasis versicolor. It is a non-cancerous condition and is totally harmless. Also, it should be noted that this infection is not contagious. The white spots can be accompanied by red or brown spots as well. The red and brown spots fade away quicker than the white ones. This condition occurs mostly due to highly humid conditions or due to oily skin. People with hormonal imbalance or immune system problems may also be infected with Malassezia.
Vitiligo
It affects over 1 to 2% of the people around the world. When the skin cells fails to produce melanin, it results in the appearance of white patches on the skin. The skin does not lose pigment all over the body. Instead, irregular patches or blotches of skin are formed around the body. Common areas for the presentation of such spots are lips, feet, face, arms, and hands. It is very common to observe spots on face due to this condition. The skin that is commonly exposed to sun often develops these spots. There is no exact cause for vitiligo. But people with autoimmune disease are more prone to this condition. It is common in families, but is not a hereditary condition.
Pityriasis Alba
This condition is somewhat similar to eczema and leads to round or oval white spots on skin. You may observe flaky spots on arms, neck, torso, and face. It is very common in children and teenagers with very dark skin.
Skin Damage
This damage may occur due to an infection or burning caused by laser therapy (removal of unwanted hair). Skin discoloration can also be caused due to tanning beds. The skin may get unevenly tanned leading to untanned white spots. Some birth control and acne pills may cause the development of spots on the face.
Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis
Small white spots that are about 2 to 5 mm in diameter may be caused due to idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. Idiopathic means the cause of the condition is unknown. Guttate is a term that means the spots resemble teardrops. Hypomelanosis means reduced coloration of affected skin. This condition mostly affects people with light-colored skin. These spots are smooth, and may even be a bit scaly. It is seen as a natural age related disorder as it affects people over 40 years of age.
Exposure to Sun
It involves an alteration in skin pigmentation due to sun's rays. Large freckles, that are called age spots or liver spots, occur on back of the hands, arms, chest, shoulders, and upper back. These spots indicate sun damage due to exposure to harmful UV rays.
How to Get Rid of White Spots
In case of tinea versicolor, you may use an over-the-counter treatment like Tinactin or Lotrimin to get rid of the fungal infection. Medications containing clotrimazole and miconazole can be applied twice a day for 2 weeks to clear the infections. A selenium shampoo can be used on large spots of tinea versicolor infection. Other than that, you can follow a dermatologist's advice related to treatment of this condition.
White spots on other regions of the body due to vitiligo have no cure. However, there are various treatment methods that help in slowing down the process of loss of pigmentation. These treatment methods that slow down spread of vitiligo include photo therapy, psoralen photochemotherapy, laser treatment, steroid creams, etc. Pityriasis alba is treated using prescription topical creams that help clear up these spots. Your dermatologist is the best person to ask for advice regarding how to get rid of white spots.
This was some information related to the causes of white spots on the arms. Most of the time, these spots are harmless occurrences. However, it is always better to seek expert advice in order to differentiate between the serious and not so serious conditions. Good skin care will help reduce the occurrences of spots on skin.