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October 22, 2017

By Louise Carr,  Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Registered
Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial

White spots on the skin are a scary sight. How did they get
there? What’s making them appear? White spots can be
worrying when you think you’re suffering from a serious
disease. They can also seriously affect your self-esteem and
confidence, particularly if they appear on visible parts of the

White spots on the skin may be caused by a skin disorder or
a medical condition. They could be a sign of sun damage or a
signal that the immune or digestive system is not working
properly. It is important to understand exactly what is
causing these white spots. This is the key to knowing how to
treat them, and to getting your unblemished skin back again.

What Causes White Spots on Your Skin?

White spots on the skin occur when the skin cells stop
producing pigment. The pigment is what gives skin its color,
and when there is no pigment the result is white patches or
spots. Some spots are large and very noticeable; some are
small and barely seen. Some may itch, but most white spots
occur with no other symptoms.

This de-pigmentation may be caused by a few main factors.
One is related to sun damage while the other relates to issues
that go deeper within the body.

Sun damage can cause white or brown spots on the skin
when the skin cells start to act abnormally – bombarded by
sun damage they start to react and cause white spots to
appear on the skin. This skin damage is benign, in that it is
not necessarily a sign of cancer, but it is a problem.

When white spots on the skin are not related to sun damage,
they are caused by autoimmune issues or other medical

This is the case, for example, with vitiligo, an autoimmune
disease where the body begins to attacks its own pigment-
producing skin cells. The King of Pop, the late Michael
Jackson was one famous person who suffered from vitiligo.

White spots on the skin may also be caused by yeast
infections. In these cases, it is important to treat the
underlying cause of the skin problem since without doing this
the issue will not clear up.

We looked at a variety of recent scientific reports to find out
what causes white spots on your skin. Here’s what you need
to look out for, and how to treat these skin conditions

Treat Runaway Yeast Infections, A Cause of White Spots
on the Skin

Yeast infections don't only affect your vagina. Some of them
also can affect your skin. Tinea versicolor happens when a
natural yeast on the skin begins to multiply out of control. It
makes patches of the skin look lighter or darker.

Tinea versicolor can occur as a result of hot and humid
weather, oily skin or poor skincare regimes, hormonal
changes, sweating, or a weak immune system. The condition
mainly affects teens and young adults. Anti-fungal
medications are often useful in treating the condition and
returning the skin to its previous color, but sometimes they
do not work. The condition may also reoccur.

In some studies, tea tree oil has been shown to treat fungal
infections of the skin. In a 1992 study from the Royal Prince
Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, in Australia, tea tree oil was
used to treat the fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot.

Can tea tree oil get rid of white spots on your skin? It is not
entirely certain that the oil would be useful for treating tinea
versicolor but studies suggest that anti-fungal action is useful
against this condition, too.

Drink Kefir to Treat This Other Yeast Fungus Growth and
Avoid White Skin Patches

A yeast fungus infection, like the one causing tinea
versicolor, may be responsible for changing the pigment in
the skin.

Experts suggest that controlling yeast growth in the digestive
system could be key to keeping yeast infections from
affecting the skin.

One strategy for combating fungal infections is to drink the
fermented beverage, kefir. Kefir has antifungal properties
and also acts as an antibacterial agent. Studies show that
kefir is effective against yeast infections.

A 2013 study from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in
Brazil shows that the fermented milk drink is a natural
probiotic, which has “antimicrobial, antitumor,
anticarcinogenic and immunomodulatory activity”.

Drinking kefir may help to keep your digestive yeast cultures
in balance, which may help to prevent skin problems like
white skin patches.

Fordyce Spots Are White Spots on the Skin

Fordyce spots are another cause of white patches or spots in
the skin, although these patches only affect the area of the
penis, the labia, the scrotum, or beside the lips. They are not
a sexually transmitted infection and are not infectious, at all.

Fordyce spots are a problem with the sebaceous glands in
the skin but they do not typically cause any other symptoms
– aside from affecting people’s self-confidence if they do not
like the look of these white spots. As they are not dangerous,
experts do not often suggest treatment.

But one 2013 study from the University Hospital RWTH
Aachen, Germany talks about the micro-punch technique as a
method for removing Fordyce spots. The study looked at 23
people and found that there was no recurrence of the spots
in the follow-up period from 12 to 84 months.

Lichen Sclerosus as a Cause of White Spots on the Skin

Lichen sclerosus is a particularly rare condition. It causes thin
patches of white skin and it normally affects the skin on the
genitals. It often affects women who have been through the
menopause, and the skin patches can be accompanied by
soreness, itchiness, blisters, and pain during intercourse.

