Who does not want clear, even-toned and flawless-looking skin, right? But thanks to various factors such as exposure to sun, dirt, pollution, diet and even genes, having flawless skin can seem like a distant dream. And one such skin problem that affects a lot of women, especially in the modern-day is white spots on the face.
Caused due to a variety of reasons, these spots can be extremely annoying and may seem really difficult to deal with. When skin proteins or dead skin cells get trapped under the skin’s surface, it could lead to the appearance of these spots. Another possible reason could be loss of colour or depigmentation in particular areas. Since there are several types of white spots, it is very easy to feel confused about them and what causes them.
But to make things easier for you and help you understand these spots better, we spoke to Mumbai-based dermatologist and skincare expert Dr. Niketa Sonavane. In this article, Dr. Sonavane explains in detail the various types of white spots on the face, the possible causes and as well as the best ways to deal with them. So without any further delay, let’s begin.
Types of white spots on face
There are six major types of white spots on the face as seen in both adults and children. Up ahead, Dr. Sonavane explains in detail the causes, prevention methods and treatment options of each of these types of white spots to give you a better understanding of how to deal with them.
Milia are small white bumps on the face that look like whiteheads. They form when keratin and dead cells get trapped under the surface of the skin.
Milia are usually seen around the eyes, upper cheeks and nose. They occur in men, women as well as children. Milia is also seen in babies, as their skin is immature and still developing.
The tendency to develop milia is usually familial or hereditary. But it can also be due to injury, sun damage and allergic reactions.
If you have a tendency to develop milia, then make sure to keep your skin well hydrated. Regular exfoliation and sun protection are also key factors in preventing milia.
You may notice that some milia fall out over time. But if they persist, then your dermatologist may suggest one of the following clinical treatment options to remove them –
Your skin doctor removes the milia with the help of a sterile needle.
Chemical peels -
Your doctor applies a skin peeling solution to remove the dead skin.
The skin is abraded with crystal sand to remove the dead cells.
2. Pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba is a type of childhood eczema. It appears as white coloured, dry spots on the face which sometimes also look pink. Pityriasis alba is more noticeable on tanned and dark skin.
Pityriasis alba is a part of atopic dermatitis or sensitive skin. Such children usually have dry skin which is prone to rashes.
Regular use of sunscreen and emollients minimises the appearance of pityriasis alba. Reducing intake of dairy products is also helpful.
Dermatologists usually rely on barrier repair creams to improve skin hydration. Skin creams containing cica, light liquid paraffin and ceramides are helpful. In a severe case, your doctor may prescribe a short course of a steroid cream.
3. Post Inflammatory Hypopigmentation
These light-coloured patches form when an injury or wound heals. For most people, when their wounds heal, it causes a dark patch. But for some people, it is the other way around. Their wounds heal and leave behind a light-colored patch.
The melanocytes produce less melanin pigment during the healing process. This condition is more common in those having a light skin tone.
Proper wound care with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication may prevent these patches.
Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation heals on its own over time.
Vitiligo appears as white patches anywhere on the face as well as the body. This skin condition runs in families and is considered to be hereditary. These white patches may start small and later increase in size. Nearby patches may join each other until they involve the whole body. You can recognize vitiligo by the white hair present in the patches.
You are more likely to get vitiligo if someone in your family has it. But it is not necessary that the children of a person suffering from the disease will develop it. Vitiligo is not contagious. Touching someone with these patches cannot give you the disease. Consuming white coloured food items such as rice also has no role in causing vitiligo.
The treatments of vitiligo depend on the extent of the problem. If the patches are small, then your dermatologist may suggest a local application. Steroid creams can halt the spread and topical immuno-modulators can restore skin colour. Skin coloured camouflage creams help cover the patches like makeup. In case the vitiligo is extensive, you may need oral psoralen and UVA treatments. An Excimer laser is another effective option. Surgical treatments such as skin grafting and melanocyte transfer are also available.
5. Pityriasis versicolor
Pityriasis Versicolor is very common in tropical regions. It appears as a cluster of light coloured spots on the chest, back, arms or face. But it can occur on any other part of your body. These spots may itch when you are sweaty, but most commonly they have no symptoms.
Our skin has several bacteria and yeasts growing in perfect balance. Malassezia furfur is one of them. Pityriasis versicolor occurs when this delicate balance is disturbed and the yeast overgrows. Factors responsible for this overgrowth are humid weather, low immunity and hormonal imbalance.
Since this is a fungal overgrowth, anti-fungal ingredients play an important role. Your dermatologist may prescribe a body wash or body lotion containing ketoconazole. Selenium sulfide is another effective ingredient. In case the problem is extensive, then your doctor may suggest vitamins and anti-fungal tablets.
6. Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis causes pinhead-sized white spots. Most common areas are arms, trunk and front of legs. But the face may also be affected.
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis is a part of skin aging.
This condition does not need any treatment.
FAQs about white spots on face
Q. How do I get rid of white spots on the face?
A. Some tips to get rid of white spots on the face
- Avoid picking or poking
- Keep the area thoroughly clean
- Ask your doctor to prescribe some medicine
- Gently exfoliate the area regularly
- Use sunscreen without fail
- Opt for a facial peel at least once a month
Q. Which vitamins are good to get rid of white spots?
A. Although pretty uncommon, the deficiency in vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium could be the reason behind the appearance of those annoying white spots. Although these patches are usually harmless, it would best to consult your doctor about the best form of treatment before starting any vitamin supplements to reduce the chances of an adverse reaction.
Q. Are white spots permanent?
A. This depends on the type and intensity of the white spots on your face. If you recognize and get the right treatment for the white spots at an early stage itself, then there is a higher chance of preventing these spots from being permanent.
Written by Urvi Dalal on Feb 16, 2021
Writer, avid reader and hardcore beauty enthusiast is the best way to describe Urvi Dalal. With over 5 years of writing experience in the beauty industry, you can trust her to have the latest skin, hair and makeup tidbits on her fingertips. In her time working as a beauty writer, she has had the opportunity to interact and work closely with a string of dermatologists, makeup artists and hairstylists. All that knowledge exchange, coupled with her flair and love for writing make it possible for her to bring you some authentic yet fun beauty content. When Urvi isn’t working, you’d usually catch her curled up with a big, fat book, drinking a cup of tea or practising her makeup skills; there is no in-between!