White spots on the skin from sun exposure: are they dangerous?

After a long summer spent outside in the sun, you may notice new white spots on your skin. What do these spots mean? Are they dangerous? Should I be concerned? Most of the time, these white spots on the skin are a sign of sun damage. Skin cells that have been overexposed to UV rays from the sun will often stop producing melanin, creating areas of depigmentation, or white spots.
White spots on the skin

These white spots from sun exposure are usually attributed to a condition called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis.

Find out about the spots on your skin: use SkinVision to check for signs of skin cancer and get an instant risk indication.

What exactly is idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis?

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis is a disorder that causes 1 to 10 mm flat white spots to occur, typically on the shins, arms upper back and face. It is usually found in fair-skinned individuals but can also occur on the dark skin. While their exact cause is still unknown, these spots often start to form as a person ages, and more specifically after the age of 40.

The white spots are benign and are thought to be caused by sun exposure, which kills melanocyte cells in the skin. No treatment is usually needed, but preventative measures to block against sun damage should be taken. Topical steroids, creams, and dermabrasion can be used to minimize the appearance of these spots.

Sometimes depigmentation can be caused by other factors and becomes more noticeable after sun exposure. Take a look at other possible causes of white spots on the skin.

Read More: Early melanoma symptoms and how to spot them

Suspicious skin spots? Use SkinVision to check your skin for signs of skin cancer and get an instant risk indication.

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White spots on skin

White spots on skin

The appearance of white spots on skin indication a loss of pigmentation, which can be the result of a number of skin conditions. The prime concern for the majority of sufferers is the aesthetics of this condition because cosmetically, white spots on skin can be a very obvious condition. However, it is vital to understand whether such changes are symptoms of an underlying or serious skin complaint. Recognising any changes in your skin is key to minimising the risk of skin cancer and other related serious complaints.

White spots on the skin

White spots on the skin (with pictures)

New white spots on the skin can trigger an alarm. You may wonder why they suddenly appear, and for what reason. Understanding the most critical causes of depigmentation on the skin is the best way to answer questions and ease fears.

White spots on skin

How to get rid of white spots on skin

White spots on skin can look unsightly regardless of the causes and most of us will want to cover them up or get rid of them if at all possible. In some cases, the cause of the spots is out of our control, but in others, prevention may well be the best cure as most white spots will not disappear once they have appeared.

White spots on skin treatment

White spots on skin treatment

White spots on the skin can appear for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from eczema to albinism. The technical word for white spots is hypopigmentation and it occurs when melanocyte cells in the skin become damaged. Melanocyte cells are specialized cells distributed throughout the top layer of our skin (epidermis) responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that gives our skin color. When these cells become damaged by injuries, burns, infections or other conditions, they can stop producing melanin and leave white spots and patches as a result.