I have white spots on my face, which devastates me? What are they? Perhaps they cause shameful feeling or arouse anxiety. Don’t panic because they could not be cancer. You need to know about them and what they are. Knowing what they really are and reasons behind are fundamental to other questions concerning them. Look into the causes and how to remove them where possible.
Causes – small, tiny, big or patches
Do you have an unpleasant white spot or many small spots on face that make you feel you are just unlucky? Read on to know what they are as well as why you get white pigmentation or have white skin spots on your face.
Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis IGH
To begin with, Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis is one of the causes of the white spots on your face. This is a harmless skin problem characterized by diffuse (spread) hypopigmented white (lesions) or spots or macules due to a decrease in melanin.
What causes IGH? According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, this skin manifestation of decreased melanin in the skin is attributed to age as well as sun exposure. Some people refer to them as being “white age spots.” Besides age, there is also evidence to prove that IGH has a tendency to run in families.
On who gets these white lesions, they are very common in people with a fairer skin and they usually range from 1 to 3mm in diameter.
IGH does not require treatment. However, in many cases, if it is a concern for you then dermabrasion and use of steroid creams will reduce the depigmentation in the skin. Before you begin treating them see your doctor for advice on how to remove them in the best way.
Skin diseases such as tinea versicolor
One of the common skin diseases that cause these white spots in the skin is Tinea Versicolor. It is a fungal infection that results from an overgrowth of skin yeast that lives on human skin.
According to American Academy of Dermatology, Tinea Versicolor can be either lighter or even darker than the surrounding skin. Sometimes they appear tan, brown, red or pink. If the surrounding area tans it is because the fungus secretes an acid that prevents the surrounding skin from producing melanin.
Secondly, if you get a skin rash after swimming in pools which turns from reddish bumps to white the waters may have a thriving Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
From sun exposure especially during summer
Sunbathing is one of the known causes of brown spots on the skin but it can be the reason for the appearance of white spots on your face too.
As opposed to age spots, sun damage can as well lead to light spots on condition that melanin formation is inhibited. This inhibition makes the affected areas to become less pigmented or lose its pigmentation leading to white spots or patches. They, in most cases, are benign and they should not be a reason to worry.
However, these spots should not be confused with Vitiligo which is a skin condition that results from an autoimmune response. They are common in summer time or during summer. They could also develop on sun-exposed parts such as hands and neck.
Malnutrition or vitamin deficiency
Their formation is sometimes a symptom or sign that your body lacks vital vitamins D, Vitamin E and Calcium. These spots are usually white or brown and should clear within a week of proper nutrition. This, therefore, implies that they can easily appear on individuals who look emaciated or whose skin is worked out due to underfeeding or poor feeding, diseases, etc.
Small pimple-like white spots on face – What are they?
Do you have small white or yellow lumps on the face that are sometimes hard to touch? If they are white pimple-like spots on face or bumps that look like pimples, consider milia.
This skin blemish may appear like or be confused with pimples but are not pimples.
Milia are small cystic white bumps that form on the surface of skin often found in infants or kids. Adults can also get them. Typically, they cause no pain nor are they itchy. Common areas affected are the cheeks, forehead, around chin, nose, and eyes.
According to Mayo Clinic, milia are cystic bumps especially if it is it is triggered by one or more of the following factors.
- Keratin build-up beneath skin,
- Autoimmune disorders
Treatment procedures used to treat or remove the milia spots include laser ablation, surgical scraping and cauterization, cryotherapy, dermabrasion (chemical peels) and topical retinoid.
Milia is sometimes confused with other skin conditions such as acne, Epstein pearls, and Xanthoma. If you have yellowish bumps on eyelids or around eye skin they could not be milia. It is a high time that you get diagnosed.
Severe burns and rashes
If you have had a severe burns and skin rashes you at risk of getting traumatic milia which are categorized as secondary milia (especially in adults). It should be noted that secondary milia are composed of mainly keratin i.e. dead corneous cells that accumulate in the sub-epidermal skin.
