White patches on the skin indicate a condition that dermatology calls pityriasis. More specifically, pityriasis versicolor appears more when we are tanned, but they are not caused by the sun, but by a fungus that usually lives on healthy skin.
Why do white spots appear on the skin?
Pityriasis versicolor is a superficial skin infection caused by the “overpopulation” of a fungus, although it is not considered an infectious disease. Dermatology specialists determine that the reason is that this fungus is a common inhabitant of healthy skin and is called Malassezzia furfur. When pityriasis occurs, it means that this fungus proliferates excessively.
Pityriasis is characterized by the appearance of white patches on the skin, which appear mainly on the upper trunk, neck and roots of the arms. They are irregular, and initially may be brownish in color and have a fine scaling on the surface.
But pyritiasis is not caused by the sun. This is a common misconception, since patients notice it more during the summer. The reason is simply that they are more noticeable when we are tanned. In addition, this fungus has a predilection for humid and warm environments, and therefore proliferates more in the summer season.
Treatment of pityriasis versicolor
The diagnosis is clinical, and can be established by any experienced dermatologist. In addition, a skin scraping and microscopic observation of the detached scales can be performed, or a laboratory culture can be performed.
Treatment consists of applying topical antifungals for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. In patients with very frequent outbreaks or who do not achieve topical improvement, an oral treatment can be performed. However, the treatment does not make the spots disappear immediately. The white spots on the skin improve after a few months once the excessive proliferation of the fungus has been eliminated.
Pityriasis alba or dartrous, another type of skin blemishes
It appears as white spots on the skin with poorly defined borders and variable size. They are usually located on
Its cause is unknown and is usually seen more at the beginning of tanning. It is usually associated with atopic dermatitis patients and young patients. It is believed that its appearance is related to dryness and irritation of the skin, which does not pigment homogeneously with sun exposure.
To treat it, it is essential to keep the skin moisturized and protect it from the sun. It is also advisable to use detergent-free soaps.