Whitish blotches on the body – what are these??

Hi Dr. Irwin, love your site, just discovered it. I have developed white blotches, they are more visible when I have a little bit of a sun tan. They are all over my body, my chest, arms, and legs, nothing on my face, thank goodness. My dermatologist says it's like "reverse freckles" and that there is nothing that can be done. My doctor claims it's a natural part of aging and sun damage. Is there anything that I can do about it is so unattractive. Thanks

Get ready for summer! Whitish blotches are generally caused by one of three things:

  • A form of yeast that lives on the skin and in some people overgrow (tinea versicolor)
  • Sun damage
  • Vitiligo (an autoimmune problem)

The most common are the first two.  It’s rare to see the white spots that are associated with  severe sun damage in people under 40 and……… sun damage white spots are most common on the shins, forearms and chest. 

Tinea versicolor likes the chest, back, occasionally the upper arms and legs. The yeast form is easy for doctors to treat now.   Many doctors recommend even using a nonprescription shampoo like Selsun Blue.   Use the Selsun Blue with a wash cloth or gentle long handled body brush.  Apply a thin layer in the shower and let it sit for 2-5 minutes and rinse off.   Do daily for the first week and then weekly for several months.   It takes several months for the color to go back to normal. 

There are also prescription medications (see your doctor) like fluconazole.  This is a good option if there is a lot of the yeast.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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