White marks on face due to adverse effects of laser
Besides skin discomforts (pain, redness, swelling, bruising, etc.), some laser treatments without safety measures and control can result in brown or white marks on the face or anywhere on the skin. They may appear as white scars on the face.
These marks could have a long-term effect or create permanent scars (scarring).
What causes them on the face in children? A good number of reasons account for white spots on kids’ face which include sun exposure, skin diseases such as Tinea Versicolor, milia, vitamin deficiency, pityriasis alba, just but to mention a few that are common. Primary milia also known as juvenile milia is common in infants.
If your child has light spots on face after sun exposure the spots could be pityriasis alba – since their formation is influenced by overexposure to UVR rays from the sun. Let us look at juvenile milia briefly.
Juvenile milia in children
Do milia occur in infants, and what causes it in children? Juvenile milia is a type of milia that affects mainly children and kids. Unlike acne, milia on the skin are characterized by small or tiny milky or pearl-like bumps. They normally do not cause inflammation unless it is triggered by scratching or rubbing. The occurrence of milia as white spots on the skin is common in infants but adults also can develop them.
The causes remain unknown in infants but research institutions of medicine strongly believe that it is due to hereditary since many of them those are affected are born with milia.
Amongst young children, milia have been associated with trauma and other medical conditions or reasons. They include physical skin damage (burns, severe skin damage caused by sun, after laser procedures etc.) and long-term use of steroid medications.
Treatment of milia spots is not necessary during infancy since it usually clears after a few weeks (2-3 weeks) after birth. However, if it persists in later stages of childhood then see your dermatologist. Children should go for diagnosis to know what the trigger factor is. Nevertheless, it is not a serious health concern once your child is past his/her childhood.
To help you see what to expect when one has white spots on face, here are a few white spots on face images and pictures.
Many changes in the body are likely to occur during the pregnancy period. With shifts in hormone levels and increased blood supply, stretching of skin could be the contributing factors of the changes in skin complexion and sensitivity.
Secondly, this is the most appropriate time when your skin will want to reveal the negative effects of all the bad products that you have been using all along.
Nevertheless, it is widely reported that nearly all pregnant women experience weird skin discoloration also referred to as hyperpigmentation. Dr. Kroumpouzos notes that a higher percentage of women would normally notice patches of discoloration, especially on the cheeks, forehead, and chin.
Furthermore, if you are pregnant and previously had a skin condition or infection that causes white spots on the skin, there is a big chance that it would worsen while pregnant.
Milia spots during pregnancy are uncommon but can occur even after pregnancy.
Treatment – how to get rid of white spots on face
Now that white spots on my face devastates my status, what do I do to remove them? Find out how you can get treatment them from on face.
Exfoliation or microdermabrasion
A regular exfoliation of skin will deal with them especially if they are milia spots. Common products used on the face to deal with white spots are topical retinoid creams such as tretinoin creams.
Note that these procedures should be done by a professional dermatologist to avoid skin burning. IGH and milia among other conditions are treated with mechanical microdermabrasion. Topical retinoid treatments used for the treatment of white spots/patches due to sun exposure should be used with precaution or under the guidance of a well-trained physician.
Pregnant women or if you are planning for a pregnancy do not use retinoid drugs.
Treatment of white blotches or spots on face requires not only dermatological expertise but also patience as the process of extensively using creams is a lengthy process. Some products are available in different forms of ointments, lotions or gels.
As a naturally occurring hormone, steroids work by penetrating cell membranes and in so doing, more anti-inflammatory proteins are produced. Some steroids work by inhibiting release of inflammatory proteins thus blocking reactions. Therefore, the effectiveness of topical steroid creams to get rid of white spots relies on the ability or penetrating power.
Topical steroid creams that are applied externally have an advantage since they have less risk factor as compared to oral steroids. In treating diseases or conditions that cause white colored spots in the skin, it is much safer to use low potency or what is termed as weaker creams available over the counter.