Lichen sclerosus may be caused by hormonal imbalances or
an overactive immune system. Studies show that
tripterygium, a climbing vine used in traditional Chinese
herbal medicine, has immunosuppressive and anti-
inflammatory affects.

A 2005 study from Tianjin University in China demonstrates
these immunosuppressive effects, and notes that the herbal
remedy has been used for treating skin diseases as well as
for treating arthritis. However, there are concerns that
tripterygium is toxic if you take too much, which means it
should not be considered unless under medical supervision.

Use Chamomile Cream to Treat Eczema as a Cause of
White Spots on the Skin

A more common cause of the white spots you sometimes see
on your skin is

Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema causes red, itchy skin
but can also create white patches that occur in the middle of
a rash. It particularly causes skin discoloration in people with
darker skin tones. Eczema is linked to an overactive immune
response, allergies, and asthma. Topical corticosteroid
creams and oral medications treat symptoms but can come
with severe side effects.

A 2000 study from ASTA Medica AG in Germany looked at a
chamomile treatment cream for skin discoloration caused by
eczema and found that a chamomile cream was more
effective than a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream for the
treatment of eczema, after two weeks.

Use St John’s Wort Cream to Treat White Spots on the Skin

St John’s Wort is also used to treat eczema, a common cause
of white spots on the skin.

While most commonly known as a treatment for depression,
St John’s Wort can also be used as an anti-inflammatory
agent, and in a 2003 study from Universitäts-Hautklinik
Freiburg in Germany St John’s Wort cream was compared to
placebo cream. A group of 21 people used the treatment,  
putting placebo cream on one arm and St John’s Wort cream
on the other in a blind test.

The results showed that the use of the St John’s Wort cream
significantly reduced the symptoms of eczema compared to
the placebo cream.

White Spots Caused by Pityriasis Alba

Pityriasis alba cause pale pink or red rashes on the skin.
When these patches clear up, the skin is left with de-
pigmentation and looks white.

This medical condition is linked to eczema and may be caused
by an overactive immune response. It often affects the face
and the arms. Doctors say that patches usually clear up on
their own, although the case may last for several years.

Therefore, experts do not recommend treating the disease
since it is not dangerous and it goes away on its own. Steroid
creams may be used.

Treat the Effects of Sun Damage Causing Idiopathic
Guttate Hypomelanosis

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis results in flat white spots
appearing on the skin. These white spots most typically occur
on the arms, the face and the upper back. These spots are
thought to be brought on by sun exposure, and they most
often affect people as they age. It is important to protect the
skin against sun damage as over time they results in skin

In addition, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) have been used to
treat discoloration caused by sun damage. In a 1996 study
from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 74 women
with sun damaged skin received 8% glycolic acid, 8% L-lactic
acid, or placebo cream on the skin over a period of 22 weeks.
The best results were achieved using the AHA creams than
the placebo creams.

Khelin Fruit Can Re-Color White Spots on Your Skin
Caused By Vitiligo

Vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune disease. It causes
the skin to form white patches because the cells stop
producing melanin. It is unsure exactly why this happens,
but the white patches can affect small or large parts of the
body. The condition is harmless but it can cause significant
emotional distress.

Khellin, a fruit extract from a Mediterranean plant, is used to
help to repigment the skin and cure the vitiligo patches.

In fact, khellin helps to re-pigment the skin in 76% of cases.
A 1982 study by Abdel-Fattah A, Aboul-Enein MN, Wassel
GM, et al looked at 60 people and found that oral khellin
caused natural repigmentation of the skin in 76.6 percent of
the group of participants. No improvements were seen in a
group of people who received sunlight treatment.

In 2014, a more recent review of khellin as a treatment for
vitiligo was published in the European Medical Journal by Dr.
Agustin Alomar of Barcelona. His opinion, based on 20 years
of using a combination of khellin plus exposure to the sun to
re-pigment the skin on his patients was quite positive:
"Twenty years of experience have convinced me completely
about the use of topically-applied khellin plus sunlight
exposure. Although its capacity to stimulate melanocyte
mitosis is inferior to psoralens, its long-term safety is

Psoriasis Can Cause White Skin Spots

Psoriasis can cause white scaly spots on the skin. These
patches can quickly spread over the body. The natural
remedy Oregon grape is made into a cream and this cream
helps treat the symptoms of psoriasis, according to experts.

A 2006 study from the Dermatology and Cosmetic Center in
Rochester, New York looked at 200 people who used either a
cream with 10 percent Oregon grape extract or a placebo
cream twice a day for three months. Those using the Oregon
grape cream showed greater improvements in their
symptoms than those people using the placebo cream.


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Using khellin, a fruit extract, plus a little sun exposure can
re-pigment white spots on skin, dermatologists say.