In some individuals (using retinoids for the first time) they may experience a change in skin color, increased light sensitivity, dryness, irritation and sometimes peeling of skin would occur. Examples of topical steroids include Protopic creams.
Antifungal medications (lotions, creams, and gels) especially those applied externally are quite effective for infections such as Tinea versicolor. In some cases, oral medications may be required as per your doctor’s instructions. Creams for application include Miconazole and Clotrimazole.
Laser ablation – faster removal
If those spots or marks are not responding to the other treatments, after a careful evaluation, your dermatologist will determine whether laser ablation would be appropriate. Laser ablation employs laser in small focus beams to destroy the spots. Milia and IGH are commonly treated using this technique.
Surgical scraping – curettage
In this procedure, a sterilized minor mechanical tools are used by doctors only to remove spots like milia in a technique known as de-roofing. If you need to remove white spots under eyes, or in corner of eyes or around the face see your doctor to help you out.
While at home, what do you do if you have them on the face that makes your face odd? Unless you know what the white spots do not attempt any treatments blindly. There are a number of things you can do to ensure the white spots face does not bother much.
Use of concealers or cosmetic cover-up
If the spots are not conspicuous or do not cause anxiety and wish to blend the white spot appears on your face into your skin color or tone, use facial tanning products which are available in the market. This will only create a fading affect which is temporary. In order to maintain uniformity then you may need to reapply over again once you notice the white spot starting to reappear.
Turmeric + honey paste
Turmeric is one of the known natural product whose anti-inflammatory property produce magnificent results for secondary milia.
- Scoop 2 tbsp. of natural honey, 5 tablespoonful of turmeric powder and mix with 1/4litre or 250 ml of mustard oil.
- Apply gently to the affected areas and let it stay for 30 minutes.
- Wipe it with a wet soak of cleanser or cool water.
- Apply twice and repeat before going to bed.
Radish & honey/vinegar
Radish itself is a pack for nutrition. The juice from radish is super and has a variety of nutrients including vitamin C, riboflavin, B6 and folate essential for preventing diseases. Both radish and honey have healing power.
On the other hand, vinegar will help fight back bacterial and fungal infections that bring inflammations. Vinegar can also be used in facial cleaning.
How to prepare and use radish paste
- Grind 25 grams or 1 glass of radish seeds.
- Add 2 tablespoonful vinegar
- You can also use honey in other sessions
- Clean the affected areas and let dry then apply
- Wash after 30 minutes.
If you are sure, they are milia spots, steaming is another simple remedy to control clogging thereby reducing the keratin from building-up.
If you cannot have access to Sauna steamer do not despair. Follow these procedural steps.
- Boil water and pale it in a narrow container.
- Cleanse your face or pat dry to remove oils.
- Bend over it allowing the steam to reach the milia spots around the face.
- Allow steam for 15 – 20 minutes.
- After steaming further cleanse using vinegar.
Alternatively, you can use a soft natural fabric. Do it by soaking in hot water and compressing. Take care not to burn your face as this will more likely worsen them.
Figs are effective in tackling skin depigmentation due to sun damage and free radicals because of their antioxidant quality.
Basil and lime juice
Lime juice is beneficial to your health and for skin care. To stimulate melanin production and in reducing inflammation add a small amount of basil to lime juice.
Adding to its antibacterial property, the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research indicates that some extracts of basil had more antioxidant activity.
For this trick, you need dried leaves of Neem. You may decide to take its juice daily or crush and include it in your meals.
Wearing a sunscreen
Applying a sunscreen not only guards your skin against the influence of UV rays but also prevents existing blemishes from getting worse. Always keep in mind that not all sunscreens will work for you because their contents differ and they are not the same. So what is the best option regarding the selection of these products? Do not rely on manufacturer’s testing standards. Make a point and step further by visiting a nearest skincare or derma center.
Do you need information on white patches due to Tinea Versicolor, Vitiligo, and other many other skin conditions, disorders and causes of white skin patches or blotches on the skin? We have included some links in our further reading section below.